An introduction to our East-London based independent jewellery boutique, Pärla. Founder and owner, Erin, discusses why she set out to create the brand as well as what it is that separates Pärla from an ordinary boutique.
Filmed/Edited by Johnny Birkbeck
Produced by Isabel Ulatowski
Amanda Allmark is a Personal Transformation Coach with a difference. She is grounded, real and speaks from both her own experiences and her heart. She will be joining us for a summer special in our Portobello Rd store on 20th August for a talk about Standing in your own self-worth. We'd LOVE for you to join us!
Ahead of her talk, we caught up with Amanda to discover how standing in your own self-worth can be so damn sexy!
It kind of feels obvious that we should all stand in our worth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are always completely successful at doing so. There are so many reasons why we can struggle and I think that one of the most obvious reasons is the importance we place on what other people think, say or do and if we are not fully able to separate ourselves from that, before we know it, we can allow ourselves to be defined by other peoples values, opinions and projections. You can’t change another person and the way they behave, but you can certainly change the way you approach any given situation.
My sense is that people who struggle to ‘stand in their own worth’ do one of two things: they either diminish or shrink themselves to overcompensate for some kind of lack in another or, they do the opposite they attempt to diminish or shrink others to over inflate who they are. Neither stance is either healthy or, in the long term, sustainable and does not make for a happy balanced life. Whatever approach you take all it does is perpetuates a cycle to reinforce that somehow you are unworthy.
I very often draw on my own experiences to evidence what I have learned and how those experiences have pushed me to accept who I am, and ultimately to stand in my own worth.
It feels a little odd writing about this subject and even believing that on some level I really did allow others to take me away from who I am. In fairness I have had some pretty dedicated and ruthless teachers, but I am happy to say in spite of their determination to prove otherwise, today I stand fully in my own worth and nothing and no-one can take that away, and after all the hard work that I have put in I certainly ain’t going to give it away to anyone, whether I love them or not.
It is perhaps in our relationships, where there are natural emotions and feelings invested, that the potential to diminish who we are can so easily happen. If someone is imposing some kind of control or condition on your life, so that ultimately you are left compromising something in you, they are certainly not coming from a loving place, they are projecting what they lack on to you. It is when you find yourself dancing to another persons’ tune that I believe that you are, perhaps subconsciously, carrying the responsibility for their behaviour. When that responsibility lands on your shoulders and you choose to carry it, not only will it feel incredibly heavy, but you will strengthen a very negative internal message.
Nobody has the right to diminish you to feed their own lack, but if you allow them to, believe me they will persist in doing so. Why? Because on some level it works for them, it stops them having to deal with their own fears and inner demons and acts as some kind of free tranquilliser. If you don’t challenge negative behaviour because of a fear of loss or rejection you will just continue to shrink who you are.
Standing in your worth is about showing up authentically; living by your own truth; encompassing those values that sit with you for the positive and I believe, and this is a really important one, learning to separate yourself from the negative projections of others so you don’t own, absorb or become unwittingly defined by them. Ultimately authenticity and having a strong self image are pretty damn sexy, and the most amazing thing is that when you truly understand and encompass that you will absolutely know that nothing and no-one ever really has the power to take your worth away, apart, of course, from you!
Happy Mother's Day! We love our mums and all of yours! Make sure they know just how much! Check out our selection of bits that will surely make her feel special.
Hand sewn lacy bralettes by Jody Shafton, luxurious leathers by Danielle Foster, and gorgeous metals from our beloved jewellery designers - Pärla will help you find the perfect gift.
Shop in-store or online for these beauties!
Amanda Allmark is a Personal Transformation Coach with a difference. She is grounded, real and speaks from both her own experiences and her heart. She will be joining us in store on 12th February for a talk about Igniting your Inner shine. We'd LOVE for you to join us as we know all #ParlaGirls love to shine!
Ahead of her talk, we caught up with Amanda to find out more about her work:
Can you tell us a little about what it is you do?
My work is all about the ‘love’, and I am not directly talking about romantic love, but more that rather necessary and very important, but, at times, somewhat elusive self-love.
Why do you find people reach out to you?
People come to me for all manner of reasons, predominantly because they feel stuck with particular aspects of their life, challenging relationships, career, self-worth, self-belief, guilt, sadness, grief, and a general feeling of being unfulfilled.
Tell us about how you work with your clients
I have developed a way of working with people that has come from a wealth of experience and a deep study in to human behaviour, on both a personal and professional level; how our past shapes our present and how essentially it can take us away from our core essence. It is when we hit the challenges that life throws at us that we start to question our feelings and reactions and a natural instinct is to start searching externally for the answers; whether that be through relationships or what I call ‘external fixers’.
Why did you become a Personal Transformation Coach?
