Brand Interviews

5 Mins With British Jewellery Brand Zevar

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Shop Zevar :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I am a jewellery entrepreneur seeking to introduce exotic South Asian designs to the Western market. Our emphasis is on using high quality materials like lapis lazuli, onyx, marcasite, quartz, Jade and cubic zircon in conjunction with sterling silver to achieve a superior level of presentation and offer the customer affordable luxury in the truest sense.

Zevar’s brand ethos is based around creating exotic yet affordable designs. I see a gap in the market for exotic silver jewellery that is affordable and can directly challenge the costume jewellery market.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

“Unique” and “exotic” is what I hear the most when I present my products. My audience in the UK is more familiar with minimalist and/or contemporary designs are excited to see the colours, materials and intricate metal-work that are core to my jewellery.

What is your background?

I started my career in the UK as a recruiter in the fashion industry and more recently I took a career break to bring up my young baby. When the time was right to re-engage professionally, I chose to pursue a childhood dream to start my own venture, but in a field I would thoroughly enjoy, rather than easier, more conventional option of a regular job.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

Theo Fennell and Stephen Webster because their jewellery pieces are original, beautifully crafted and designed, with immaculate attention to detail.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

Zevar produces all its products in India. Each piece is designed and hand made by the artisans from different communities based in different cities. They are highly skilled in mixing alloys, moulding, drawing fine wires, setting stones, inlay work, relief, drawing silver into thin wires, plating and gilding. And each piece is hallmarked.

My first collection is inspired by the colours and traditions of Indian desert state of Rajasthan. The silver pieces are unique, timeless, elegant, and unlike costume jewellery, will rarely go out of fashion.

 

I often get questions on why we have a peacock as our symbol and why most of my jewelry pieces have peacock motifs. It’s origins are very much linked to India and the historical and cultural association the bird has with Indian crafts and mythology.  Peacocks are a popular subject for Indian artisans for paintings, sculpture and jewellery due to their graceful figure and colourful plumage.

In addition, peacocks are natives of the region of India I hail from - Rajasthan. A desert state with fairy tale castles and palaces, peacocks are even prettier and colourful when set against the backdrop of sandy dunes and palatial buildings that dot the landscape of Rajasthan.

The peacock, for me, is a symbol of grace, poise and colour - attributes that are central to Zevar's designs. I was also clear from that start that Zevar's branding should honestly and proudly reflect the origins of the product and the peacock is a tribute to country and culture that inspires my jewellery.

How do you think your brand has developed?

My brand is still relatively young, but it has a clear identity and niche. Its important to find that ground as it anchors the brand’s story, it’s values and it’s design philosophy.

What do you dislike most about your job?

Entrepreneurship truly tests you patience. Everything from getting your product accepted by retailers and customers to perfecting various aspects of your business – marketing, technology, financial planning – requires a great deal of patience.

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Getting the hard yards of organising the supply chain, the initial marketing effort and some success with retailers appreciating my product have been my main achievements thus fair. I hope to build on this by broadening the appeal of my brand and designs.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Take lots of advice from your friends and family and seek out their strengths to help you in your early stages when resources are limited.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

They stand out because of their exquisite and cutting edge designs captivated by interpreting modern imagery while celebrating traditional craftsmanship.

 

5 Mins With British Accessories Brand Victoria Lam

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Shop Victoria Lam :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

We are a luxury lifestyle brand that blends folk art into sleek British Sophisticated designs. We seek out meaningful symbols or art from different cultures globally that make
positive statements such as The Romantic, The Leader, Passion and infuse it into our designs subtly. We manufacture in the UK.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

Our handbags have been described as timeless classics. Our products make a noticeable statement in the way they look and feel. Medium to high end yet accessible

What is your background?

As one of our creative directors I have a retail, fashion and legal background. As an Alumni from the the University of Arts London, Chelsea, I have always had a passion for fashion despite my lawyer background and years of retail experience.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

We love Stella Mccartney's ethical stance on sustainability... its great to see designers stand up to what they believe in. The designers for Marchesa make the most gorgeous embellished pieces and more recently Mary Katrantzou's selfless expression of art in her designs.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

It starts with research, a decision on the statement we wish to make, design concept decisions the vigorous sourcing of our  raw products globally , more decisions then manufacture in the UK and quality testing before approval for its sale.

