jewelry rewired from industry Upcycled + Handmade


Surplus Rubber Cord || Stainless Steel Springs

Rubber tubing, alternator wire, resistors, discarded bike chains. Where do they all go when we are done using them for their intended purposes? What if they never even make it to their intended place in life and get dumped before ever being used? Waste has become a worldwide problem and one part of the solution is to put usable materials back into the cycle, rather than send them to the landfill.

CHAOS Bracelet || Upcycled Stator Wire

Wired works with a number of companies and recycling centers, collecting these materials to create interesting, new, industrial chic, handmade adornments. Many are one of a kind or limited editions.

CRAFTED collection, recycled beer cans, worn by artist Derail Howery. Can art by Jason Burke for Pipeworks Brewery. Photo by Robin Rios at 4Art Space.

CNIDARIAN collection, reclaimed rubber, worn by Lisa Nihiser of Ransack Leather.

Each piece from the CNIDARIAN collection is one of a kind. Worn by Nicole Picou of Pretty Gory Things.

One of a kind rubber collar, made from reclaimed rubber and steel BMW washer. Worn by artist, Chrystyne.

RESIST || Surplus Resistors
The Green Showrooms, Berlin Fashion Week

Designer, Melissa Kolbusz, also creates some show pieces, like the Flight Dress, created in collaboration with Tonette Navarro and Zsófia Ötvös. This dress was made from a retired kiteboarding kite. Keeping the air chambers of the kite allows the overskirt to inflate. Created for Anguilla Fashion Week, it was later shown at The Green Showrooms for Berlin Fashion Week, Earth Day San Francisco, and numerous galleries in the US. Worn by Chrystyne. Photo by Likalee.

Earth Day, San Francisco. Modeled by Celia Racicot. Photo by Krista Howell.

Entanglements and Awakenings, created for Art Diaries 2019, 4Art Space, Chicago. Surplus rubber cord, surplus stator wire. 8”x8”

Morphine’s Head with Wings, created for Rock & Roll Day of the Dead Show, Portland. Upcycled bike chain, stainless steel links, silver skull.

Chicago designer Melissa Kolbusz gets our Sexiest (Re)use of Industrial Materials Award. (Re)using metal and rubber washers and cords, alternator wire, and steel cable to make bracelets, necklaces, belly chains, and hair accessories, like the bracelet seen here ($28), she’s created a collection of accessories that will please TreeHuggers, ravers, motorcycle mamas, and goth chicks alike. We dig her right-on aesthetic and her clever techniques. $25-100”-Treehugger.com

Green Design

“Ten years ago, hemp and hippies dominated the common perception of products made from recycled materials. Today, nothing is further from the truth. Just look at the ultra-industrial creations from Chicago designer Melissa Kolbusz. Using her hometown as a salvage yard rife with things most people would consider waste, Kolbusz uses recycled and surplus materials like metal and rubber washers and cords, alternator wire and stainless steel springs to create bracelets, necklaces, belly chains and hair accessories. This jewelry appeals to the punk in everyone.” -excerpt from the book, Green Design

Modeled by artist, Julia Hamilton

Daily Herald, Sint Maarten. Article by Sanny Ensing. Photographs by Likalee. Modeled by Bella Ventresca.

“This stunning dress is made out of recycled waste material by Melissa Kolbusz for the Eco Fashion Show at Miami Art Museum.”


SPIRIT collection || Upcycled EFFEN Vodka Labels

In 1999, artist/designer Melissa Kolbusz launched (wired). At the time she was living in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and found inspiration in its recycling centers, factory warehouses and junkyards. Salvaging, repurposing and reinventing the materials she discovered in this industrial wasteland, she began to handcraft works of wearable art. At the forefront of sustainability, (wired) married aesthetics and environment before it was in fashion. Since then, her work has showcased, sold and been worn around the world.

In 2010, she was invited to Ecochic Geneva at the United Nations in Switzerland where her work was worn on the runway, and shortly after was presented at EcoChic Singapore. She was also commissioned to create distinct jewelry and accessories for the EFFEN By Design series, where she fashioned the vodka’s rubber labels into works of art. She has participated in the New York International Gift Fair, Hong Kong’s Fashion Access, Chicago is Red Hot and The-One-Of-A-Kind shows. A bold proponent of sustainability and solution through design, she held a two-week entrepreneurship seminar at The Belvedere Community Center in St. Maarten in 2009. The seminar introduced teenagers learning product design to sustainability, and how to incorporate it into product designs and business plans.


Kolbusz holds a BFA in Industrial Design from University of Illinois at Chicago, and has worked in the fields of furniture design, engineering and architecture. The press has taken notice as well: CNN highlighted her jewelry for a story on recycled jewelry, and NPR affiliate WBEZ has featured Kolbusz on-air. (wired) also recently graced the covers of Caviar Magazine, Time Out Chicago and has been featured in the books Green Design, Recycle: The Essential Guide, and Style, Naturally.

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wired chicago