My belief is that we have a basic human right to feel enough, love who we are and be at peace; and that drives my passion. I have personally hit and overcome many challenges on my own transformative journey in getting to that place; it is as a result of my own ‘research’ that I am where I am today and is totally what drives me to work with others to ensure they find their ‘enough’ and a strong embodied ‘love’ of who they are. What I do know is from that place everything really does slot in to place and there is so much more freedom to create a rich, meaningful and fulfilled life. There is something absolutely magical around watching someone flourish and become empowered to love who they are, to be who they are, not what they think they should be, to stand by their own values and truth and of course the liberation that comes from that can not be underestimated. It improves pretty much every area of a persons life.
How do you work with your clients?
So a little bit about the way I work. I work in a transformative and highly intuitive way, this enables me to pinpoint what is limiting each unique and amazing person I meet, whether it be, for example, a trauma from the past or childhood shaping that is not aligned with who they really are. By being held safely through this process a person has so much more clarity and understanding of why they feel the way they do, and I believe that is very important in the process of letting go and moving forward. Then we begin the process of finding their core essence, what stops them from being aligned with that, and essentially getting that back. Again, I use my intuition to guide each individual through that, it is so powerful and what is wonderful is how sustainable it is; with a little bit of tweaking, a great deal more clarity and understanding, and a degree of fine tuning it is entirely possible for anyone to get to that place.
Can you give an example of a common topic that your clients raise with you?
When I think of the many limiting beliefs we carry about ourselves and how they stop us what immediately comes to mind is how so many people do not believe they have a right to shine; something or someone, somehow has triggered that belief. The fall-out from that and the coping mechanisms adopted can be so detrimental to a persons life. Take guilt for example and the resulting shame that comes from a feeling of guilt; it can pretty much influence every action and decision a person might make.
Do you have any words of advice to share with those of us struggling with guilt?
I would hope that every ‘#Parlagirl’ that comes in to the shop and treats themselves to something beautiful does so without guilt or shame, or to fix something that feels like it is missing from within. I suspect that is not always the case! If that is true then there is some sort of driving force behind that belief, whether it be another person influencing a feeling of lack of deserving, from the past or present, or both, or that elusive self-love we talked about. There should never be guilt or shame around marrying your inner shine with what you externally put out to the world. If any of this resonates with you take a moment to imagine how amazing it would feel to live the life you want, do the things you want, be who you want, buy what you want, in fact do anything you want and all without guilt or shame, but purely because you come from a place of total self-love and deserving. I truly believe that when someone feels whole from the inside then anything they add to that just enhances the jewels to a very solid crown.
So some of my mantras are ‘Let go and Live; ‘Keep it simple, find self-love and the rest will follow’ and ‘Always remember you have a right to shine’.
It's all good, baby baby
We are delighted to celebrate and welcome Pärla's latest exclusive pop-up, Delores Daywear! Stop by to pick out your own embroidered T-shirt and sweatshirt! We are mega-fans, nothing goes better with your Pärla jewels than a cute white T...
In-store from June 16th!
Our favorite Scottish girl and Pärla designer came by the shop to discuss the inspiration behind her beautifully minimalistic collection.
Photos and Interview by Isabel Ulatowski
After studying jewellery design in Scotland at Duncan of Jordanstone, Iona came to London with an interest in the commercialisation of high quality jewellery, that would appeal to a minimalist customer aesthetic. It was important for her to balance her own design ambitions with the constraints of the manufacturing process, with a view to grow her brand and sell internationally.
How do you find these limitations impact your design?
Iona Brown: It can be a positive actually, because when you have limited resources, it draws you to the important bits, the tiny tiny bits of detail.
Which is what you’re known for, your acute sense of detail.
I wanted to create some beautiful pieces that were designed in a simple and subtle way, and to have the manufacturing and the craftsmanship play part of that as well. The pieces are not necessarily specific to gender, what is important is who the jewellery appeals to. I think it is important to understand who likes what I’m doing, so I think that is where the branding comes in. It depends on personal style, I think you can’t limit it to gender. The idea behind the brand particularly, is simple and beautifully made products.
We do see that in Pärla, men coming in and looking at your jewellery because it does have that unisex quality. Are you interested in that market?
There has been a big interest with quite a few of the rings and bangles for men, and I think that would be an exciting move, to produce products which can cater to both markets. There are a smaller amount of brands offering a decent price point for a great product. Discussing with guys if they would like to wear jewellery, and they say “I don’t, but I would like to try”, which is a common answer, so there is definitely scope to try and do something.
Where do you derive inspiration from?
My inspiration tends to go towards architecture, construction, and structure. I am drawn to certain architects that focus on process and function. Designer, John Pawson, is a big inspiration. He has looked at space and how it is affected by light. In his work he revolves whole buildings around one skylight, and how you can bring light into a whole building with one light source. I find it fascinating how he is able to take that design process right through to construction.
