THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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21 posts categorized "Jewellery"

21 January 2015

Bye for now...

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Fran Taylor British Library

Happy New Year!

After looking after our creative industries blog for a few years, I’m going to be moving to a new role within the British Library to promote our Shop and commercial services. 

It’s been an absolute pleasure writing for you, building up a loyal following for our blog and working on projects like Spring Festival and our Jewellery designer in residence. I'd also like to thank all our guest bloggers including fashion forecaster Geraldine Wharry and writer Emma Tucker.

Although you won’t be hearing from me, you might also like to check out our Innovation and Enterprise blog for entrepreneurs and our Living Knowledge blog to get a ‘behind the scenes’ view of the British Library. Find me on Twitter and via my website.

All the best,

Fran

19 November 2014

From Street Goth to Health Goth: why Goth fashion never dies

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Written by our guest blogger Geraldine Wharry, known for her Future Trend consultancy based in London and inspiration sharing platform Trend Atelier, with clients ranging from WGSN to Samsung. We asked her to research the influence of gothic on fashion, to tie in with our current exhibition: Terror and Wonder, the Gothic Imagination. You can see more Gothic articles here and also on the Library's Gothic Pinterest board. This is what Geraldine told us.

The Goth subculture and style permutations associated with it have continuously held their place in fashion since the seventies. Weaving in and out of different influences, it’s a difficult group to pin down to one defined aesthetic but what has remained consistent is the Goth’s love for the undead and all things dark and macabre, with different offshoots ranging from Steam Punk to Japanese street style. It’s a fashion medley embracing Victorian influences just as much as Science Fiction and at times pink hair, making it a very rich subject to follow as a trend forecaster. The most evident glue between High fashion and the Goth subculture is the theatrical drama essential to its backdrop.

Street Goth

More recently, Goth fashion has entered the realm of street wear and hip-hop culture with designers such as Rick Owens, Alexander Wang and Hood By Air leading the way. Paris-based American designer Rick Owens, the most pivotal to this latest interpretation of Goth style, has his own cult following which includes rapper A$ap Rocky. With coveted sneaker namesake designs and signature long line tees, it wasn’t long before the Rick Owens look made a great impact on the entire hip hop world. By early 2013, the term Street Goth made it big on the fashion scene and was adopted by the likes of Kanye West, Drake and Jay-Z.

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What is interesting about Rick Owens’s influence on street wear is the paradox. Whilst dark and macabre, his collections have an introspective and monastic quality, a far cry from hip-hop’s usual bling and swagger. Owens is most famous for his cloak shapes inspired by the monk’s “habit” which he reworks into sculptural creations, layered and wrapped silhouettes which can evoke Frankenstein’s bride’s dress. His cultural references are far more complex, but some interesting links are worth highlighting such as the makeup used in his Spring Summer 2015 collection, reminiscent of Japanese Butoh dancers, known as “the dance of darkness”. Rick Owens has been able to combine such references with street culture, making a big statement with American dance crew “Step with Momentum” who modeled his Spring Summer 2014 collection whilst crumping and stomping. The link with music and self-expression is prevalent in Street Goth style with one group standing out - which could also be compared to Frankenstein and his bride– Die Antwoord the South African counterculture rave group often connected with designer Alexander Wang.

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More recent fashion labels are emerging out of New York’s scene such as Hood By Air’s, designed by Shayne Oliver who brings an anarchist and warrior quality to his collections inspired by a fallen hero, civil protest and street warfare. In line with HBA and Alexander Wang in New York, Nasir Mazhar in London, street wear labels are replacing dominant logos with messages around death, oblivion and anger - all within a black and white palette.

