Tuesday, June 29, 2010

London Jewellery Week Part Two - The People

When I first went to Europe 9 years ago, the continent fascinated me because it was so different from the region where I grew up in. This was reflected in every imaginable thing possible: from the architecture to the food. I saw beauty in everything and loved all parts of the mundane, including little quirks like the traffic lights in East Berlin and the transport system of all the metropolitan cities.

The one thing that captured me more than anything else though, was the people. I remember faithfully writing in my diary during long train rides and intermittent day-breaks while sightseeing. And while there were mentions of the magnificent piazzas and cathedrals, most of my ramblings were of the conversations I had with people I had met.

9 years later, it’s the same thing. London Jewellery Week was awesome on so many levels, but the things that I play over and over again in my head are the encounters with people. I met countless number of them: members of the media who were so encouraging regarding the brand story of the label, retailers and agents who gave important feedback on the collections, students who shared their dreams of starting their own jewellery design businesses, fellow designers who didn’t know how talented they were and my favourite: the activists and pioneers of the ethical movement in the jewellery industry which are truly mavericks in the best way possible.

Sometimes we tend to think of tangible deliverables only: how many media wanted to feature us, how many retailers showed positive interest in making wholesale purchases. Those went well for us, and we are grateful for that, but if we were to assess the outcome solely in those terms, we would have done the experience a severe discredit. Those conversations with people with vastly different experiences from me and encountering their generosity of spirit through the sharing stories and advice made an unquantifiable positive impact on my growth as a designer committing to address the social and environmental issues through the pieces we create.

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