When designing my pieces, I try to section off parts of buildings, or specific joints, and see how they are constructed. I am drawn to the basics of how joints are put together, and then use that information to influence certain elements of the jewellery. I look at the types of grooves, whether it is round or square or V-shaped and then question how the effect was achieved. What process was used? I am interested in these technical details because obviously when you have a solid piece, you have to cut into it, you’ve got to adapt it. A lot of my inspiration has actually been found in objects, structures and buildings, how they connect and work together. The other very important part to look at is the material used, so the difference between using only metal vs glass and concrete joining the two processes of construction are very different even if they are the same shape.
Pärla is a curated jewellery experience, how do you feel about your pieces sitting alongside our other designers?
I think we sit nicely amongst them, and that is due to Erin’s curation. Because quite a lot of us as designers cross over in terms of a shared aesthetic, it is important to notice how we all have our particular features (own little things) and important elements that we focus on in our brands. And I think that is very clear, you can see that in the work.
The best thing I've found from having the relationship with Pärla is learning about what the customer wants, and the value of what you guys give to the pieces as well. The customer interaction is really important with my pieces because the detail is so fine and can sometimes be overlooked. Your customer pays attention to detail, and appreciates high quality. So it is nice to be able to offer a beautiful product that is part of the Pärla brand.
Sweet as can be, Charlotte Sweet, is ready to solve all your alteration problems and frustrations. With a well established understanding of the fashion industry and trends, she will prove to be a dream when working with your clothing. Sewn Right, her new venture, is a London based alterations and repair service, working around your schedule and guaranteeing satisfaction. We paid Charlotte a visit in her Battersea studio space to learn more about her. She also makes a great cup of tea...
Charlotte wears Jenny Sweetnam's Prism Ring and the Moxham Marnie Slim Choker
Interview and photos by Isabel Ulatowski
Hi Charlotte, tell us about Sewn Right!
Charlotte Sweet: We are a high quality fashion sewing, alterations, and repairs company. We started almost a year ago now. Ever since I can remember, I have been sewing and doing alterations. Whether it was making a dress into a skirt, or making something from scratch.
What brought you to this point?
CS: When I left university, after some internships, I went to Selfridges and worked in their alterations department. I learned a lot about the basics of alteration work, and I really enjoyed working with high quality designer pieces. It was a big difference, working with the luxury side of retail, as opposed to working with high street labels. Not that there is anything wrong with high street fashion, but it is a different league. In that time, I also learned about different types of bodies from doing all sorts of fittings. I was then recommended to Net-A-Porter, and was doing mostly repairs, along side Naomi.
We became very close friends and started a tailoring service for Mr. Porter. It was just the two of us, and we were going to clients houses and businesses to do fittings. Eventually, we started doing other alterations for women. It wasn’t like Selfridges because it was an online business, and we focused mainly on repairs. So, I did that for three years when I felt that I had progressed a lot and sort of hit the ceiling, where I couldn’t go further. I decided to work part-time and develop Sewn Right.
How does Sewn Right stand apart from other alterations services, say for example, at the dry cleaners?
CS: We’ve got a wide breadth of knowledge on the fashion industry, like with trends. We also have developed our skills working within fashion. Not to speak against dry cleaners, but there is a difference in the extent of our knowledge.
From personal experience, there is often a misunderstanding…
CS: I have had so many people, most people I speak to in fittings, express that same frustration. Garments come back wrong, and often they are damaged. The major thing we stand behind at Sewn Right, is top quality alterations. Not just a quick job, each piece is dealt with utmost care. I am a perfectionist and that translates into every piece we receive. Also, your fitting revolves around you. We collect and deliver for free. If you’d like a fitting at seven in the evening, then we will do that for you.
Erin O’Connor: Personally, I feel that because you’ve got a fashion background, you can share the same vision with your client. You cater to fashion aware customers, and if I came to you and said ‘I want this, in this style’, I would trust you more because you would probably understand me.
You would get the fashion reference.
EO: Totally. Whereas just walking into a shop, it would take more time to understand what the customer wants.
CS: Thank you. I have one client, Miranda, who said to me from the beginning, “I feel really comfortable with you”. Previously, she was using an older woman who couldn’t understand why she wanted something at a certain length. I will do what the customer wants, and understand what they are referencing. With that knowledge, I will however make sure that you want the hem that short, or your trousers that long. Ultimately, my aim is to make the client as happy as possible with their garment. At Sewn Right, we wanted to break that old-fashioned, traditional tailoring service. Create a middle ground between a cheap job at the dry cleaners, and spending a load of money in a tailoring shop.
Who would be your dream client?
CS: My favorite brands are Acne and Comme des Garçons, and my favorite people are Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Richie, and Natalie Massenet.
EO: Great. All great women.
You also make bespoke pieces for customers…
CS: Yes. We have been doing alterations in a bridal boutique in Wimbledon, which is going very well. Bridal is something that I am getting into with customers, and have had loads of requests for wedding gowns, which is really cool for me.
What has been your favorite project thus far?
