AT HOME WITH KATE UNSWORTH

 
 
 

We talk tech addiction and good vibrations with the CEO behind ALTRUIS… the jewellery made for digital detoxing…

ON ALWAYS BEING PASSIONATE ABOUT TECH


Tech has been in my blood from an early age. With big dreams of being a DJ, at the age of 15 I convinced my Dad to teach me how to rewire my own sound systems. This was my first exposure to electronics and the miracle of technology. I quickly realised that tech could be used as a creative tool to express myself in new ways. Later, while studying mathematics at University, I was introduced to the concept of coding which opened my eyes to a number of additional creative possibilities. I realised that whatever we can code, we can build! This was the start of my journey...


ON TECH ADDICTION


I used to be a management consultant in the tech space and I found myself working across multiple time zones and I was constantly ‘dialled in’. I’d check email first thing in the morning right the way through the day until last thing at night… When I was ‘out for dinner’, I was only really partially there. I couldn’t make it through an entire movie without checking my phone, and long-haul flights were positively frightening due to the prolonged period of digital disconnection. It got to the stage where my friends and family began commenting on the fact that I was never really present, and I realised that my digital habits came at a significant cost.


LEFT: Knit by CHLOE, ring by VINAYA
RIGHT: Top and trousers by GUCCI, ring by VINAYA

ON TECH DETOX AND HOW ALTRUIS BEGAN


As with any other addiction, the first step was to go cold turkey, switching my phone off and taking a two-week digital detox. This resulted in a bit of personal awakening. Not only did I sleep better, I was less stressed, the quality of my work improved, I was much sharper, significantly more creative and mellower. I noticed things throughout the day that I would have otherwise missed, I was able to connect with people on a much more heartfelt level, and I realised that without my phone, I was actually able to experience emotions more strongly (whether good or bad). My phone had not only been distracting me, it had been numbing me.

…Being completely disconnected is not a realistic way to live in the 21st century so I set out to find a half-way, ’semi-connected' solution. I set rules for myself… but despite the best of intentions, it was too easy to slip back into my old digital habits. What I was missing was a tool that would allow me to facilitate how connected I wanted to be throughout the day and filter the notifications that mattered most… When I realised this ‘customizable connectivity’ tool didn’t yet exist, I decided to quit my job and build it myself. And so ALTRUIS was born.


ON HOW THE COLLECTION WORKS


The rings, bracelets and necklaces send subtle vibrations when you wish to be notified. The jewellery’s zirconia ceramic stone is embedded with electronic hardware, which syncs via Bluetooth with an iOS app on your iPhone. The app allows you to customise which calls, texts, emails, whatsapps and calendar alerts deserve your attention throughout your day (meaning you can leave your less urgent notifications until later to read in a moment of down time).


RIGHT TOP: Knit and skirt by ROKSANDA, necklace by VINAYA
RIGHT BOTTOM: Bag by MARNI, shoes by GUCCI

ON WHO IS PROGRAMMED INTO HER DEVICE


In my ‘work’ profile, I have my business partners Dan and Fabio, and a couple of my investors. For ‘play’, I have my parents and a couple close friends (my girlfriends often ask me which guy is on my ALTRUIS list at the moment - it’s very telling information!) I use the secret words ‘banana’ and ‘martini’ so that my team know they could notify me if something urgent needs my attention (by including one of my secret words in a text, whatsapp or subject line of an email)... but I’ll have to change those now!


ON BALANCING WORK & LIFE


Yoga plays a huge part in ensuring I switch off from work - I find it extremely easy to let go of everything else as soon as I step onto that mat. I also like to dance and play piano - music is my medicine (hence the big headphones that are always round my neck!)

Every now and again, I love to stay in bed all day surrounded by books. I light candles, drink copious amounts of tea and listen to new soundcloud sets from my favourite DJs (occasionally pausing my reading to dance around!) I stop and start different books throughout the day, frantically highlighting and sketching thoughts and ideas in my notebook. Right now I’m simultaneously reading a book on String Theory, a book about the neuroscience of Buddhism, and a book about tantra!


ON HER PERSONAL STYLE


Edgy with a boho twist, and always extremely comfortable. I can’t live without my oversize knit cardigans and necklaces. I have gathered them from all over the world – they are a mix of gifts, handmade gems and pieces that I've bought. They remind me of the amazing people I have in my life and the moments that are most important.


LEFT TOP: Shirt by CHLOE, jeans by ACNE
LEFT BOTTOM: Dress by GUCCI, ring by VINAYA


Photography PAU, Styling ESPERANZA DE LA FUENTE

 
 
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