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Ninja Goth

There is a Ninja fighter quality to street Goth style, one we could also link to Samurai armours because of the silhouette. One of the key aspects to the Street Goth “uniform” is multiple layering and skirt length tees, shorts or skirts worn over skinny pants, in line with Rick Owens’s cloak like proportions mentioned earlier. Mixing surfaces, juxtaposing matte and shine with leather, jersey – even sheer fabrications – gives the monochromatic look more textural dimension. Interestingly this trend, originally led by menswear is now being picked up in Womenswear as seen in Yamamoto’s recent Adidas Y3 Spring Summer 2015 collection. Street Goth taps into youth culture, the pull between good and evil and expressing discontent, with underlying themes of urban warfare. We can also link the use of leather and elongated silhouettes with motorcycle clothing as well as cult movie character Blade, a half vampire-half mortal fighting evil.

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Health Goth

There has always been an intimate relationship between athletic clothing and street wear, therefore it wasn’t long and somewhat of a natural progression for Street Goth to influence the sports and health industry. In itself this could be seen as ironic as we don’t usually associate Goths with a healthy glow. Could the Health Goth movement be about toning your body in the most emotional, melancholic way possible? This is not the case according to Health Goth Facebook page creators Mike Grabarek and Jeremy Scott (the latter not to be confused with the fashion designer). Health Goth combines subcultural including Goth and cyber punk with the mainstream world of sport, bringing Goth fashion into a whole new context, tying itself to “Accelerationist aesthetics” a movement which looks at how subcultures can develop in our capitalist society, whilst subverting its visual codes – in this case Nike and Adidas.

One of the attendees at our recent talk “The New Black: from subculture to high culture“ at the British Library pointed out that Health Goth also originated from the need to sustain a lifestyle of clubbing and nocturnal habits. The fact is the media is jumping on the new term “Health Goth”, emboldened by the trend for dark monochromatic athletic gear and irony of comparing macabre aesthetics with Yoga clothing. Only time will tell how this trend will evolve as we see Goth fashion continue to navigate seamlessly from one style category to another.

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17 November 2014

How the British Library supports fashion researchers and designers

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If you are involved in fashion design, history and research, we can help you.


Be inspired by our collections

Inspiration can be found everywhere and our collections showcase not just fashion items from different eras and different countries but also prints, colours, shapes and textures. For example our Japanese collection contains original kimono pattern book designs from before the twentieth century and the most wonderful print designs, abstract lotus flowers and beautiful Japanese and Chinese calligraphy.  

Central Saint Martins History of Fashion students recently created a pdf guide for fashion researchers to the British Library collections.

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Image from British Library Fashion LATE to promote its fashion collections

We have an extensive archive of fashion magazines ranging from the early nineteenth century up to modern day including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, i-D and Elle. These original magazines have been maintained and looked after carefully by our newspaper collections curators and show the changing yet slightly cyclical nature of fashion. Some magazines, such as American Vogue, are also available as e-resources in our Reading Rooms.

So how can you use the archive?  You need to get a free Reader Pass to see our collections in our Reading Rooms in London and Boston Spa, Yorkshire. These short animations should help get you started.


Get help with the business side of things

In our Business & IP Centre you can get advice and support on working for yourself and setting up your own business. This could include business planning, finance, market research (we have some amazing reports on retail trends, for example) and intellectual property. We run a full programme of events, networking and one-to-one advice sessions. Some sessions are tailored to a fashion audience - 'Make it, Sell it' speed mentoring, workshops with the Design Trust and Fashion Angel and workshops and webinars with fashion trends forecaster Geraldine Wharry (WGSN, Samsung) in the Centre. Read her overview of fashion trend forecasting here.

Lastly, if you have already set up in business, you could benefit from our EU-funded Innovating for Growth programme.

Watch this video with ethical fashion designer Lucy Tamman on how she has used the Library:

Use our building as a backdrop for shoots and fashion shows

The Library’s stunning St Pancras venue has been used for fashion shows (see our article on events and shows with YMC (You Must Create) and Central Saint Martins).  

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Image: YMC menswear fashion show at the British Library

Working in partnership
The Library has worked with a number of fashion-related partners including Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, British Fashion Council, Fashion Angel, Trend Atelier and Etsy UK.