CS: I work with Sophia Webster, she is so lovely. I’ve been with her every fashion week. When Ed Meadham designed the looks for her latest show in February, I helped make this show piece wedding gown. It was so amazing. That was probably my favorite project because it was very ambitious for such a short period of time. It was really great to work alongside Ed as well, who is such a talented designer. And Sophia’s shoes are also so amazing! I love working with her.
And now you’ve also taken on teaching?
CS: It was meant to be temporary. I took on a job at my old university for a few months, teaching sewing. I was hesitant, but I gave it a shot, and I absolutely loved it. It was so creative, I got on really well with the students, and every day was different. I’ve also learned a lot from my experience there. You will never know everything with sewing, there is always a different way of doing something or new techniques to learn. The university told me fairly soon after I started that they wanted to keep me, so at that time I left Net-A-Porter, and I’m still teaching.
I see you’ve got some Pärla pieces on! We love seeing bits out in the world.
CS: Haven’t got enough! Every time I walk into Pärla it is warm, friendly, and very tasteful. Erin hasn't picked anything that I wouldn’t wear!
Team Pärla went to Brewer Street Car Park to browse the AW16 fashion, drink Prosecco with our very own Pärla Girls Jessie Harris and Laura Vann of V Jewellery, and see their gorgeous new collections. We also loved seeing the hand painted Caine London denim jackets, and the dreamy pieces by Molly Goddard and Sadie Williams.
Watch out for new jewellery collections coming to Pärla VERY SOON!
We are very excited to introduce Pärla Girl and "Bespoke Botanical Shop" founder Sophie Lee. Thanks to her, Pärla now has a whole new lot of green friends. Come check them out in-store, and shop Geo-Fleur online!
Interview and Photos by Isabel Ulatowski
How did you get into plants, and what was your inspiration for founding Geo-Fleur?
Sophie: My mum’s a florist (and a huge inspiration!) so from a young age I was always helping out with making buttonholes, big table decorations and bridal bouquets – which is super fun! My uncle is a head gardener of a big national trust garden and goes seed collecting in Japan – he always brings me back the most beautiful succulents to propagate so that’s how it started. My business partner, Sally, doesn’t really like flowers at all so when she got married I suggested that I plant her up a terrarium to carry down the isle. It all kind of took off from there – I made a few more and got addicted to Instagram (you can find us @geo_fleur).
What qualities does your “Bespoke Botanical Shop” offer?
I try to inspire others to #KeepYourUrbanHouseGreen - I live in a beautiful Victorian flat but we have no garden. I started making concrete planters and leather plant hangers so that anyone could add a little greenery to their home – all you need is a picture hook to hang the plant hanger! I would also recommend a big house plant, like a monstera deliciosa – it’s one of my favourites as it’s so lush and green, and their leaves are just beautiful.
Tell us about the #PlantPostClub? How would you define a "plant geek"?
#PlantPostClub is a plant subscription service brought to you by Geo-Fleur. Subscribers receive a monthly surprise package of plants or plant related accessories. Plant subscriptions created in Geo-Fleur's East London studio. A plant subscription means you will never have to worry about a last minute birthday present again, it also makes for a thoughtful gift for any plant lover, or for those who are a little tricky to buy for. A Plant Geek - gee well, its anyone that has a love for plants and wants to know more! I LOVE subscription boxes. I just thought, hang on, people like plants and they love a surprise in the post so why don’t I incorporate the two?! Subscriptions for February have now closed but sign up to the mailing list to be kept in the loop for March.
Loving the Plant Of The Week feature! Educational and for sale, nice.
It's great to keep people educated about their plants and to help them to grow once they get them home, we include plant care cards with each purchase which is nice to keep people in the know! Plus, it's rather difficult to pick a favourite plant of the week, as I find so many that I love.
Describe the Geo-Fleur aesthetic.
Well like the Pärla aesthetic, I love the Scandinavian style, and one of my best friends lives in Sweden, so I try and go out and see her at least every season to be inspired by the beautiful design and spaces there. I’m also a HUGE fan of Pinterest and my slight addiction to Instagram definitely helps – I follow a lot of Japanese Garden bloggers who have the most beautiful style.
What's your favorite plant?
My that's a hard one. I've probably got to say my favourite plant is Haworthia fasciata - it's just so hardy and beautiful.
These two chummy Pärla designers share a beautiful studio space in Hackney Wick. We went up there, pastries in hand, and had a little chat.
Interview and Photos by Isabel Ulatowski
How did you find each other?
Clarice Price Thomas: I am a jeweller stalker, and I had seen Jessie’s work before. I like to know who is about. I took part in Fashion Sunday, and I knew that she was going to be there. Actually it was her boyfriend [now fiancé] who came up to my stand, so I said ‘wait right here’, and I went and bombarded her! Then, I made her move into my studio.
Jessie Harris: The rest is history.
CPT: She came in for a trial and...
