Recycled vintage from Silk Purse Sow’s Ear
Edinburgh-based Eilidh Strang is the creative architect behind Silk Purse Sow’s Ear, a company that focuses on the benefits of reworking old pieces into shiny new ones. There are obvious environmental benefits of fixing up vintage jewellery, but trends from history will always manage to find a place in current fashion. Strang’s Etsy shop definitely gives vintage charm the opportunity to live on in the form of some beautiful pieces.
When was the brand created, and what was the inspiration behind it?
When my son was nine months old we went on holiday to the Isle of Skye. The weather was atrocious and we spent a lot of time browsing endless gift shops. I found there was barely any exciting – and affordable – handmade costume jewellery on offer, so decided to make some!
Which of your current designs is your favourite?
It changes all the time, but right now I like my Bee Hive Necklace best. I am really into geometric shapes, and think the little bee adds a bit of fun to the piece. I’m also working on some really great southwestern-inspired designs for summer.
Are the designs all your own or are there multiple designers? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
No, all designs are done by me.
What is your favourite era for design and why?
My favourite at the moment is definitely Art Deco. I love the geometric lines and understated use of colour from this period. Any designs that are inspired by Art Deco always seem to end up being so wearable and classic looking.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being asked to stock my jewellery with the Fashion and Textile Museum was a great moment for me. Also being asked to provide a selection of vintage lockets for Etsy’s Christmas shop on 5th Avenue, New York, was fantastic. I’ve been selling on Etsy since I started, so it meant a lot to be asked to do this.
Where did you study and what did you get from the experience?
I studied English literature, drama and philosophy at the University of Manchester. Although it’s not related to what I’m doing now, I loved my degree and like to think I’ll do some creative writing in the future.
What are a few of your likes and dislikes in terms of design and style aesthetic?
I love clashing colours, animals and black shift dresses. I hate miniature rucksacks and boot-cut jeans.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
My plans are only to keep working hard, and enjoy it all as much as possible. I try to make the most of every single opportunity my business is given, and find that so far, the rest has taken care of itself!
What is your favourite thing about the process?
I find it has a creative benefit of sparking ideas that I can design jewellery around. Last year I made a lot of fabulous cocktail rings using really huge clip-on earrings from the 1980s! I think that vintage things often have a certain charm and playfulness that make them really fun to wear.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
No, I do all the making and designing myself from home, and my partner Rob helps with any techie web stuff I can’t manage.
Have you ever produced bespoke items for Etsy customers?
Yes, quite often – I think that being able to offer a really personal service to customers is one of the best things about making and buying handmade things. I made a Husky dog locket for a customer to commemorate a much-loved pet. She’d seen my Labrador locket and asked me to make something for her. I was really happy to do it!
How do you feel fashion/jewellery can affect an individual’s image and/or self-esteem?
I believe accessories are the easiest way to update or try out new looks. My personal fashion ideal is a comfy black dress that makes you feel fabulous, and lots of massive earrings, necklaces and cocktail rings!
Finally, what is your one fashion vice?
No matter how many pairs of earrings I make, I still seem to find myself asking for them every birthday and Christmas. The bigger and brighter, the better.
We’re loving how fashionable being resourceful with trends has become, so definitely check out Strang’s Etsy shop here for more stunning pieces of recycled jewellery.