Read more fashion-related blog articles here

 

11 November 2014

Beginner’s guide to Fashion Trend Forecasting with Geraldine Wharry

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Over the last few years I’ve worked closely with fashion forecaster Geraldine Wharry; she helps the British Library analyse its collections in the context of the latest trends, and help educate SMEs on how trends can impact their business. She is creative director of Trend Atelier, a trend forecasting consultancy based in London with clients ranging from WGSN to Samsung.

On Wed 03 December 2014, Geraldine will be running the next instalment of her sell-out workshop: Fashion Forecasting: Trend hunting and gathering in the Business & IP Centre. The session will cover key design trends for 2016/2017 set to influence womenswear, menswear, accessories and footwear, interiors and graphics. Attendees will also get direction on colour and textile designs and see the latest ways designers are using technology and artisanship.

So what is fashion forecasting? Here is Geraldine’s overview.

Identifying a trend is a continuous effort of compiling observations. I call it "hunting and gathering". It requires a lot of curiosity and interest in a wide array of subjects ranging from art and design, reaching over to science, technology, socio-economics, architecture, retail, food as well as travel to name a few.

Whilst gathering facts, at the root of it is also a personal intuition and an eye for what's next, that can't be taught or necessarily explained. Personally I'm constantly collecting ideas and images and have built an archive over many years of designing and researching. Once I see there is a flurry of images with a particular concept running through, it's very easy to see this is a trend, although sometimes a single image can be so powerful that it triggers an instant conviction.

Within that process, there is a compass to guide trend forecasters. The first step is to understand the difference between short-term forecasting and long-term forecasting. This differentiation is key as the timing of a trend prediction is everything. With fashion trends now omnipresent on the internet and having an immediate global impact on consumers, often stemming from bloggers, celebrities and the wide coverage of catwalk shows, there is what we call the “Close-to-Season” fashion cycle. Some trends get massive attention in the press, on the high street and can last a year or so until they suffer from “over exposure” and consumers are ready to go to the next trend. The way these trends can continue past that time frame is if they are updated, which also makes the job of a fashion forecaster a “trend tracker”, guiding clients on how to “refresh” a successful trend.

On the flip side of the coin, some trends are very forward thinking, more embedded in art, innovation in materials, developments in science and technology, consumer behaviours. We call these “Macro trends” or “Big ideas” and they require in-depth investigation and research for what is emerging. Trend forecasting agencies or creative consultants like myself outline future scenarios based on research compiled from experts all over the world, combing through hundreds of references. For this, the creative vision required is strengthened and validated by attending industry events, panel talks, exhibitions as well as brainstorming with thought leaders. This research can take months.

Another element to keep in mind is that some trends are perennial and so embedded in our common fashion vocabulary that they never fully go away, for example fifties fashion or military inspired clothing. One of my favourite and iconic trend forecasters, Lidewij Edelkoort, says "trend forecasting is much like archaeology but to the future". We forecast future trends, but we also look to the past. It is important for trend forecasters to have a very good knowledge of what was designed 10 years, 40 years or over 100 years ago. Every trend has its roots somewhere in history. So whilst you're looking forward, you're also referencing the past and the resonance and space between the two make for a very rich statement. This is something I often do when working on trend reports for key shapes or key details. I research fashion history books, blogs, or interior design for example and it's very interesting to see the commonalities with what's being designed today. You realize it's one big creative loop that is constantly growing and updating itself.

The biggest challenge more recently has been the increasing amount of trends converging. Angelo Vaccarelo’s article for the Business of Fashion, states “In today’s hyper-saturated, ultra-fragmented landscape, talking about trends is, frankly, pointless […] everything is happening at once”. Which in itself is a trend. We are indeed experiencing a hybrid fashion cycle made of different trends and aesthetics co-existing in a complex eco-system. And trend forecasters are there to make sense of this and guide fashion companies to make the most relevant choices for their brand d.n.a. and consumer taste. In addition, Spring catwalks contain Fall clothing and vice-versa. So it’s possible in the future we won’t forecast trends as seasonally as we used to.

