Bright, bold, unique, topical, affordable and sustainable. These are all words that come to mind when describing the catalog of handmade earrings offered by SUNY New Paltz fourth-year English major Emily LaSita through her small business “My Casual Addiction.”
Named after LaSita’s casual obsession with earrings, the business started this past August after LaSita realized the earrings she would make and wear for herself garnered compliments and interest from those around her. Since then, the business has amassed over 140 followers on Instagram, over 60 followers on Depop and has even made sales across the United States.
It’s not hard to see why the company has started to accumulate a small following. Each design is completely original; you can’t find them in any mainstream store or outlet. LaSita also takes inspiration from the distinctive environment she lives in.
“My ideas are entirely based on the aesthetics, styles, topical subjects and interests of the buildings, nature and people around me,” she said. “It’s interesting [to see] how my ideas for earrings have changed since transferring from the Fashion Institute of Technology to SUNY New Paltz.”
New Paltz’s activism influence is most evident in LaSita’s “The Future is FEMALE” hoops. Tagged on Depop as “badass” and “feminist,” this piece brings a political statement and confidence to every customer who wears them. They’re also big, bold and completely stunning.
LaSita creates her jewelry from materials such as acrylic, nail polish and wood. Once she forms an idea for the design, she sketches them out, creates a cardboard prototype and holds them up to her ear to see how they would look. Next, she translates the sketch into a design on the computer and laser cuts them out of a sheet of acrylic or wood. To finish it off, LaSita attaches the posts and backings by hand.
As a student heavily involved with the sustainability network on campus, LaSita brings her passion for environmental activism not only to the material of her products but also to the way she packages them.
For the earrings she delivers in-person, they are packaged in recycled paper grocery bags. The products she ships out are enclosed in padded mail envelopes which are made from recycled content. LaSita also reuses bubble mailers from companies such as Amazon when packaging her earrings, since they are difficult to recycle and harmful to the environment.
However, she noted that her biggest challenge is creating permanent jewelry that doubles as eco-friendly. LaSita also hopes that in the future, a portion of sales can be donated to an environmental non-profit organization.
But with LaSita’s sustainable considerations aside, “My Casual Addiction” is environmentally sound in and of itself. Buying attire from small businesses directly combats the trend of fast fashion, which is only second to oil as the world’s largest polluter.
Buying from small businesses not only has a great environmental impact, but it also creates a more personal relationship between the seller and consumer.
“I always think of one of the kindest people I know when I put them on!” said second-year communication disorders major Yana Golovanevskiy. “The range of styles reflect the lovely aspects of [LaSita’s] personality and interests … so you kind of have this special bond with her whenever you wear them.”
Currently, earrings are priced between $12 and $20 a pair, calculated by the cost of materials and labor. However, LaSita offers a 20% discount to students and those who follow the company’s Instagram @mycasualaddiction for their first pair. Look out for a raffle that will be posted on the company’s Instagram page for the month of March.
Interested customers can buy earrings on Depop @mycasualaddiction, at the campus Farmer’s Market from 9:30 to 3:30 in the Lecture Center/Outdoor Concourse or direct message the Instagram account for alternative ways to buy.