JH: ... it was like a first date! We were both on our best behaviour!
CPT: She came with her toolbox!
JH: It was like my first day at school, but then we sort of got talking about deep stuff.
CPT: We talked about some weird stuff…
Clarice, what was it that got you into jewellery?
CPT: When I was five, I wanted to be a vet, then I realised I probably wouldn't enjoy that. And then when I was ten, I wanted to make a necklace. My father is a watch maker, so he had all these tools for metal work. He let me use everything I needed, and helped me make this pair of earrings that were little cat faces - I was obsessed with cats. Ever since then, that was pretty much all I did. I went through the stages that I think a lot of jeweller may go through. Beaded stuff, things like that, and from there started doing the basics of silver work. Eventually, I moved to London, and managed to get myself jobs with jewellers who trained me from there.
Your work has an iconic Art Deco style to it. Where does this come from?
CPT: Its strange actually, while I like Deco, that aspect of my style really comes from the machinery. My first collection Time, was inspired by watch parts, and I was using the same tools used for making watches, milling machines. I began to discover the capabilities of those machines, and what you can create with them. With my second collection, Metropolis, I was really interested in what else I could make using the machines. The result was these sort of step shapes, and then it evolved from there quite naturally.
Do you limit what you make to the capabilities of the machinery?
CPT: No, not anymore. I recently took a course in CAD which really expanded my knowledge of what I can do. I feel like I can go beyond the machines to make things, although it was a really nice starting point for me. I am currently working on a small collection to bring out, and then my next big collection will be fine jewellery. That collection will be an extension of Metropolis, but made in 18k gold, with diamonds, and precious stones. I’ll take what I was doing with those steps and lines, and push it further. Sort of luxe it up a bit.
Jessie, how did you get into jewellery design?
JH: I come from a Fine Art background, so at university I was making really conceptual audio installations. I was interested in translation systems, like turning data into sound. Initially, my work was very physical and hands on, and then I went into something completely computer based. After that, I was desperate to physically create something again. I took a short course in jewellery, learned the basics, taught myself a lot, and then worked under several designers. In the beginning, it came from a selfish place, I wanted to make things that I wanted to wear. Then I found that other people were interested in what I was doing, and also shared my aesthetic.
With your background in Fine Art, where does your inspiration come from now?
JH: I see my collections as a whole, and there is often a concept behind them that include several ideas. At times, quite random ideas. For example, the Track Ball collection was inspired by tennis… in the 1970s… in the States.
Really?! No, I completely get that vibe.
JH: Yes! Like American summer, happy, retro vibes. But, what I have taken away from the fine art process, is how one piece or one collection can lead to another. Elements get carried over, shifted, manipulated, that kind of thing. My work is really a progression from one piece to another, similarly to my process with fine art.
What ideas do you have for your next collection?
JH: All my work has this past-future theme to it, almost like “retro-futurism”. I am interested in the aesthetic of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but sort of what would have been perceived as futuristic back then. The new collection [launching February 2016] has a bit more movement, and I have been thinking about Japanese garments. The tying, the folding, this idea of things being a bit more malleable.
It is interesting that you bring up Japan, I have a friend who’s idea of Tokyo is that it looks like the future, but back in the ‘80s. It seems very in tune with your inspiration, especially your term “retro-futurism”.
As independent designers, how do you find the shared studio space?
CPT: We stop for lots of tea.
JH: Clarice has a lot of grand plans, and she always says to me, ‘what’s the strategy?’. And I’m more like, ‘I have to solder this thing to this thing’.
CPT: I have to think big, I like to be very aware of what I need.
JH: We enjoy different aspects of owning a jewellery business. Clarice is a lot more technical with her making. I prefer the designing, and the physicality of the making. She loves the marketing, which I hate, and I love branding.
You also have distinctly different styles…
CPT: The other day, we were talking about where our ideas come from. I feel like Jessie can master that progression she mentioned, like kind of seeing collections together. Whereas my brain sometimes is a bit too logical, and I feel that if something doesn't fit within an idea, it can’t be part of it.
JH: We have our separate ways of working, but I learn so much from Clarice. We can feed off each other’s strengths, and remain true to our working style.
And your work really does compliment one another over at Pärla.
Erin O’Connor: When customers come into the shop, they will appreciate every single designer. I often put the two of you together, and while your work is complimentary, customers can really see the contrast.
Pärla makes it easy to do the whole trend of curating your own collection. The jewellry itself is high in quality, and you can easily build from all the designers and wear them together. That has always been my favourite thing about the shop.
EO: It is nice being able to mix-and-match designers. Not having to worry about pieces not working together, I never feel like that!
JH: There is a difference between every designer that you’ve got, but the Pärla aesthetic is minimal but special. We love Pärla!
CPT: I love Jessie!
JH: Clarice is okay.
We sat down with co-founders Frances and Lisa, in their beautiful Old Street studio space, and got the story behind their luxe and effortless clothing brand.