So we have reached an interesting time in fashion and thus the world of trend forecasting. Somewhat of a paradox. Suzi Menkes pointed this out regarding individual style stating “there is no longer a time gap between when a small segment of fashion-conscious people pick up a trend and when it is all over the sidewalks”. Because of instant globalization, we are witnessing a level of sameness, whether it’s on the streets, in fashion editorials and shop floors from New York to Bangkok, Paris and London. However, there are many influences seen in fashion right now and the looks can be very eclectic. I call it the “Cut & Paste” era of dragging and dropping images and mixing fashion messages. For trend forecasters, this is an exciting challenge. Of course we are very inspired by bloggers and viral phenomena on the Internet, but we also have to make sense of all of this, promote innovation and think outside of the box. Otherwise, what would be our added value?

Trend forecasting is a highly creative and intellectual field that is also very grounded in factual research and the practicalities of business. I'm a very creative person, but also very pragmatic – sometimes my left and right brain completely merge. Our role is to inspire as well as enable the right business decisions for companies navigating an extremely competitive and fast changing landscape. The design industry relies heavily on us to back up their business decisions with research and data on for example their colour choices for the next season. This could make or break their sales numbers. Although I believe we are in a highly challenging therefore thought provoking cycle, companies are still very shy about taking risks. So trend forecasters bring that extra level of confidence. Through my trend seminars and courses, it's almost like I've become a motivational speaker which is very interesting and something I didn’t necessarily plan for but happened organically when I became a trend forecaster.

Here is a sneak peak at the key concepts for SS16 and early AW16/17 which Geraldine Wharry will present at her next trend forecasting seminar in our Business & IP Centre.

WARPED NATURE

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MODERN FABLES

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SUBVERTED CLASSICS

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MODESTY SOLUTIONS

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You can find out more about Geraldine on her website, blog and on Twitter.

14 July 2014

Kapow! Comic-inspired accessories by artysmarty

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The British Library Shop looks like an open page of a super-colourful comic book right now and I love it. Here I interview Angela Cuthill, founder of accessories business artysmarty, who's created a line of jewellery for us in celebration of our  Comics Unmasked exhibition.   

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Kapow! birch wood necklace, £25.00 I have this necklace and I get a lot of compliments. Once a stranger on the bus leaned in to read it more closely and then touched it. A little awkward. 

Tell us a bit about artysmarty. Do you design and take care of the business side? Do you have a partner?

artysmarty is really a creation imagined and driven by me, so no business partner. I do all the design work and run the company, which gets pretty hectic at times!  I’ve had different helpers over the four years in business, and some of the boring stuff I can get outside help with, things like photography and accounting.  You can’t do everything and sometimes you don’t want to!
 
What has been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of running your own business?

Lots of day to day challenges invariably crop up,  things that stop you from doing the bits you love, like dealing with the dodgy Wi-Fi provider and cleaning spray paint out of a carpet (true story) but I couldn’t really name one biggie.

I guess being creative on demand can be a bit daunting, but if you don’t think about it too much an idea worth investigating further will pop up.  The rewarding bits are thinking about where you’ve come from and the progress that you’ve made.  My first studio was in a basement on North Great Georges Street in Dublin that literally had no daylight.  I think making it to a south facing building has been up there!
 
How did your jewellery designs for our Comics Unmasked exhibition come about?

I met Duncan Sanders (British Library Retail Buying & Merchandising Manager) and George Gutcher (Buyer and Visual Merchandiser) at Top Drawer in London, probably about six months before we started to work on this project.  We’d talked then about some of the other pieces that I had in my SS2014 collection and how they’d tie in with some of the upcoming exhibitions.  There had been a few emails going back and forth after that (George managed to remember me via my bright red hair) and they asked if I’d be interested in doing some bespoke pieces for this exhibition.  I was delighted to put some pieces together, I love all of the art work associated with comics, it really fitted in with my love of bright colour and ethos of fun. Artysmarty_Brooch_zap

 Zap! birch wood brooch, £12.50

What kinds of things did you look at for inspiration?

