Just over six years ago, I came across a collection of jewellery that was simply out of this world. They could have easily been museum pieces – rocks and stones formed on an unknown planet. When I finally got to meet their maker – jewellery designer Imogen Belfield, she told me that she was inspired by everything from the solar system to the core of the earth – and it showed. The collection was strong, powerful and harsh, yet totally feminine. There was a sense of mother nature to it all – destruction and harmony combined, all translated through jewellery. Also inspired by the Ancient Greeks and architecture, her creativity and experimentation seem limitless.
Handmade in her London studio, an IB London ‘jewel’ is usually a one off piece made from raw materials and stones. Yellow gold plated bronze and silvers, rose gold plated sterling silver and sterling silver are her ‘elements’ of choice. She developed her collection by adding black diamonds, green emeralds, blue sapphires, red rubies and hand crushed pyrite – even reworking shards of porcelain through her meticulous hand sculpting and carving techniques. On paper, Imogen’s choice of materials alongside her designs shouldn’t work – but through her vision and creativity, she produces spectacular collectable items that I’m sure will be displayed and coveted by museums around the globe.
Imogen is also now an award winning jeweller who has been worn by everyone from Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Helena Christensen, to Cameron Diaz and Jessie J. She’s a hit amongst music artists all over the world with her pieces being the perfect statement for concerts, photo shoots and music videos. Notably, Imogen Belfield was selected as one of the first members of Rock Vault – a initiative created by Stephen Webster and the British Fashion Council to support new designers in the jewellery industry. Imogen is so good – that even though being part of Rock Vault is usually meant to be a three-year programme, Stephen Webster told me last week that he has invited her back again.
What made you want to become a designer?
It began with sculpture and a love for fashion. Following my Foundation Studies in Falmouth, Cornwall, and some Silversmithing Courses, I moved into metal work, which transcended into Jewellery. Using quality craftsmanship to create beautiful and luxurious objects to adorn the body, is my biggest passion.
Where did you train?
I trained in Jewellery Design at Sir John Cass Faculty of Art on Brick Lane. I look back on my time there with fondest of memories, and still work with John Cass as an Alumni. I was accepted by the Royal College of Art for an MA, but at that point, my career was growing at such a rate I sadly was unable to take up their offer. I love working with students, and I hope to work as a mentor with post graduates in the near future.
Who inspires Imogen Belfield?
Family are hugely important to me, and it was actually my father who took me along with him to my first silversmithing class near Brighton. From that moment I was hooked to metal work, and the scale of possibilities in beheld.
The number of brands and ‘designers’ are growing rapidly in fashion’s current climate. What do you believe sets you apart from others?
Innovation. Keeping it real. Pushing boundaries.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I love to collaborate. My top collaborations would be with Zaha Hadid, Kelly Hoppen, Anish Kapoor and Balmain.
Who would you most like to dress? Past or present.
Boudica. St Vincent. Michelle Obama. Smart, empowered, strong woman, adorned in our ‘Aphrodite’ Colliers, wrists and arms stacked with our ‘Achilles’, ‘Rocks’ & ‘Odysseus’ Bangles and Cuffs – laced in sparkling golden nuggets.
Who is the Imogen Belfield muse?
Somebody with a spark in the soul, and the desire to deviate from convention.
What’s coming up for Imogen Belfield?
This year is going to be epic. We shall be moving premises to adapt with the expansion of our team, and growth of the company. We have some very exciting ventures on the horizon which are under-wraps at the moment. So watch this space…!
What’s been your biggest achievement so far as a designer?
My recent graduation from Rock Vault was hugely significant. Stephen Webster and the BFC have been incredible mentors, and in the support and directional growth of my business in the past three years. I am excited now for the next stages for IB London.
Where can we buy your pieces?
From our online IB store – www.imogenbelfield.com.
Reinhold Jewellers – Puerto Rico.
Wardrobe Apparel – Vancouver.
Flat 128 – New York.
Russell Street – Hong Kong.
What does ‘fashion’ mean to you?
Expression. Luxury. Adornment. Fun.
“Fashion means – Expression. Luxury. Adornment. Fun.”
- Favourite smell? Freshly cut grass + coffee brewing = heaven scent!
- Favourite book? I’ve just finished Buddha in Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi.
- Puppy or kitten? Puppy.
- What was the last song you listened to? My workout playlist. Gorecki by Lamb.
- First person you spoke to this morning? My PR.
- Favourite instagrammer? The Jewellery Editor.
- If you had to pick one place to visit, anywhere in the universe, right now, where would it be? The moon.
- And why? I love Space.
- Favourite place in London? Regent’s Canal, on a Narrow Boat, cruising, in the sunshine, with a pint of cider.
- What’s your most non-fashion thing that you like to? Gardening.
Words: Sabina Emrit