An interview with Jenny Jenny, the creator of unique handmade jewellery
Jenny Collier was born in London and studied at London College of Fashion and Central St Martins. After graduating, she began her career in womenswear, designing unique pieces for Jaeger, Temperley and Topshop. It was learning metalwork and experiencing the world of jewellery-making during stints working with designers Clara Francis and Husam el Odeh that inspired Jenny to create her own line of accessories.
The result is the Jenny Jenny adornment collection, launched in 2009 as part of Topshop’s exclusive EDIT designer selection. Creating each piece meticulously by hand, Jenny ensures everything that leaves the studio is destined to make the wearer feel timelessly stylish and beautifully adorned.Currently living in Hackney, East London we had the chance to speak to Jenny about her influences and inspirations.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m a native Londoner and I have never moved further than across the river. I started a little cottage industry customizing clothes whilst at school and seeing how creativity and making things by hand could get people excited. I applied to study at the London College of Fashion and from there I went on to Central Saint Martins and started a career in Womenswear. After styling artists and performers and creating costumes for music videos, I decided to focus on designing more wearable pieces and the Jenny Jenny jewellery range was the result.
How did you come up with the idea for your Jewellery collection, Jenny Jenny?
What is a typical work week like?
Busy! I spend most of my time working in my little studio which I share with a few other people so we drink tea and have a chat while working. I make each piece by hand, to order so I’ll deal with each customer or stylist requesting a product for a shoot individually. I try to make time for working on new pieces, usually having something ready to road test when I go out over the weekend!
What kind of women wear Jenny Jenny designs?
I think women with a strong sense of their own style are drawn to my work. I don’t follow trends but aim to design pieces that assert their own form and work with an outfit rather than overpower it or blend into the background. I’d say my customer definitely likes hitting the dance floor as my tassels look best when being shaken!
The relationship we have with our jewellery is very different from the relationship we have with our clothes. Why do you think that is?
Jewellery can carry more meaning and it can remind you of a fabulous night out when you last wore it or the person who gave it to you (jewellery makes the BEST gift, feels special and is usually sure to fit!)
What do you get up to when you’re not thinking about or designing new pieces?
Each piece is handmade by you. Can you describe the general process you go through to design and realise a piece of jewellery?
I like to start with the wearer in mind and the raw materials in hand. There is nothing more frustrating than having a beautiful design in mind and then not being able to source everything necessary to make it a reality. I’ll begin playing with shapes and piecing different components together; combining materials and colours in unexpected ways is one of my favourite elements of the design process.
What are some of the inspirations for your designs?
My visual references are always being used, whether scouring vintage illustration books or just seeing someone’s amazing trinkets brought back from a holiday. I adore the Art Deco era and often go ogling the antique jewellery and glassware in Camden Passage. I keep folders and files of inspiration images everywhere from random notebooks in my studio to my cluttered Mac desktop.
I love the mini tassels bracelet/necklace! Do you have a favourite piece?
It has to be the Classic Tassel Earring, I have a different colour for every outfit and wear them when I want to feel especially energetic and swishy! They have a great movement that makes you want to dance and toss your hair around! Turquoise was the first colour I made them in and it’s still my favourite.
Finally, what’s next for Jenny Jenny?
To get your own unique piece of handmade jewellery from Jenny Jenny, go here.