Where do you find your inspiration? It seems like this very playful process, where something comes to mind and you try it out. Is it things you see in everyday life or is it things you see in nature? Where do you get it from?
I draw inspiration from so many different things at the same time. It always starts with a feeling. I always think that each collection is like a therapy. Essentially, it is about how I am feeling right now. Where am I in my life? I will gravitate towards certain parts of the Divine Comedy. For example with the Love in the Wasteland collection, which is the most recent collection that we launched earlier this year, I was reading T.S. Elliott, and looking at how T.S. Elliott was really inspired by Dante and how they are both describing this very dry arid landscape of a place without hope. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I was in a safe relationship, and I had found this pocket of love within the wasteland and so I wanted to bring that hope out of the darkness. I have been looking at chains and traditional old school links and I loved the way that through these pieces of our lives, we can link together to create stories. It is kind of an abstract way, and then as I start making things, it feeds into that. I am always looking around. At fleamarkets. And usually, travel is a big thing for me, obviously not at the moment. But I always get really inspired by different countries and landscapes, photography, music, or even just going on the tube and seeing women in their 60s and 70s and the jewellery that they wear, imagining the stories that come along with these pieces. So I think for me, inspiration is in the everyday, all the time.
Maybe tell me a little bit about your Lion Club. I think that’s quite cool.
The Lion Medallion was the first piece I designed. In the first canto of the Divine Comedy, Dante is confronted by this lion, and the lion is described as so terrifying that even the air around him is trembling with fear and he turns on his heel and says, I can’t do this journey, I am not good enough, I am not brave enough, I am not strong enough. This is when his guide Virgil appears and says, Dante come on, you can do this. I was traveling, maybe four or five years ago now, in Venice for my birthday, I was by myself. I always go somewhere every year on my own. It was January, it was freezing, it was misty. Having the best time with my camera and just listening to music, wandering the streets and I found this lion coin, and I was like oh my gosh, this is like the lion in the Divine Comedy.
And what did it mean to you, personally?
I bought it for myself as a way to remind myself to be strong and courageous in moments when I was down and sad or feeling like I wasn’t good enough. And it was a really destroyed coin, and when I came home, I wanted to repair it and restore it with wax and add texture to it and recast it just as a reminder to myself and that’s kind of how the brand really started actually. And it’s amazing because the women, and the men who buy it, tell me those amazing stories, so I really think the lion club was a way of unlocking people’s stories and bringing people closer together and feeling less afraid to share their vulnerabilities.
Looking at the way that you present your brand, it is really different and unique. There’s this feel to it, that it reaches beyond jewellery.
I think for me it has always been about more than jewellery. It’s about the objects that create a community and bringing people together, making people feel less alone. I think quite simply, I’ve never had a strategy or a business plan, where I was going to create this community. In so many ways, I was the receiver, I was creating for myself as the receiver. I was 25 when I started. And I asked myself, what do I want? I want something that has an accessible price point. Something that tells a story. Something that I can keep forever, that I can pass on, that has story and a meaning. And then I wanted to feel like I was part of something, and I was creating for that. And the more time I spent doing that, the more people just wanted exactly the same thing, and the idea of using fashion, using objects to be inclusive and genuinely making people feel less alone. The world is such a hard place. And I struggle with my own demons, so I wanted to use the brand as a way of genuinely making people feel less alone.