In a world of prejudice and injustice, Austinite Alaine Hutson is a leader of change.

Photo by Sarah Haughey

By Bella Larralde

As the founder and CEO of Social Justice Jewelry, Alaine Hutson dedicates her business not only to spreading awareness of racism and other social injustices, but to bringing love and peace through jewelry.

Born in Philadelphia, Hutson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in African studies, followed by earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in modern African history from Indiana University. During her college career, Hutson decided to expand on her hobbies and take a couple of jewelry classes, which sparked her interest in the business.

“I always loved to express my artistic self,” she says. “So I thought, ‘Let me see what kind of art courses there are.’ There was one called metals within jewelry making, so I took it and ended up taking as many as I possibly could.”

With her newfound hobby, her knowledge of history and a couple of discriminatory actions that did not sit right with her, Hutson decided it was time to speak her truth, and in 2016, she created Social Justice Jewelry.

“I remember the first time I was playing tennis with somebody, a new tennis partner. After we finished playing she said, ‘It’s a shame lesbians are ruining the sport.’ ‘Okay, no, I don’t know how you thought you could say something like that to me,’” Hutson says.

Taking matters into her own hands, Hutson developed a solution to help others who find themselves in similar uncomfortable scenarios have a voice.

“The jewelry represents a sense of being strong in the face of injustice. That you are always kind of talking about it and able to disengage in situations and call it out and let people know that no, I don’t agree with you.”

Hutson’s first and most timeless piece of jewelry was the Allergy Bracelet. Coming in five different sizes and starting with five different variations of social justice messages, the bracelet states, “I am allergic to…,” then notes various social injustices including racism, homophobia and ableism.

“I was walking past a nurse’s kitchen, and they had an order form for medical alert bracelets that state what their allergies are, and I thought, ‘That’s what I need; I need a bracelet that says, “I’m allergic to racism.”’

“When I sat down and thought about what I want the values of my company to be, I wanted them to be about inclusivity,” Hutson explains. “I found material for my bracelets that only came in one size, but people don’t come in one size; I need various sizes. It’s the best feeling when people say they never find a cuff bracelet that is large enough for their wrist and they put mine on and it fits. It always feels great because I am including people.”


However, when a nonpolitical friend rejected the bracelet, Hutson decided going forward she needed to find her target audience. “Who are my clients? Where are my people going to be?” she asks. “I thought one place that would be able to justify my work are museums, specifically African American museums or ones that specialize in and highlight Indigenous stories.”

Doing just that, Hutson’s first partnerships were with the Whitney Plantation in New Orleans, Louisiana and The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. However, it did not stop there. Now you can find Social Justice Jewelry all over the nation, with several retail partners. Some include Wildflowers in Corpus Christi, Texas; The Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee; and CLTCH in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“With those first two, I thought, ‘Well all you have to do is ask, and if they like it, then they will buy it and sell it in their stores.’ Of course, it is not that way all the time, but it certainly kept me going,” Hutson says.

With the business gaining more recognition, Hutson decided she would like to give back to the causes she supports, donating a portion of the proceeds from Social Justice Jewelry to gun violence survivors and people who have lost their livelihoods, to name a couple.

“I like giving back to organizations that are doing important things in the world, as well as supporting people and trying to get rid of injustice,” she says.

Growing her jewelry catalog, Hutson is currently curating a collection called The Universe Collection. Inspired by photos of cosmic cliffs taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, the pieces in this collection will hold gemstones made to look like the universe.

“I’ve always been toward justice, and I kept thinking about that when I saw the cosmic cliff pictures, and then I started seeing them as gemstones. So now I’ve started doing a couple of one-of-a-kind gemstone pieces.”

Along with her expanding business, Hutson is looking to open a jewelry co-op in collaboration with other creatives called The Jeweler’s Saw Co-op, which will be located in Austin and is set to open in the spring of 2024.

“We are not looking to make excessive profits or anything but just to share the profits, be a jewelry school or a jewelry resource that’s affordable and is here to support independent jewelers in Austin.”

Photo by TwoDudesPhotos

Taking the world by storm, Social Justice Jewelry is just beginning. With her co-op venture underway and her enterprise flourishing, Hutson hopes to make this her full-time career. “Whenever I am out vending, I say to people, ‘These are all handmade products. I make them here in Austin with a little bit of love.’”



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