From tool box to jewel box: I Love a Lassie presents new Hard-Wear collection at IJL
Designer and Creative Director Arlene Katorza tells Jewellery Outlook about the latest collection of Scottish brand I Love a Lassie, inspired by memories and mementos passed from generation to generation.
Q. The new collection from I Love a Lassie, which will launch at IJL, has an interesting name: Hard-Wear. What does this mean? What is the inspiration?
A. The Hard-Wear name is a playful reference to the way we transform these simple little hardware items into wearable designs.
We have shaped nuts and nails into a chunkier set of designs for jewellery lovers looking for bold, edgy pieces.
Someone on Twitter cutely described it as “from tool box to jewel box”.
It also supports the enduring quality of our designs. We want our pieces to last forever — not just a season, which is why we only work with precious metals, primarily sterling silver.
It’s quite a cool, edgy name – like the pieces themselves!
Q. What pieces are included in the Hard-Wear collection?
A. The new collection comprises necklaces, earrings and rings cast in silver from nuts and nails, glamorising the hard-working little treasures found in any trusty toolbox.
The collection includes the Nail Ring – a stunning wraparound ring that we are sure will be a firm fashion favourite.
The nail theme extends into stud and drop earrings.
We have three pieces featuring little hex nuts that work particularly well when worn together – a ring, earrings and necklace.
We also have a Wing Nut necklace – where a nut and a nail act as both the pendant piece and fastener. It’s a nice detail.
Q. How would you describe the I Love a Lassie brand? What makes the brand distinctive and special?
A. I Love a Lassie jewellery is quirky, fresh, enduring. It’s the way we inject a nostalgic flavour into contemporary designs that makes us distinctive and special.
It starts with a memory of something that makes me smile.
Then I try and find something that captures that moment.
A jagged thorn, some old lace, the bits and bobs from my grandad’s toolbox that he kept in his garden shed.
The wee treasures that people love and cherish, and the special memories these pieces inspire, are then transformed into contemporary, wearable jewellery designs.
People want to buy unique, beautiful, well-made jewellery, but also hugely value the little stories that trigger shared memories and that can transform a piece into a special keepsake.
Q. What are the other main collections from I Love a Lassie that will be on show at IJL?
A. We will also be showcasing our existing collections that we just launched last year.
These include our Antique Lace, Bawbee Coin, Bird’s Nest, Cameo, Knotted String and Rose & Thorn collections.
These continue to receive great exposure in the fashion media – they’ve been featured everywhere from Grazia to Russian Vogue!
We think that next year is going to be a big year for all of our collections as our brand awareness grows.
Q. How did you break into jewellery design, and what is your background in jewellery?
A. I have been designing and making jewellery since I was a wee girl!
I never ‘broke into’ jewellery – it was just something I have always done.
After studying Psychology at Edinburgh University I travelled around the world – mainly in the Far East and Australia – and stayed overseas for five years.
During that time I learnt about gemstones and the craft of jewellery making.
I arrived home with a trunk full of stones.
After studying at the bench for a year I opened my first jewellery boutique in 2000.
I now own two established, well known boutiques in Edinburgh with my husband, who is also a jeweller.
I Love a Lassie’s collections represent my unique creativity, as well as my understanding as a retailer of what fashionable jewellery consumers want.
I’ve been designing bespoke jewellery for my clients in Edinburgh for more than 20 years.
Being a jewellery designer is the only job I’ve ever had.
With my new brand, I Love a Lassie, I can now create beautiful quality pieces for a whole new group of people both in the UK and overseas. It’s very exciting!”
Q. What is I Love a Lassie hoping to achieve at IJL? What is the location of your stand?
A. We are upstairs in Design Gallery stand P47.
We are looking forward to catching up with our existing stockists who have supported us so strongly in our first year.
We understand how much of a risk it is for stockists to take on new designers, so we hugely appreciate their early adoption of I Love a Lassie.
Hopefully this year will be further reassurance and proof to them of our intention to build a first class jewellery brand.
We are looking forward to sharing with them our new Hard-Wear collection and the new POS display imagery we’ve developed.
It’s a striking new brand image for use within retail displays, so consumers can get a really good feel for the I Love a Lassie brand.
It features a gorgeous Scottish model, with stunning blue eyes, set against an old walled garden in Edinburgh.
We also are looking forward to meeting new high-quality stockists to expand our distribution network in the UK and overseas.
This ensures that the new consumers we attract to the brand via our proactive PR and marketing activity can readily access our jewellery in quality retail environments – converting the awareness into sales.
I Love a Lassie exhibits at IJL at Design Gallery stand P47
IJL (International Jewellery London) takes place from August 31 to September 2, 2014, at Olympia, London
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