How do you think your brand has developed?
Like a mustard seed we are growing each day with stunning pieces on offer

What do you dislike most about your job?
Nothing. We have a great team and love working together.

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future.
We have done fantastic shows in Africa. We support initiatives that work to eliminate poverty and promote women empowerment. We are a British brand and intend to have strong brand presence in the UK. We will be exhibiting at the PURE trade show at London Olympia 2-4 August 2015.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?
Do what you have passion for.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?
True Quintessential British designs are timeless and are always on trend.

5Mins With British Jewellery Designer Rhiannon Lewis

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Shop Rhiannon Lewis Jewellery :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I describe myself as an independent jeweller and designer. Although I work to commission I focus mainly on my own style and work. My design style as a combination of minimalist and geometric. I focus on clean lines, curves and teardrop shapes and my collections have become a continuous evolution of each other.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

Aways positivity. In a world where so much jewellery is about quantity meaning quality, to have a well made and elegant piece of jewellery makes the wearer feel special. Everything I make is completely handmade and I take the greatest care to make each piece as perfect as I can.

What is your background?

My first steps into making jewellery were when I started my jewellery and silversmithing degree at Sir John Cass School of Art, part of London Metropolitan University. Living in the east end of London provided me with invaluable inspiration and access to some of the best craftsmen and women in the industry. The surroundings fuelled my interest in simple industrial lines and the more detailed imagery of the eastern cultures around me. After London I moved on to Birmingham Jewellery Quarter where I now have my business and workshop. The strong sense of community here has given me the space to grow my business and develop my brand.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I’m a big fan of the older, established jewellery brands like Lalique, Faberge and JAR. Purely for the attention to detail and perfect craftsmanship, for me their designs and standard of execution are something that I will continually aspire to.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

I know the shapes, curves and lines that work well with my designs. They're like the staple wardrobe pieces that I always end up referring back to. I tend to design as I go along, working through ideas in the workshop rather than on paper. I find it’s easier to see the development of a piece in 3D rather than 2D. I spend a long time on the finishing of the piece, making sure the clasps works etc and then time wearing one . It’s a great way to iron out any creases and make sure the person who buys the design has the best possible experience wearing it.

How do you think your brand has developed?

I have become more confident in what works best and have had time to filter out some earlier designs that did not work so well. I created a more concentrated but solid few collections that always receive positive feedback.

 

What do you dislike most about your job?

Nothing!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future.

I aim to continue in developing my brand and push through to a more international audience. I would like to use more gemstones and diamonds and dedicate a collection to some of the more unusual specimens.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Concentrate on developing your skills in making and the rest will come. Try not to rush everything all at once, it can take time to hone your skills and develop your business into something hat will stand the test of time, rather than be a fleeting trend.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

The high standard of craftsmanship in Britain allows us to have a strong foothold internationally. Honest use of materials and processes allow customers to trust that the products they are buying are of the best possible quality.

5 Mins with new IB.com designer: British Silk Scarf Brand, Heron Design Studio.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Shop Heron Design Studio :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

My name is Dita and I am designer/owner of print and textile brand Heron Design Studio based in London. I am responsible for illustrations printed on our scarves as well as final colouring and composition. I am old school and I like the idea of hand drawn designs being digitally printed in quantities. It’s like making prints. Old Flemish masters of prints, M C Escher or Alfred Durer are my biggest inspiration.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

The comments from my friends and customers are positive. People seem to like my art and they like the idea of wearing it.

What is your background?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, so I have strong background in fine art like figural drawing, printing as well as painting and then I studied fashion design with focus on scenic costume and fashion illustration. I like to mix them two skills together,

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I like the quirkiness of British designers like Vivienne Westwood and Pam Hogg and pure style of Italian designers like Giorgio Armani or Missoni. But the ultimate inspiration for (more...)

