Starter's orders: IJL Kickstart
If it’s new talent you seek at IJL, then the Kickstart stand is for you. From vintage styles to imaginative contemporary pieces, these up-and-coming stars have got it all covered
IJL offers the perfect commercial platform for up-and-coming designers to showcase their work in front of key retailers and buyers. Kickstart, an annual bursary scheme for emerging talent supported by the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and sponsored by IJL, will be at stand C31 and is a trade show must-visit to see what the scheme’s new designers have to offer.
Abigail Stradling’s signature glass jewellery combines hand-blown hollow forms and lampworking with precious metals. Her Time range incorporates natural materials sourced from various locations, manifesting a sense of place, time and memory. Her second collection explores symbiosis through the relationship between glass and silver.
Stradling says that Kickstart has buoyed her confidence. “Being selected for Kickstart has given me a real boost and I am brimming with anticipation,” she says. “I feel it is the most desirable platform to present my collections to the retail market, while receiving the invaluable support of the experienced team at the BJA.”
Nostalgia and romantic sentiment flow over in Amy Keeper’s handmade sterling silver pieces that use vintage postcards to evoke contemporary cameos. Sometimes Keeper sets the images behind stones and glass, and she also uses photo etching. Her black and gold range features semi-precious stones and elements of movement, and was inspired by a spyglass in a children’s story.
Keeper says Kickstart is an ideal way to enter the foray of trade shows. “Kickstart is a supportive environment in which to tackle a trade show for the first time,” she says.
Cabbage is King
Art and jewellery converge in the fantastical and imaginative designs from Cabbage is King’s Greig Alderman, who produces jewellery with a narrative and is influenced by his background in sociology.
Alderman has welcomed support from the IJL team. “From the outset being involved with IJL has been unequivocally positive for Cabbage is King,” he says.
“The support offered by the team has been both personal and instructive, providing me with an invaluable insight into the industry.”
Claire English - Special Jewellery Co
Claire English’s designs present the familiar in unexpected ways and use an array of metals in imaginative contrasts.
For English, taking part in Kickstart has helped her feel less nervous. “Without Kickstart I would feel completely lost at such a huge show as IJL,” she explains.
“I’m sharing the terror of taking part in this event for the first time with other designers in exactly the same position.”
A Holts Academy graduate, Doreth Jones creates both classic and contemporary jewellery from her London studio.
She works with recycled silver and brightly coloured gemstones, creating an urban chic effect.
Jones believes that Kickstart is a great way to get her designs noticed. “Being chosen to take part in Kickstart has already brought attention and visibility to my brand, and I hope to expand my contacts with suppliers and enjoy the experience,” says Jones.
“We had a Kickstart training day that gave us invaluable insight into the market place and covered an array of topics.”
Contemporary and wearable are apt ways to describe Emma Turpin’s jewellery.
Influenced by Victorian folk life and architecture, her pieces bring the old and new together. Her Maidens Garlands collection comprises hand-folded silver rosettes.
Turpin hopes to learn a lot from her IJL experience. “I’m thrilled to be involved with the Kickstart programme. The hype about IJL and Kickstart has already started and I aim to get a lot out of the experience,” she says.
“I’m hoping to speak to people from all parts of the industry, from galleries and shops to internet retail opportunities.”
Casting broken glass fragments into recycled sterling silver, Gina Melosi’s debut collection Shattered Fragments is a triumph in textural experimentation.
Melosi will launch her second collection at IJL and Kickstart promises to be a great opportunity for positive exposure. “Being part of a collective group of up-and-coming designers is a great resource and hopefully will maximise the number of trade and press visitors to our stands,” says Melosi.
“I hope to gain some new UK stockists, make contact with key figures within the industry, and receive more press for my debut collection and the new collection I’ll be launching there.”
Natasha Faith and Semhal Zemikael are the London-based duo behind La Diosa, a jewellery brand that specialises in opulent handmade jewellery using precious and semi-precious gemstones.
The pair learned to make jewellery while in Mexico, and this exotic influence still lives on in their work.
The La Diosa team plans to make useful contacts at home and away at IJL. “This is a great opportunity for us to meet with established retailers and buyers in the UK and internationally,” says Zemikael.
“La Diosa jewellery has a strong appeal to consumers looking for pieces that are wearable yet striking and vibrant.”
Blackened 925 sterling silver and colourful gemstones abound in Johnny Mirpuri’s designs, which use a combination of computer-aided technology and traditional hand-crafted techniques.
Mirpuri plans to make the most of his involvement with Kickstart. “Being a part of this high-profile initiative gives me a prestigious and credible platform from which to launch Mirpuri’s debut collections.
“It also gives me the chance to form and cultivate important new business relationships with both UK and overseas buyers,” he says. “I’m particularly keen to introduce my work to independent retailers and etailers looking to add new designers to their stores.”
Her heritage, travels and love of intriguing containers have inspired Sarah Ibrahim.
Her jewellery retains an organic, homemade feel, with an industrial edge. Hidden lockets with interiors made of bright gold leaf and simple, yet bold, triangular shapes feature prominently.
IJL is an important event for Ibrahim. “What an amazing opportunity to be involved in Kickstart: the publicity, the support and the opportunity to showcase my work at such a prestigious event,” she says. “To be able to experience all this and gain more recognition is an exciting and significant step towards making my dream a reality.