Interview by Isabel Ulatowski
How did the two of you come together?
Lisa: Frances and I started working together seven years ago on menswear brands. And then, the factory who we work in partnership with, gave us the backing to start our own line.
Frances: With the menswear brands, Lisa always worked in design and I was on the operations and production side. We’ve always worked well together, so it was kind of natural to start a brand together.
L: And it wasn't like going into something with a friend where you wouldn't know how you work together. We went straight into it, no issues, and being quite frank with each other. And of course we became really good friends anyway. With our background, we came into it not as just designers but with experience and connections.
F: We also both really knew what we did and didn't want to produce. Because we worked on quite a lot of fast fashion, when it came down to it, we wanted to be thoughtful about what we could make. Lisa and I wanted whatever we were going to do, to be quite meaningful and lasting, rather than making throwaway pieces.
And how has that translated?
L: It has become all about how the pieces fit into your wardrobe already, and how they can transcend each season.
F: There are some clothes, that can be on trend, but you just feel really awkward. So we wanted to be mindful of how the clothes we make work in real life.
L: By nodding to trends, like the crop top, we designed it so there isn’t a big gap of skin. Our crop reaches the height of our high wasted jeans, so you can feel comfortable. There are also pockets in everything! We want our clothes to be on trend, fit into your life, and be really functional. Something really cool happened the other day, since we’ve only just been able to start wearing the collection, Fran came in to the office in the plaid pagan playsuit after doing the morning school run…
F: But running, I ran to school, dropped off the kids. Caught the train, came into the office, we were doing stock take. Climbing over boxes and packing. And then that evening I was able to go straight to an event for a store launch, who stocks our brand. We were saying that is the life of our clothing, you should be able to go through your day, feel comfortable, and not have to change for the evening.
L: Thats what we always envisioned, and we were like ‘oh my god, it does exactly what it is supposed to do’.
Has your background in menswear played a role?
L: Definitely, I think there is a little bit of that girl who would wear guys clothes.
F: I think it comes through, even if maybe we started off with it more feminine intentions, it all eventually got stripped back and became quite androgynous.
And as far as your design influences go, what has stood out?
L: We kind of love Los Angeles, denim and jersey are very LA. And also a bit Australian, its that warm environment, laid back kind of thing.
F: And our factory is really strong with luxe fabrics, some really nice tactile fabrics, so thats what we've concentrated on. They specialize in jersey and denim. We are trying to hone in on everyone’s expertise, so you come out with a really good product.
L: A lot of our inspiration was kind of like boho and ‘flowy', but in London that doesn't translate very well. So even though that was the start of it, I think subconsciously we adapted to London and the clothing became very kind of minimal.
F: When we saw the range it was really clean and minimal, but If you look back at our mood boards it was a little bit crazy, with floaty tops and lots of Joshua Tree images.
L: And then there is the feedback we’ve received on the collection. Little things along the way, like @StyloNylon coming and shooting the collection. It has been interesting to see how people view the range, and what visuals they create for it. I really like that collaborative thing, it really helped shape it.
F: Every time we talk to people about it, we take something away from it. All of those experiences helped us get it down, get to the core of what we wanted to achieve.
What is coming up for S/S 2016?
L: We actually revisited LA.
F: We were inspired by the David Hockney pool pictures, so its quite a lot of turquoise, metallics, and whites. Some tie-die and subtle patchwork denim, but all very wearable.
L: There is also this picture of Lauren Hutton from Studio 54, literally gets re-pinned ten times a day, and she was wearing this sparkly amazing, really relaxed dress. So we made our version of it, as a T-shirt dress in lurex. That is how Uncivilized does a sparkly dress. Super easy to wear with boots, and easy to dress up as well. Everything is very subtle and wearable, with little nods to trends. We've got this really awesome 70’s Mum skirt. It is amazing, high waist, A-line, to the knee. Probably the most popular piece.
F: I want to start wearing that now!
We invited some of our favourite #PärlaGirls to the shop one evening to celebrate the Edit's launch, browse the holiday collections, and talk about all things Pärla!
Gift guide coming soon! Watch this space...
Interview and Photos by Isabel Ulatowski
What do you do?
I write a fashion blog called Ropes of Holland, it is something that I am super passionate about and one of the best things about it is being able to connect with brands, like here at Pärla, on a more personal level. I am also a physiotherapist, I do that four days a week. I work in an acute medical setting, so that can be pretty stressful, but then I have a relaxed chilled approach to creativity on the other side of my career.
When did you begin the blog?
It was born about three years ago, I didn't do much with it in the first year. I didn't really understand what a blog was, I just knew that it was a place to put up what you loved. I didn't realize that you could make so many brand relationships and be sent products and pieces to review. I was like ‘Why are they giving me things!?’ but once I started putting more time into it, and getting a bit more recognized, I thought ‘My goodness’ there are so many possibilities with this. It has been a nice learning curve and also good because it has been such an organic growth, I’m really proud of it.
