Confessions of a Maximalist

Peace Flag House zendagi maximalist

minimalism is very popular for good reasons

But what’s a maximalist to do?

The lure of minimalism

Sometimes I feel like I should start conversations, or perhaps explanations, with phrases like “some of my best friends are minimalists”.

Isn’t the call to minimalism strong? I understand why. We are absolutely drowning garbage. Have you seen the images of the Great Garbage Patch(es)? Oh my goodness, the stuff, the waste, the garbage, the single-use, disposable everything.

When I stop and ponder the stuff that is thrown away daily…

When I contemplate buying a something, an anything, there is a trail of garbage leading to and from that item…

What’s this feeling?

Ah yes, despair.

Beautiful things are so…beautiful

And yet, despite all the knowledge and beautiful minimalist Instagram accounts, I can’t, for love nor money, embrace minimalism.

Because I love beautiful, well-crafted things.

The New York Times calls this a love for material culture.

I call it maximalism.

The question is then: can I be a maximalist and practice ethical luxury?

(Please, for the love of Pete, let the answer be yes.)

A maximalist’s answer

Would you believe me if I told you that I found the answer in a strand of surprisingly weighty amazonite beads?

The word zendagi means life in Farsi, which is a perfect descriptor for the artisanal jewellery brand that made my amazonite beads.

Founded in 2017 by Farrukh Lalani, zendagi works with artisans in Pakistan to craft heritage pieces from gemstones of the remote valleys of Gilgit in Northern Pakistan.

Think strands of lapis lazuli, dangling garnets and gold chokers set with smoky quartz. The kind of jewellery that never goes out of style. The kind of jewellery that you can imagine your granddaughter cooing over, looking at you with admiration as she realizes just how chic you really are.

In other words, think decadence.

Ethical gemstones

Farrukh herself is all claret manicures, silk road carpets and dangling emerald earrings. We bonded one Friday afternoon over Prosecco and a cheese platter. She’s elegant. She’s decadent. She’s delightful.

And she’s building an ethical gemstone supply chain in Pakistan.

All of zendagi’s gemstones are mined by hand in small communities at the base of K2 in Northern Pakistan. The gemstones are processed in a studio, which Farrukh helped establish with the Aga Khan Foundation, that provides skills and employment for local women.

From the valleys of K2, the gemstones make their way to Lahore where they’re crafted into zendagi’s iconic pieces in ancient ateliers that once served the Moghal Empire.

Embracing my maximalist self

Allow me to recap.

Decadent, beautiful, elegant jewellery made from ethically sourced, local gemstones in historic ateliers with a focus on employing and empowering women.

Also, perfect for layering in that Alessandro Michele takes over Gucci kind of way.

The only question I’m left with is how many pieces are too many?

But that’s totally irrelevant because I’m a maximalist.

Love notes and disclosures: zendagi is our darling client. Farrukh doesn’t know I wrote this piece (yet).