I gave myself some time to take another look Lichtenstein’s work,  I remember studying him at college but he’d kind of dropped off my radar a bit.  I love his colour palettes and self-parody. The content of his work is quite funny and accessible.  I also tried to think of the essence of comic books, I think they’re a lot about action (sometimes violent action!), kapowing and whamming all over the place, so I really thought that aspect would have to be included.   I guess the colour was the other big hitter for me, there is a really distinctive colour palette which I wanted to use but in a contemporary way, hence the chevron and small triangle patterns.
 
If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?

The ability to keep my feet warm in any temperature.
 
Do you read comics, graphic novels? If so, do you have a favourite or one you’ve recently read?

Not really, but I do love Calvin & Hobbs and Robert Crumb.  I was at the Biennale in Venice last year and he’d somehow drawn the whole story of Genesis  into a room full of illustrations.  Wowzer!
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Kapow! resin and mixed media earrings, £15.00

Can you tell us about your creative process? What’s your studio like in Dublin?

I love a good tramp around a museum of gallery and would take a lot of trips specifically to visit certain museums.  I had it in my mind to go to Russia this year and visit the Hermitage but might be a trip for next year now.

I go to Venice for the Biennale, love the cinema, and find nothing better than flicking through design and art books at the bookshop.  Life drawing has helped me keep up my drawing skills since college and sometimes I’d go to the Natural History museum here in Dublin and draw the stuffed animals.  Creepy.  Oh, and the studio is a mess. 
 
Your stocklist is long! I see you’ve designed products for the V&A and you’re stocked in Japan. How’s it all going? I’m curious what your bestseller is in Japan!

Been a really busy start to the year alright, but it does take a while to get a good client list and get your brand / brand recognition out there.  The Japanese audience is a bit different, as you’d imagine, and I’ve done quite a few pieces specifically tailored to them.  This season it’s been a ‘gem series’ of earrings but they also have a love of nature inspired pieces.  If I had to pick one bestseller it would have to be the ‘bird’ series of necklaces and brooches, they’re really colourful and easy to wear.

Check out artysmarty's AW2014 collection:

Artysmarty_acorn necklaces  Artysmarty_mountain brooch
Artysmarty_tree necklaces

If you're thinking of starting a creative business or want to grow the one you have now, check out our Business & IP Centre. We have loads of resources - from market research databases to workshops on how to write a business plan and increase sales.    

13 February 2014

Craft Central's FASHIONED exhibition for London Fashion Week

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It's always a pleasure visiting Craft Central. The staff are friendly and there's a great buzz of creativity - designers and makers are definitely flourishing at this Clerkenwell spot.

Craft Central's latest exhibition FASHIONED - features fashion, jewellery and accessories made in the UK. Here are my highlights including inspiring British Library collections. 

If you're  thinking about starting a creative business or if you're already established, the Library has loads of resources to both inspire your next designs and help your business grow. Visit our Business & IP Centre for more information and follow me on Twitter @BL_Creative for updates.

Grace Hamilton

Grace's inspirations are derived from looking at the boundaries of beauty and disgust. Creating three dimensional objects, conceptual and wearable jewellery.  

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Grace Hamilton - Kefal necklace 

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Southern water snake, hand-coloured copperplate engraving from George Shaw and Frederick Nodder's The Naturalist's Miscellany, 1796 

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Great boa, hand-coloured copperplate engraving from George Shaw and Frederick Nodder's The Naturalist's Miscellany, 1796

Hetty Rose

Hetty set up the company in 2007 and was selected to exhibit at London Fashion Week in her first season. You can learn how to make your own pair of kicks at her shoemaking workshops

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These were the shoes Hetty had on at the launch. So pretty. 


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Hetty Rose Kimono Collection 4 - Left - Bella, right - Rosa

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British Library Olga Hirsch collection of decorated papers, Japanese blockprint,  J.3409b via ImagesOnline

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British Library Olga Hirsch collection of decorated papers,  Japanese blockprint,  J.3409c via  ImagesOnline


Bridget Harvey

Bridget designs and makes adornments for body and space. Specialising in mixed media and exploring material possibilities, she makes wearable sculptures using mostly hand made multiples. Her work investigates ideas about time and play in design, making and mending.

