“We are all shattered fragments trying to become whole again.”
The boldest the better. With multi-award winning designer Gina Melosi, body jewelry makes a conceptual statement which is not for the faint-hearted. Her fashion-forward jewelry creations from recycled metals and fair-trade gemstones are beautiful and quirky, delicate and slightly dangerous, and play with contrasts of form, texture, colour, and meaning. Gina knows how to push boundaries and get that rough and refined, dark and yet bright feel that we are all so crazy about
Your fashion film //mineD// is very sensual and almost hypnotic. Talk us through your thinking behind this.
Thanks. I had the pleasure again of collaborating with the director of this film, Joseph Eardly. He knows me very well and understands my work. I trust his choices, and we have a long history of shooting each other.
Before I ever launched my jewellery line, I was an image maker. It makes sense to present my creations in this format. I used to collage the world around me into 2-D, now I concentrate on 3… Maybe there are more dimensions to come!
We wanted to bring out the ‘elemental’ in this film. Rhythmic undulations of water, earth, fire, air… It ties in conceptually with what is described in the jewellery.
You use strong shapes in your jewellery moulded in metal. What materials do you use and have you experimented with things in your collection? What’s been the most difficult part of putting it together?
The shapes come from different influences, but have an organic aesthetic.
I’ve worked with many metals, including precious. But the collections are generally cast in recycled Sterling silver, recycled Bronze, and Copper. I’ve used some varying stones, both rough and faceted. I try to source these from fair-trade suppliers. Some of them are local minerals I bought in Butte, Montana, a mining town which inspired the current collection and next season’s.
The difficult part is that each item is handmade. Most of the collection can be duplicated. But really no piece is 100% identical. This is the beauty I believe, but something can always go wrong when crafting by hand! It always takes longer than you anticipate and can generally cost for. Likewise, I would say the marketing is difficult and paramount. There is so much involved in getting a piece/collection to market.
You yourself feature in many of your photographs and videos. When designing your pieces, do you think of yourself wearing it or others?
For the current collection, I did use myself as the journey was very personal. Next season shows a new interpretation on this narrative project. I do test-drive everything, so I can see it in situ, but I also try to envisage my jewellery on the end user who will wear/buy my pieces. It can be hard sometimes to completely dis-attach myself from the objects. There is a weird dichotomy of wanting to sell everything so you can succeed, but also wanting to keep it all because of the time and closeness spent with each one.
But really the greatest pleasure is seeing my jewellery on someone who is very happy with the end result. It is a joy of creating with one’s hands.
I recently got a tattoo of a snake between my breasts on my chest. I’m quite excited showing it off. What is the statement a person is making when she’s showing off your pieces? And how do you want your pieces to feel when they’re worn?
Sounds sexy! I’m outwardly tattoo-less, but the inked skin definitely inspired my first collection //SHATTERED fragments//. The statement a person is making, I hope, is uniquely individual to each wearer. I want the wearer to feel that the jewellery was manifested by my own labor of love. I hope they are concerned with the origin of the materials and the process behind the piece(s). I want them to feel empowered to make an individual statement which best suits their nature! I love experimenting, so if my customer wants to wear a piece in an alternative way or mix-and-match with different collections/vintage pieces/other designers, this makes things more fun.
Do you have any plans on future collections? And what are you now focusing on to help your brand grow?
Yes, I’ve been researching the next instalment and concept for a little while now. It’s exciting! TBC…
I’m focusing on finding new stockists/retailers that share my values and ethics. I want to showcase in the right settings for my brand moving forward. I’ve just taken a PR firm on board, so we are also focusing on increasing visibility and brand recognition in the press. I did most of it myself up until a couple months ago. My first project with Black PR was a launch at alternative luxury concept store Celestine Eleven.
Are you into fashion? Who is your favourite designer?
I don’t buy so many clothes, but someone manage to have a TON… I tend to keep things forever and ever, until they fall apart, and beyond. I have loads of hand-me-downs which I super cherish. I am even still wearing a skirt from 1st grade that consisted of part of my Halloween “Gypsy” costume. When I buy stuff, apart from vintage, I get some basics that I can wear with any/everything or some special classics like a Dries Van Noten floor length winter coat, which will never go out of fashion in my opinion. I guess because I create accessories, I have an endless supply of ‘samples’ with which to experiment and change my styles regularly. It also makes for *cheap* advertising
There are so many amazingly talented designers out there, and if I had a surplus of clothes-spending bucks, I’d support all my friends who make kick-ass stuff. There’s a ruffled, green couture dress from Francesca Valorsa I’ve been eyeing ever since we showcased together for FASHIONCLASH. Rei Kawakubo is one all-time fave, but most people probably say that. Finding good shoes is difficult.
If you could have had one other fashion designer join you, who would it be and why?
I think this would be on a by-project collaborative basis depending upon the collection concept. Hussein Chalayan for one of my next collections. I want to collaborate with many types of artists/designers/musicians/image makers…and beyond!
What do you think style is about? How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic, random, sometimes geeky, sometimes slutty. Often impractical for purpose. Sophisticated squatter.
If style was a place it would be…
Nature is the ultimate place style icon. But a (little) pad on Mustique would be just fine, thanks.
And finally, you are from Texas, living in the UK. What do you love about London? What is an absolute must do there?
Anything and everything goes. You have to dig your heels in to scratch the surface. You can meet someone new every single day. All the options are there, you just have to do a little searching/discovering. You become really good at google-ing.
Thank you Gina.
Below some pics from her Instagram. Follow her @ginamelosi