This week's interview is with a good friend of mine Claire Fitzjohn. We were both on the same Textile Design course and Uni, so here is a little bit about what she has been up to since graduating..
Tell us a bit about Claire Fitzjohn and what you doClaire Fitzjohn designs is my creative baby, which started as an interest in sculptural accessories, and grew into a collection of feather and leather jewellery, making unique one-off bespoke pieces for clients and customers nationwide. I am now selling on my website, ASOS marketplace, and Talent House East Midlands store in Leicester - with more stockists in the pipeline for the growing brand!
What are you up to currently in the design world?I'm currently, designing and making new lines, and also interning full time at Jimmy Choo head office to broaden my fashion and accessories industry experience.
Your jewellery line was inspired by your degree show work, what made you continue this as a business?The final collection for my BAHons Textile Design (Mixed Media Textiles) degree was a collection of extravagant "freedom of flight" inspired accessories, which I then developed and fashioned into smaller ready-to-wear more affordable pieces for customers to buy into the brand.
I received very positive feedback from shows 'New Designers 2011' in London and 'De Montfort University Degree Show 2011' which encouraged me to make more and launch Claire Fitzjohn Designs. I am now near to 90 sales and interest is growing week to week - very exciting!
What are your inspirations for your products?Original inspiration for the collections came from flight, birds, sculpture, and wing formations. My colour pallette, techniques and general style reflect this, but I am continuing now to develop more techniques and designs from looking at natural sculptural forms.
Tell us a bit about the processes:I hand cut, stitch, punch and sculpt all the leathers into rings, earrings, brooches and headpieces. All the leathers I source are biproducts of the meat trade, so no animals are harmed in making my jewellery, making the business ethical to customers.
What is your greatest achievement to date?Probably the success of networking with other creatives at 'New Designers' exhibition, resulting in some great opportunities for myself and the business, including photoshoots with stylists for magazines, and model agencies, internships at fashion companies, and stockists interested in Claire Fitzjohn Designs. It is so rewarding to make something people want in their life!
Where do you hope to see you or your business in the next year?I hope it will continue to grow, being accepted into more boutiques and I look to start a Men's line of leather accessories in the spring.
And finally, what would be your dream jobI would love to have my designs in shops worldwide and recognise my designs on strangers in the street. That's the dream!!
And a few last words from Claire "All women should adorn themselves with something beautiful unique and special everyday. Claire Fitzjohn jewellery is unique to anything you will see on the high street. For a unique and different, designed and lovingly handmade gift this Christmas, look no further!"