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Bridget Harvey - The Geometrics Volume 1

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From the British Library's Flickr Commons, Atlas historique et etnographique du Royaume de Serbie ..., 1885

Yelena Loguiiko

Yelena’s collection draws inspiration from history, art, the cultural heritage of European nations and contemporary influences.

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Yelena Loguiiko SS13 collection

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Gazette du Bon Ton, George Barbier, 1921 via ImagesOnline 

For those of you interested in fashion, I'm hosting Puttin on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age as part of our Spring Festival celebration of fashion, film and design. Click here for more info. 

30 September 2013

Webinar series for creative businesses with The Design Trust

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I've come across a lot of creative businesses run by small teams or one individual. It's a common challenge for these businesses to create new work and take care of the business side.

Elizabeth Carrick, designer of womenswear label Blonde + Ginger, said her biggest challenge is "Needing to do everything yourself and trying to be good enough at it all! I love the designing and the creative side of the business but I need to develop my skills in other areas, such as marketing. You are never going to be great at every role you need to do but you can’t afford to not try your very best."

This afternoon I ran into Eleanor Lewis-Bale of letterpress label Marby & Elm. She's been so busy doing business admin like invoicing and packaging that she hasn't had time to explore and be creative. She finally made it to the Library to look at our typography collection for inspiration.

To help creatives get organised, learn business essentials and stay sane(!) we've partnered up with The Design Trust to deliver a FREE webinar series. These are perfect for pre-start and start-up creative businesses including freelancers, sole traders, practitioners in design, crafts, fashion, photography, video and film.

Webinar 1: Create your business plan for your first year
Thu 17 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
You can write a business plan to get finance or funding, but also to plan ahead and prioritise your workload.  Think of a business plan as a roadmap for your journey. In the end you will have the tools to create a business plan that you will be proud of and will be using regularly.

Webinar 2: Your first 10 steps in marketing
Thu 31 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
We'll look at how to do practical market research and why niche marketing is essential for small businesses. You'll get loads of practical tips and marketing actions that you can use to help get your business started on the right track

Webinar 3: How to cost and price your work 
Thu 7 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00
Pricing your products or services isn’t easy. You might not know how to do the maths, or you find it hard to put a value on your creative ideas. This is a step-by-step session on how pricing and costing works. Learn about different models, international pricing, discounting, premiums and more. 

*Webinar 4: First steps to creating your brand and choosing a business name 
Tue 19 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00 
Choosing a business name is a big part of the creative and business process. But naming your business (or even just a new collection!) can be tricky.
We'll cover how to create your own brand based on your values and ideal clients.  We'll share case studies and practical tips. *Part of Global Entrepreneur Week  

We'll end the series with an event at our Business & IP Centre on Selling creatively online (save the date 7 February, booking link coming soon). 


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02 August 2013

Meet Nuri Lee: Jewellery designer and Central Saint Martins graduate

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Nuri Lee presented her line of rings Borrowed Landscapes at the Central Saint Martins degree show earlier this summer. I immediately thought of the British Library’s Fay Godwin collection when I saw her rings displayed in boxes lined with images of natural landscapes.

Nuri was inspired by how solid objects like windows and gates create negative spaces and influence one’s point of view and experiences of the outside world. She explored the Library and took photos of staircases and gates. “I was interested in the negative spaces of the Library’s gate on Euston Road and the beautiful shadows it created.”

She received a lot of great feedback at the degree show. “People wore the rings and enjoyed playing with the reflective view.”

Nuri wants to commercialise her designs and plans to attend our Business & IP Centre Beginner's Guide to Business Information workshop. At the moment she’s preparing for the Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial.

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Borrowed Landscapes Mirror Ring - Silver, gold plated, carved mirror (2013)

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Borrowed Landscapes Ring 3 - Silver, gold plated (2013)

Nuri Lee

All images courtesy of Nuri Lee http://www.nuri-lee.com/