Fashion designers are increasingly turning to the high street to get their designs seen and worn by the public. It is not a new phenomenon to see high profile designers develop their own lines for big name department stores; it is a perfect relationship in truth. The designers benefit from the public exposure of having their creations hang in storerooms everywhere and the high street is able to showcase cutting edge fashion that they can retail to the masses. Recent trends in accessories have brought jewellery to the forefront with many jewellery retailers seeking designers to create their own ranges to be showcased in their stores and online.
Although the commissioning of jewellery designers by big brands is not unknown to the industry, it is a relatively new phenomenon as more fashion designers break out into jewellery to complement their own fashion lines. The conventional perception of jewellery designers is that they are artists producing hand-crafted designs in small workshops. While this is certainly still the case for many designers, the environment is changing as designers see the advantages of teaming up with larger retailers. There aren’t a lot of jewellery retailers out there that sell designer jewellery but it is an up and coming area and fashionistas everywhere should keep their eyes peeled for more designer names in jewellery on the high street.
For years we have watched celebrities walk down the red carpet flashing their latest threads, but now interviewers are not only asking who designed their dress, but who designed their jewellery. Staring at the camera close-up of the 6 carat diamond drop earrings with necklace to match or the funkier mulit-coloured precious stone pieces we have seen lately, we know that there is no way that we could shell out the half-a-million dollar price tags that hang from these pieces. But in fact, most celebrities haven’t paid a penny; usually these exquisite pieces are on loan. If only we could be so lucky!
Fortunately, retailers have taken notice of our desires plus the size of the average purse and are commissioning designers to create the same high fashion lines for a fraction of the cost, making such jewellery more accessible than ever. Many jewellery retailers such as Astley Clark and Tiffany and Co have teamed up with jewellery designers to create unique lines in their own style to be sold at these retailers. Some lines have become very strong such as Paloma Picasso’s designs featured at Tiffany & Co. Her distinctive style has a clear following and has become synonymous with the Tiffany brand further strengthening their customer base.
As retailers are catching on to the advantages of taking on more big name jewellery designers to create ranges specifically for their stores, they are putting more of a spotlight on the designers such as seen by the launch of the Julien Macdonald Jewellery range which is very fashion led and will start at prices that everyone can afford and be found on the high street.
Many home-grown designers, like Welsh born Julien Macdonald, have found it hard to obtain a big enough market on their own to sell their often handcrafted wares. Unfortunately there are not many organisations in the industry that provide support to young budding jewellery designers. By building relationships with some of the larger retail houses, the designers have found a way to make a living with their art and get the support they require.