This NZ jewellery label has indie It-girls in a frenzy
We're talking Rihanna, Florence Welch, Lorde, Zoe Kravitz, Grimes, Alison Mosshart, to name a few. But this homegrown label is proving they have far more than star power on their side. Sell-out runs in the institutional Paris boutique Colette, an iconic W Magazine cover with Rihanna and heavyweight stockists like Nordstrom and LuisaViaRoma are just a few of the wins New Zealand-based label Meadowlark have had since their inception in 2006.
But with a keen, street-informed aesthetic, (founder couple Claire Hammond and Greg Fromont come from skate and snowboard design backgrounds) artisanal practices and delicate yet powerful aesthetic, it's clear to see there is plenty more success to come. Here, Divya Bala talks to co-founder and designer Claire Hammond on community, microscopic details and creative flame.
How did Meadowlark begin?
Greg and I met through friends and spoke about collaborating on art projects at first. Then, one night over dinner we started talking about all the cool kinds of jewellery we could make and we decided to make a little collection and see where it would go. Our first piece was the double swallow necklace, based on a tattoo of mine. It's two birds held together with a small love heart.
Why did you choose a meadowlark as your brand's totem?
We were searching for a name that we both agreed on, it was pretty difficult! We cam across the work of Ambrose Bierce and a quote stood out as encapsulating ideas we had planned for the future: "The metallic note of the Meadowlark suggests the clashing of vibrant blades."
What were your creative backgrounds before starting the brand?
My background was originally in fashion, I had a streetwear brand and also designed for other snowboarding and skateboarding brands. I think the clothing background influences the construction of our jewelley; I come from an angle of manipulating fabrics and how shapes are put together, which is a different way to see jewellery.
Greg is a passionate skateboarder and has worked within the industry, including making boards. He studied visual arts and comes from an experimental angle when looking at jewellery, rather than being confined by traditional techniques. I think our backgrounds bring a little bit of sincerity and grit to our work.
What is the process from concept to creation of a Meadowlark piece?
We work differently each time. Sometimes it beings with a conversation, sometimes it's a fully realised sketch, sometimes it's wild hand gestures. Often we make two almost complete collections and hold styles back for a few season. Eventually when the direction is starting to look clear to us, we will expand the styles in to a fully-formed range, usually with three themes running through it.
Once we are past the design stage, our in house sample jewellery makes each new piece and after that, we have a team of jewellers who make each piece in house. Some of our smaller pieces are made off shore and hand finished in our studio.
What was the starting point of your current collection?
The Liberty collection was inspired by nature but is also a response to the way the sense of community has been altered by social media. The locks symbolise security and safety but also captivity. The flowers are about complete, wild freedom, love, peace and femininity. We love nature and our phones are full of photos of flowers so it is amazing we haven't gone so full floral before. Some styles are actually tiny flowers within flowers, which you can only see with a microscope.
How do you envision your pieces being worn?
We see our pieces being worn everyday, casually. We don't believe in keeping things for certain events but to wear your best everyday - life is short.
What are some of your favourite pieces?
The Revival styles - these sold out at Colette in Paris and Nordstrom Space in the US. We are really proud of these styles. I think people like very pretty things. Jewellery is deeply personal and I hope people choose our pieces because they can see the love and hard work poured into each piece.
Why do you think so many enigmatic, deeply creative people (FKA Twigs, Grimes, Alison Mosshart) are so drawn to your pieces?
I would like to think they can see the art and soul in our work. Our company is very honest and integrity is super important to us. I think our work is quite different and hard to place sometimes, which seems to make it appealing to other creatives.
Browse the collection at meadowlark.com.au
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