5 Mins with British Clothing Brand, Madia & Matilda.

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Shop Madia & Matilda :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

We design sustainable fashion clothing that is mindful of sustainable processes. Our approach to design being mindful of environment, creating timeless classics that are unique and individually made within our local studio in the Cotswolds.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

‘Understated Beauty’  ‘Timeless’  ‘uniquely classic’

What is your background?

My background is industry based and retail orientated. From working in retail from the age of 15 to CAD Design for Tesco’s to High end Fashion. With a Degree in Fashion Design & Technology and Textiles A levels & a Tec in Fine Art.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

Caven, Mary Katrantzou, Chanel. (more...)

5 Mins with British Clothing Brand Nicci.N

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Shop Nicci.N

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I am the brand director of womenswear clothing label, nicci.n. We create feminine and fashionable designs for the style conscious woman with and edge.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

That the designs are a ‘bit different’, stylish and are on trend.

What is your background?

I have a degree in fashion design, a masters degree in fashion marketing with distinction and experience in fashion design, buying and retail.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

There are many designers I rate highly, I have a particular soft spot for Christopher Kane and Holly Fulon given they are both Scottish, there designs are always exceptional season after season.


Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

I start with some research in to a topic or theme which I find interesting, design development, fabric sampling, mock up designs and pattern cutting. We then do two photoshoots, one for product shots and an editorial style shoot for press purposes. After this, the collection goes in to production and is then sold to the customer.

How do you think your brand has developed?

The style has become more refined and with each season we learn something else which can help develop the label.

What do you dislike most about your job?

Sometimes there is just too much work to get through in one day!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Main achievements are gaining some great press coverage, winning an enterprise award, we have also collaborated with a shopping centre, St James, creating a capsule collection for their annual fashion show, we were involved in a 6 week pop up shop at Glasgow Fort where we were one of the best selling brands, we were also named ‘one to watch’ by textiles Scotland's MODH magazine.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

I think it is a ‘slow burner’ type of business and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it succeed. Network as much as possible and try to gain as much exposure as you can.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

British designs are well known for their quality and craftsmanship, the designs also stand out and are unique to british style.

5 Mins with British Clothing Brand Theo & George

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Shop Theo & George :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

My brand Theo+George is a reflection of my life experiences and style – it combines luxurious materials with easy to wear styles.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

I often hear how soft and beautiful the clothes are and how versatile the collection is.

What is your background?

I have a degree in Physics and Economics, but always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I took every art class that my college offered and went to Harvard’s School of Design for the summer after I graduated.  Initially, I worked for an Architecture firm for one year but I still felt that I wanted to work in a faster paced environment and on softgoods.  From there, I got a job as the lead designer for a sporting goods company and then moved onto Burton Snowboards where I worked for their Outerwear department for seven years.

Which designers do you rate highly and why? (more...)

5 Mins With British Accessories Brand Lara Lindsay

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Shop Lara Lindsay :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I am a designer of luxury leather handbags, which focus on function as much as form. When designing I focus on what the bag will be used for whilst creating elegant silhouettes and clean shapes. I am a British designer with a very British style.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

I have been lucky enough to receive very positive comments on my designs, with people saying that the collection looks timeless and stylish, with a quintessentially English feel. I have also had return customers commenting on how they love the look of the leather as it ages and develops.

What is your background?

I studied History of Art at Bristol University and then went on to do an apprenticeship under the fantastic design Selina Cheong in North London. It was here that I learnt to design and make leather accessories first hand, with great tuition and opportunities. I started out on my own in 2012 and have been designing and making ever since, with the business ever growing, whilst keeping it local and British.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I love other British Accessories Designers like Ally Capellino and Mimi Berry, both brands with a similar ethos of being Made in British and the success to prove that it works. Designers with an emphasis on chic, simple style and quality materials, get my vote every time.


Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

As I have mentioned every element of the collection is designed and made in house in our Bristol studio. I am always on the look out for interesting shapes and constructions to incorporate into my designs. Initially I come up with a design, or often a few together and do endless sketches to visualise and make them cohesive. Next I make the sample bags, which I will personally then use for a period of time to make sure their function works as designed. Once happy with this the bag will then go into production and onto lovely customers.

How do you think your brand has developed?

