Behind The Brand: Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy started Dinosaur Designs in their graduate year of art school 32 years ago, where they were able to hone their creative skills and grow a brand that is more of an art movement, rather than a commercial organization.
The Aesthetic: “We’re always discussing ideas and keep our eyes and minds open. Our work is an extension of this and we never take it for granted. We love the juxtaposition between the hand-felt nature of our pieces and the fact that we’re working with a very modern material. Creating is fundamentally all about exploring and what’s produced develops into your visual language. Your visual language becomes the bedrock of your creative practice and always informs the creation of new works. This process is very instinctual for us.”
“We work with many different materials in including gold, silver, brass and copper, glass and ceramics, but we are best known for our resin. Resin has a mind of its own and we really have mastered it over the last three decades. As artists, resin offers so many possibilities, particularly its painterly qualities we love including, color, texture and sculptural forms. It’s always about finding the balance between continual refinement and embracing a bold creative spirit.”
Behind the Brand: Johanna Abitbol never dreamt of working in fashion, but began to learn the ropes at an early age by submersing herself into multiple facets of the fashion industry to uncover any and everything that peaked her interest. Soon after at the age of 22, Johanna launched her line, Johaab, which has an uninhibited stance on fashion and accessorizing. Her line blew up over night, after Johanna gifted model, Bella Hadid an array of chokers and in an instant Bella became the line’s muse—inspiring other “It Girls” to enhance their style with Johaab’s signature pieces.
Her style motto is inspired by a quote Gore Vidal said which is, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
The Aesthetic: “I would say that minimalism is a direction that I take but elaborate pieces occupy a central place. Johaab could be defined as a modern brand but all collections have so many vintage references. That is the idea behind the brand and through each collection, I try to explore territories and changes. Not having specific aesthetic requirements overall is the booster shot of the process.”
“I’m always in a mood of creation. I’m influenced by everything that crosses my path. I found inspiration in architecture a lot, in modern art too, but get mostly influenced by walkers in the streets. I never watch people’s faces in the street but always look at what they are wearing. Constantly creating new things and making them worn is important.”
Behind the Brand: With an MA in fashion design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, Sara Robertsson began her career working with clothes from the Swedish brand, WEEKDAY, where she was given the opportunity to design accessories, including jewelry. After moving back to her hometown of Malmö, Sweden the idea of creating her own eponymous jewelry line began to grow and she was inspired by the freedom of being able to create something that truly mattered to her—working with her own concepts rather than trends and focusing on creating longer lasting products.
The Aesthetic: “I wanted to work with silver because I simply love the material. I love the color, the shine and the possibilities it gives as well as the fact that it has such a long history of being used for jewelry. It is also almost fully recyclable, which is very important to me.”
“My design process is very intuitive—when working with fabric I loved draping and then combining it with pattern constructing to help refine the shapes. I work similarly today when working with metal, using paper, very thin metal sheet or wire—just cutting, bending or folding it and ”draping” it into different shapes. During this process, all is possible and all is allowed. Then I refine those shapes by constructing a workable ”pattern”. An important part for me is always to simplify the shape and find it’s core, that is when the minimalist in me takes charge.”
Behind the Brand: French designer, Justine Clenquet launched her line at the age of 18, where she started to create jewelry with old objects such as recycled chains, because she enjoyed the idea of creating something from nothing. Originally, she had attended fashion design school at the famous Parisian school, Duperré, where she studied fashion design—it wasn’t until later during Justine’s internships that she started to explore the art of jewelry making.
The Aesthetic: “I really love [and admire] the punk aesthetic and use that time period to create new classics. My designs are a mix between elegance, underground culture and a nostalgic hint of the ‘90s. I’m a ‘90s girl so this period is very special to me—even if this is a fashionable trend at the moment. I really love to combine different periods or cultures and I [typically] don’t want it to be focused on only one thing.”
“When considering ‘The Justine Clenquet Woman’, I like to imagine she’s a young woman, slightly androgynous. She likes to spend her time at flea markets and vintage stores, and she listens to punk and new wave music. Her style is mainly comprised of vintage clothing, basics tees and an accumulation of ear piercings or chokers. I always think of my customers when I create my collections and I would want her to wear my pieces everyday and being comfortable in my designs is so important. I want my pieces to be versatile and work with any style, for any occasion.”
Behind the Brand: Katie Caplener, designer of the line Vada was born from her obsession with collecting vintage and antique jewelry. When she amassed a large enough collection she began to curate and sell pieces, which ultimately led her to take a closer look at her personal collection. After sifting through her prized pieces and diving into books on antique jewelry, Vada was conceived and Katie began to create her original vintage-inspired designs.
The Aesthetic: When describing the design process Katie said, “Often I just create one piece at a time. When something seriously inspires me and I cannot stop thinking about it, I try to get it down on paper and create it as soon as possible. When I go to create a new collection I sit down with the entire line in front of me. I look for ways to use shapes from the current collections to make new pieces so that it can all live together as one big happy jewelry family. I only make jewelry that fits in with my personal style. I think it may be the biggest influence when creating new pieces.”
Behind the Brand: After graduating from the acclaimed Central Saint Martins Design School in London, Joanne Tan began to explore her talents as a designer with her newfound sense of freedom. Through research, Joanne became interested in beauty and the process one goes through to alter their physical appearance—specifically plastic surgery—which led her to uncover tribal jewelry and the way it was able to touch upon distinct elements of beauty. From there, she began to create her first collection inspired by “radical tribal jewelry that aims to combat the media’s idealization of beauty and the modern obsession with plastic surgery.”
The Aesthetic: “The idea of this collection is to allow [my customers] to customize their appearance at will, by empowering them through the enhancement [of each nose piece] rather than actual modification of their natural features. I often experiment with difference materials—such as leather and textiles—but currently, I work mostly with metal, such as base metal or precious metal but mainly wire or rod. I enjoy working with wire, it allows me to form a shape easily especially during the design and experiment process. For final pieces, it requires a lot of patient because [wire is] very delicate and a flaw or a mistake can easily be seen.”
“Thin gold wire frames highlight [each person’s] delicate features, while diamonds and pearls add an elaborate touch. Through the collection, I hope to raise awareness about the pressures of today’s beauty standards by offering a viable alternative that celebrates individuality.”