Has style always been something of importance to you?
Style developed for me later in life. I was such a tomboy growing up, I was never out of football kits or playing this game called Man Hunt, which is like hide and seek - but like the next level - the whole street would be involved. So style only really started for me when I got to university. It was around eighteen or nineteen that I started to think about the way I dress. And that was heavily influenced by my mum to be fair. She is super super cool and is really into her brands, class, and style, so she rubbed that off on me.
Can you describe your aesthetic for us?
Clean and minimal. I love a stripe, I love my denim, but I don’t like too much pattern or too much colour. Anything in color needs to be the right cut for me to wear it. I am not into rainbow stripes or anything like that. So quite minimal I would say, some classic pieces that I can move in and out of trends with.
How do you approach styling?
I like to keep it simple. I always shop for hero pieces that I know I can wear a few different ways with a few different things, and it still has the desired effect at the end. I would say, try to be mindful of colour, and remember what you've got at home as well.
Have you considered going into style full time?
I would always like to keep myself in some line of physiotherapy, because I like rehabbing people and I like helping people. But if my blog were to take off more, and I got more opportunities, then I would do more with the blog. As long as I could keep some physio in my life, the goal is to do a little bit more with the blog and styling.
Should we keep an lookout for any upcoming collaborations?
Yes, I have few things in the pipeline. I’m going to be working with Atterley. We are styling something up on my blog. Atterley is a brand that I love, it has got that clean aesthetic, and the price point is amazing too, which is a win win.
How did you discover Pärla?
When I moved to London, my flatmate Louisa is a big advocate for Pärla, so I got to know it through her. And then Erin kindly popped me over an email for the first birthday party, and its kind of been a first love since then.
After being wowed by the latest collection at LFW, we paid a visit to her Dalston studio space to catch up with Pärla's favourite hoop earring designer...
Interview and Photos by Isabel Ulatowski
You’ve expressed an interest in the connection between jewellery and the body, where does that come from?
I am very inspired by contemporary dance and movement. For my degree show, I was exploring that connection by making huge theatrical pieces that would frame the body. From there, I think I refined it down to using jewellery as that frame to capture unusual angles. It naturally goes very well with my process.
Can you describe your creative process?
I am quite traditional in my process, I begin with pen and paper and design it all by hand. I don't use computers at all. Normally I have a bit of a concept to begin with, an impression of where I want it to go, but the rest of it evolves through making. I will sit on my bench, with my materials and literally just start making. That is the advantage of making jewellery by hand, you can just get into it straight away.
What was one of your favourite projects?
I made a bespoke crown for Banks when she was doing her tour in the UK. It was really fun, she wanted to keep it! And then my last collection was a collaboration with @pavanelondon, and I made these massive earrings. There were no boundaries with scale, so that was really exciting!
Do you prefer the more editorial pieces?
Well I enjoy making jewellery for different reasons, but I am definitely more excited by the big ones. My dream is to work on a really big scale. If I could do all big earrings, that would be ideal. That is actually kind of what I have been starting to do anyway, so yes, more editorial. It’s nice to see how those pieces work out in the end.
What can we look forward to in your next collection?
In the collection that just showed at London Fashion Week, I decided to focus on earrings. It is the area of the body that inspires me the most, the neck area. The collection comes out in February. The pieces play with scale and are all linked to the hoop earring. I’m trying to reinvent that style.
Are you influenced by any designers in fashion?
Yes, Jacquemus is one of my absolute favourite designers. I love his bold, oversized, and very graphic pieces. I also love the cuts of his work. Otherwise, I am always inspired by the old classics like Issey Miyake.
And you recently designed an exclusive piece for Pärla, how was that?
I really loved doing that, because it was the first thing I had done in rose gold. It was really my debut in Pärla Pink!
Jenny Sweetnam x Pärla Drop Ring Necklace
We caught up with Laura from V ahead of their AW15 Launch Party in store at Pärla
Photos supplied by V Jewellery, taken by Tom Bird @tombirduk
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Check my emails.
Favourite thing to do when you are alone?
I hate being by myself - but probably all the pampering things my boyfriend would give me a headache about if I did them with him.
Any new hobbies?
I don’t want to say yoga. Walking, loads of walking.
Three things you cannot live without?
My family, my friends, and my iPhone.
Cheeky Moon - the one that looks to the side.
What is your most satisfying guilty pleasure?
Do you have any pet peeves?
There's just too many.
What is your favourite Instagram account?
Most random account you follow?
@NASA - I got followed by an astronaut after that!
Last city you visited?
Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris.
What is a big design influence for you?
Things that really influence me are looking at old auctions, like vintage Van Cleef & Arpels.
Who inspires you?
I don't want to sound cheesy, but I work with my Dad and he is very inspiring, just how determined he is.
How do you select your jewellery of the day?
