Isabel Frey Ribeiro ’23

ARTICLE22, Brooklyn, NY

ARTICLE22 is a sustainable jewelry company founded by Elizabeth Suda ’05. The company makes its upcycled jewelry from some of the millions of unexploded bombs dropped in Laos during the Secret War. Each piece of jewelry purchased provides funds to Mines Advisory Group to further clear dangerous contaminated land in Laos. This creates, in the brand’s voice, a “virtuous circle” (both economically, and in terms of steps towards possible cultural reconciliation).

Creatively planning, with some of the carefully curated images.

I worked at ARTICLE22 this past Winter Study, with support from the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and was truly grateful for the opportunity to return in a new capacity, with greater responsibilities and creative freedoms. Earlier, I had the instructive opportunity to write for the company’s blog, this summer I was granted full responsibility over the Instagram page, which involved planning ahead (aesthetics and content), sourcing images, writing thoughtful captions, and making sure a post relevant to the company (and, often, to current events) went out each day. I also ran communications with some collaborators, such as the model Candice Lam. I consistently collaborated with ARTICLE22’s web designer, as well, in order to make sure that the Instagram page and blog were working in tandem. Finally, I was able to take part in writing-intensive projects, such as reformulating the company’s mission statement, taking part in drafting written interviews, and copy-editing advertisements to appear in outlets such as The Guardian.

While my majors are French and history, this position gave me a feel for how something which, for many, may seem solidly in the past, not only continues to influence the world of many, but also can and should be relevant to our own daily lives. It also caused me to reflect on the idea that so vast is history, there are often many stories—even very big, or very bad ones—which often go untold and unheard. This idea has already started to influence my consideration of topic for my final thesis, in which I hope to focus (broadly-speaking) on what stories we choose to tell, where, and why. Secondly, this internship has taught me that sustainability is not just ecological but also economic, social, and cultural; as someone who wants to pursue not just a career, but hopefully a way of life, rooted in a better future as much as possible, this has made a big impact on me. I never thought I would work in business, but this internship has opened whole new avenues. I learned how to communicate effectively in the brand voice and to connect anything (from World Food Safety Day to mountain biking) to jewelry made in Laos, and also, at a more basic level, I internalized the concept that business can be used to intentionally create social change.

This would not have been possible without the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and Bill McCalpin ’79, and so I extend a heartfelt thanks to both for helping me take this step and learn about myself and the world around me.