A chat with our latest fashion author on her special subject – jewellery…
AVA: What is the key point that you want students to take away from reading your forthcoming book, Basics Fashion Design 09: Fashion Jewellery?
AC: The fact that fashion jewellery is a major part of the fashion industry – a huge growth market – so it is a good path from an employability perspective. We are starting to deliver it as a specialism within the programme I teach on at Bournemouth. It is a very different specialism from the fine jewellery end which uses fine metals. Fashion jewellery is interesting because it is mostly allied to collections, and is therefore always shifting and evolving in focus.
I want to inform students about the design process, which is the same no matter what the product. I hope it will open up the views of potential design graduates as to what jewellery represents. It is hard because there are so many new designers that I’m constantly finding exciting new talents and having to update the images!
The most interesting part for me so far has been the chapter on Ethics and Sustainability. This is now integral to any designer and designer-in-training, and therefore should be key in any design course.
I am very excited too about the chapter on future design, as there are lots of things happening with the fusion of jewellery design and technology, for example digital jewellery.
AVA: Does the book include any industry contributions?
AC: Lots. Through doing the research for the book I have discovered lots of very talented and creative people. Industry links are a vital part of it. I recently discovered a woman who runs the design line Super Fertile and has created some very interesting pieces with recycled silver. I’ve also profiled 2 designers who are new graduates from the Royal College of Art, who are producing garments with integral jewellery.
AVA: What was your motivation for writing the book and has it affected your teaching?
AC: Fashion jewellery is one of the areas in which I specialise, and in fact AVA invited me to write the book. The writing itself is very interesting – and also demanding to balance with a full-time job! – as it has brought a lot to my delivery as an educationalist and expanded the options I can offer. More and more students are taking the Fashion Jewellery/Lifestyle option as part of the BA degree course in Fashion Studies that we run. It has definitely affected my teaching already. We are in the process of a rewrite for the course and the accessories area in particular has been informed by my research for the book.
AVA: How do you see fashion design education progressing over the next few years?
AC: Changes in funding will have a huge impact. The student demographic will change. We are hoping that Bournemouth will continue to attract a wide spectrum of student types. There is lots of work being done on diversity in fashion, and I believe that designers who make conscientious choices are key to the future. To some this seems to be a dichotomy as fashion design is seen as a frivolous area but any designer going into the industry at any level needs to try to make a positive difference.
AVA: Do designers have an ethical responsibility to make a ‘positive difference’?
AC: Practicing sustainability can be an issue of personal ethics, but it can also be to do with the availability of materials. The concepts of charity and celebrity endorsements are a huge growth area in fashion. We are now seeing some agents working with disadvantaged communities to help with production and many who are using more eco-friendly materials.
AVA: AVA’s titles have been very successful and widely adopted. Why do you think this might be?
AC: I use them as a teaching tool. They are concise and the visual aspect is very strong – obviously we are in a visual industry so this is crucial.
Many thanks for Anne for answering our questions. She was wearing a rather amazing silver necklace herself…