The brand is still quite young but I feel that it has developed with an elegant, classic style into something which does not totally follow trends, yet will always be a sample fashion accessory.

What do you dislike most about your job?

I honestly don’t dislike any element of my job, its captivating and creatively challenging. It do wish there were more hours in the day sometimes, but that’s part of being your own boss!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

My main achievement is being able to sell a product which I have personally created though hard learnt skills, in the knowledge that it is of the highest possible quality and will last someone else a lifetime. This is a really pleasing thought! For the future I hope to be able to grow my business future and continue creating British made products to sell to a wider market.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Work at it and listen to others advise (sometimes with a pinch of salt), know your own goals and keep going.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

It seems that British design is synonymous with quality and luxury. In my field that is thanks to leading companies like Mulberry who have proven on the global market that Made in Britain is a stamp worth having! The more designers and brands that can live by this the better. I hope that with LARA LINDSAY as a brand we will only add to this very positive attitude to British design.

 

5 Mins With British Jewellery Brand Anchor & Crew

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Shop Anchor & Crew :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

People assume that when you design jewellery it is all diamonds and gold but when you explain it further people get more and more interested in the process and the jewellery and a lot come out with a different view. As our designs combine something that is precious, Silver, with something that you don't think of in a way of adoring you, sailing cord, we think that we have quite a unique style and one that sets us out from quite a lot of the rest.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

We are getting great comments at the moment as we have been picked up by a lot of fashion bloggers such as Fashion for Lunch, The Everyday Man & Fresh & Fearless to name but a few so you don't need to take our word for it, just look at what they have said!

What is your background?

I have been in the Jewellery trade since the year 2000 when I did a summer job working at H Samuels. I went from there to University to study Jewellery making and Silversmithing  and been in the business since then.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

We like a lot of designers and what people do out there but I do have a soft spot for Shaun Leane and Stephen Webster for both their jewellery and for what they have done for the business and Britain as a whole.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…

Like most designers, it all starts with a sketch book and pencil and I just let the fingers run through some ideas based on how Pulleys, Anchors and nautical things work although I am not confined by this concept as in the future we will branch out into different ideas and forms.  From this we work ideas up on CAD and through Wax modelling and finally there is a lot of finishing off and polishing to present the jewellery in its best possible way.

How do you think your brand has developed?

We are only a year old and in that time we have double the number of items that we make, had 3 new launches of different collections and retired 1 collection so you can see that we are ever evolving and adapting to what our customers need and want.

What do you dislike most about your job?

Nothing! I love what I do

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Our biggest achievement with ANCHOR & CREW is that after only  10 months after launch we were voted the Men's Jewellery brand of the year by Professional Jeweller magazine beating many brands that had been established for years.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Go for it, don't be afraid to experiment, most of which will not work but it just takes that one thought, alteration or idea and your creation will become will make you very happy and you just have to share it with the world.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

British Design is unique, well designed and well made. More so than anyone else which is why it is pursued by many foreign people or countries. Whether it be architecture by the likes of Sir Norman Foster to the smallest art work by Willard Wigan. This is from our rich heritage of design and continues today through our schools and universities.

We Spend 5mins with British Silk Scarf Brand Siladora

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Shop Siladora :

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

My brand Siladora is a creative collaboration; an art to fashion concept, where each season I work with emerging artists to create a small collection of printed fashion accessories.  My design style is really Art to Fashion. If I can present an opportunity for emerging artists to create something they feel is progressive and develops their portfolio, and that the fashion consumer appreciates I am happy!  I like to have a broad idea or small seed to work from but encourage the artists to contribute their ideas and experience – just take the idea and run with it!

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

They are beautiful works of art that feel luxurious and sensual when worn.  Wonderful gifts, and a great way to discover new artists and help promote them.

What is your background?

I studied finance in university and have worked in retail analyst or merchandising roles in the apparel industry for the last six years.  Lots of spreadsheets - not very creative at all!  But, I have always loved silk scarves.  They are a little piece of luxury and indulgence, when you might not be able to afford the whole outfit!  I felt so properly posh when I bought my first silk headscarf on sale ten years ago.  And I still have it! I have come from a family of seamstresses, corset (more...)