Clash talks shop with the emoji favouring jewellery designer.

In 2015 a new jewellery contingent exists. A world away from the big guns of glossy exposure and a follow up generation to the likes of Dominic Jones and Maria Francesca Pepe, they’re collaborating with their clothing contemporaries, adorning Marilyn Manson, and pretty much owning Instagram.

In the menswear bracket sits Alan Crocetti and Roxanne Farahmand – both former Fashion Easters – while the female focused arena is fronted by Thai export O Thongthai, Peckham based twins Finchittida Finch, and Marisa Jiwi Seok’s Jiwinaia label.

“Originally I had other options in my mind,” Seok tells Clash. “I opted for jewellery in the end which I think I thought was a better choice for me; I always wanted to make something I could collect and wear myself.”

Born in Seoul, the designer’s family moved to Italy a year later, where Marisa remained until taking up a place at Central Saint Martins. Post-graduation she returned to Milan, which is where today she runs and produces everything Jiwinaia.

“University was very self-led,” she asserts of the BA Jewellery Design course, “I learnt a lot from my classmates from different nationalities.”

Her own label could well have emoji as its mother tongue; smileys and flames dominate the debut ‘Get Rich or Eat Peanuts’ collection while on Instagram posts are smothered in cute graphics, all of which speak directly to its (presumed) target market; an international mob of the type of lady you wanna know, if not grow up to be.

DJ Siobhan Bell, WAH mama Sharmadean Reid, stylist Anna Trevelyan and Tumblr queen Elizabeth De La Piedra have each taken to the social site to boast of their fandom; elsewhere Colombian artist Kali Uchis and Olivia Kim – ex-Opening Ceremony/current Nordstrom – are part of the Jiwinaia posse. SHOWstudio is a stockist.

“My first collection is about the ‘eternal teenager’. These pieces are the combination of every day objects transformed into lighthearted motifs. Like the Horny Peanut earrings, which come from the peanuts I stole from local bars during happy hour. I get randomly influenced by anything lying on the table in my studio and at friend’s places after house parties like bottle tops and matchsticks,” we’re told.

For the accompanying look book – above, shot by Bea de Giacomo and styled by Anna Carraro with make-up c/o Michiko Ikeda – Marisa visualised the eternal teenager IRL, complete with American Apparel grey jersey, loose scraped back hair, bongs and the sign of the horns. It’s playful, youthful and backed by a woman, not overtly sexual.

“Who wouldn’t want to remain a teenager forever?” Seok offers when quizzed on the inspiration, adding of the objects, “I think I tried to transform playful procrastination into something useful and fun for myself.” She claims the Female Flames choker and Bottle Top necklace as equal favourites.

Of the site which, based on appearances at least, plays a unique role in the label’s exposure, the designer reasons: “I guess (Instagram) is a helpful tool for young labels to have direct contact with people who like what you produce, which is exciting! Also it’s a free way to have more visibility. Apart from that it’s just for fun.”

“I like to think of jewelley as little sculptures, pieces to treasure which have a meaning just as collectable objects too,” she adds, a response to the genre’s adoption by the aforementioned new generation. “I think more designers are choosing jewellery since it has both sentimental and materialistic value.”

A collaboration with DreamWorks characters Felix the Cat and Hot Stuff the Little Devil are next on the agenda (naturally previews have already made it to Insta), while designs for season two of Seok’s mainline collection are incoming.

Words: Zoe Whitfield


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