I definitely have a few rings that I never take off, and then it depends - If I'm wearing more of a feminine outfit, I'll go for more masculine pieces and vice versa. Outfit first, then jewellery.
What is your favourite piece of jewelry?
The newest piece that I've just designed - because I'm very fickle.
What did you want to be as a child?
An actress, but then I wanted to be a journalist.
Any good advice to share for aspiring designers?
Don't be afraid to do things that are commercial, don't be image conscious all the time. Think about what's going to make you money, as well as what looks cool.
I don't think there is such a thing as bad advice - if you make a smart decision yourself, at least you've been given an opposing perspective.
What is your proudest moment?
We won a UK Jewellery Award this year - that was definitely my Dad's proudest moment actually.
Best thing to happen this year?
This party! It is the first thing we've done like this, so this is really really good.
How would you describe the influences for this new collection?
Its all about the theme of illusion, so theres a lot of hidden mounts on the rings, which make the stones look like they're floating up the finger, or like the chokers are set on really fine chains. so its kind of like an illusion that like stones are suspending or levitating.
In what ways do you feel V Jewellery is evolving as a brand?
I think its becoming a lot more refined, the original collection was quite classic, and there were a lot of pieces that appealed to a broad market, but now we are discovering who the V woman is over time, and we're making our pieces a bit more niche and a bit more chic.
Can you give us an idea of what we can expect in the next collection?
Lots of colour.
Shop the collection at parlalonline.com...
Interview and Photos by Isabel Ulatowski
How did you find each other?
KW: We met at university and bonded over our love of the Maccabees. We just seemed to be drawn to each other in some way. We went to lots of gigs together and became best friends!
Did you both pursue your jewellery around the same time?
KW: I probably started before but it was more of a hobby. I never pursued it properly, I had a little online shop. It looked like Tetris, it was so old. I was working part time trying to buy all my equipment, it takes a lot of money to build a studio.
Katie, when did Crux develop?
KW: I was at university. We were in the recession at the time and job wise it seemed impossible to work for a company. People started to do their own thing, and so I came up with Crux and put it online.
Kirstie, were you faced with a similar scenario?
KM: We were at the same university, but my final collection was unwearable oversized textile pieces. So when I graduated, I was like ‘Right, I need to make some money’, and decided to start again and make a collection that was wearable. That took a while, and while I was doing that I was interning and working part time. I finally felt ready to launch it in 2013, I learned a lot from the first collection, and now I've just launched my second.
How did you discover Pärla?
KM: Instagram! When Erin first started the account I was like 'Who is this?' And then I noticed that Clarice [Price Thomas] and Jessie [Harris] were involved. I started following, and when the shop launched, I was like ‘Ooh!’ and pounced into the shop!
And now the two of you have created The Workbench London, which gives people the opportunity to create their own unique handcrafted jewellery that you professionally finish.
KW: We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary, its been a whirl wind! Its so fun to have this success together, and share the stress as well! We are totally there for each other for the highs and the lows. When you're on your own you internally go through the stresses and challenges, and then with The Workbench, its fine, we’re in it together.
KM: Its a confidence booster as well, to approach people and talk about things.
KW: People love the whole concept as well, carving your own ring at one of our events. We bring our personalities to the event and thats been a really warm thing. Some people are like ‘Shut up, what are these girls doing?’
How does it work?
KW: We work with a company in London who make temporary moulds of our wax that people have carved. They are then cast into silver and we do all of the filing and polishing ourselves.
KM: People assume they come back from casting and they are ready to go, but no, that is where we come in. We file and polish them up. Some people specify that they want matte rings, some people want polished rings, some people want little features enhanced in their ring. That is when the hard work starts, and our lives stop.
KW: But we do love it, and its that sense of achievement when all the rings are sent out. We get all the people Instagramming and hash tagging @theworkbenchldn. We get to see their reactions, we are there through the whole journey of that ring. Its really nice.
KM: The Workbench will be going on tour around the country next year, if you would like to request your local town!
How do you find working in the same space as separate designers?
KW: We are quite different in our design, but we hold the same kind of values, we are both from the same demographic and live in East London. We have things that we both really appreciate and see happening in fashion trends.
KM: Loads of our friends say ‘But aren't you technically each others competition?’ and we are but we don’t get competitive. Not a lot of people have a best friend that does the same thing as themselves, and it actually provides a lot of support in my career. Anytime we have low moments we have each other to talk to.
KW: And within the jewellery community, every one understands that you don’t see each other as competition, its more like ‘Wow, that is amazing, I need to buy that ring!’. Its a creative thing, because you'll never do the same thing, you'll always have your own take on it.
KM: I really love the designers Pärla stocks because I feel like a lot of them are at a similar age and stage in their life. I look to them as inspiration and I really respect them. Girl Power!
KW: We are from the Spice Girl generation, so we are all about Girl Power!
KM: Boys are allowed in as long as they're nice.