December 9, 2013

Melbourne based jewellery label Edenborough Evans is creating a buzz with its unique creations. The intricate designs are brought to life by sisters Anna and Kate Cowen. I caught up with one half of the label, Anna at their pop-up shop (details here) in Brighton last week. After meeting Anna it was evident to me why her...

Melbourne based jewellery label Edenborough Evans is creating a buzz with its unique creations. The intricate designs are brought to life by sisters Anna and Kate Cowen. I caught up with one half of the label, Anna at their pop-up shop (details here) in Brighton last week.

After meeting Anna it was evident to me why her creations have been picked up by luxury London retailer Harrods and are a sell-out success world-wide, she has that winning combination of passion, creativity and drive. She shares her time working with a fine jeweller in Prato, Italy where she developed a unique design process, challenges of starting a new label and also her advice for other creatives looking to get into the fashion industry.

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What is the meaning behind the name, Edenborough Evans? Edenborough was the maiden name of our late mother Jane and Evans is the maiden name of another dear friend who also passed away. We wanted the label to be in their honor.

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How did you come to launching and designing your own jewellery label? My business partner (and sister) Kate and I have always wanted to work together. This is actually not our first jewellery label! When we were 8 and 9 we started making jewellery and called ourselves Bead 2 Bead, after the popular music duo at the time, Sister 2 Sister! Together we sold our beaded creations at the local surf shop and conducted our business from the pages of an exercise book covered in dolphin print contact!   I finished my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Metals and Jewellery) working with a jeweller in Prato, Italy. It was an amazing experience and when I got home Kate (who was still studying her business degree) spent the summer working on a business plan with me. We launched Edenborough Evans in the summer of 2009.

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You pieces are so unique, tell me about the design process? How long does it take to create an average piece?   When in Italy I found in this beautiful old stationary shop in Florence and was inspired by the wax stamp seals that they had. I took them back to the workshop and began working with wax, as a medium, in the jewellery making process. These pieces were the foundation of the labels debut collection and the process has become the signature of the Edenborough Evans label.   I work a lot with wax. Once I have made my finished wax model, a silicone mould is made and the wax is burnt out and replaced with metal. After this process, there is always a large amount of finishing to do. This includes buffing, filing and polishing in the studio. The time frames range a lot. The longest part of the process is developing the concept, theme and element that will run through the collection to make the pieces sit together. I often make the range and the hide it from myself for a few weeks, If I’m still happy with it when I re-look then I know it’s a keeper.  

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If you had the choice of anyone in the world, who would you love to see wearing your pieces, and why?  I love the style and elegance of Diane Kruger. She always looks so polished and cool but at the same time like she didn’t even have to try. I would love to see Edenborough Evans on her.  

What did you find the most challenging aspect of starting your own label?   The most challenging aspect has been that you have to be across everything, even areas that neither Kate nor I have specific expertise in. For example, building a website. It is a balance between letting go and bringing in the experts. Because we have such a vision of where we see our label we have to make sure the experts we bring in are on the same page as us and everything is works cohesively.  

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What’s the best advice you could pass onto someone who is thinking of starting a new label?   Start small, test the market and have a plan. Listen to your customers but at the same time don’t lose sight of your own vision for the label.  

Do your pieces follow trends or are you inspired by other means?   I design all the pieces by hand and I don’t set out with a trend or anything in mind. I just play around with the wax and then I get led on tangents from the shapes and textures that appear.  

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What is your favourite piece from the current collection?   My favourite piece is the confetti cuff. It’s such a statement. My best friend recently got married and all the bridesmaids wore them so I have such happy memories of the day when I look at it. That’s one of the reason I love jewellery.  It always reminds me of a time/place/person.  

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What has been your greatest ‘pinch me’ moment since launching your label in 2009?  Every time I see someone out and about wearing our jewellery is an amazing feeling.  Receiving news from our London agent that Harrods wanted to stock our collection would have to be one of the biggest highlights.

Where can CON readers buy your gorgeous pieces?  Edenborough Evans is available in boutiques world-wide and on our online shop edenboroughevans.com.    

10 QUICK ONES

  1. WHAT ARE YOU READING?  March by Sunni Overend. It’s a great summer read.
  2. FAVOURITE CITY IN THE WORLD? NYC
  3. FAVOURITE CAFE IN MELBOURNE? Little Ox
  4. THE BEST SCENT IS… Gardenia
  5. FAVOURITE COCKTAIL? Mojito
  6. BEST PURCHASE EVER MADE?  Our 12 year old Labrador, Wally
  7. EDENBOROUGH EVANS IN 3 WORDS..Fun, stylish, bold
  8. FINISH THIS SENTENCE: IN SUMMER YOU’LL FIND ME…Swimming at the beach
  9. YOUR ULTIMATE EDENBOROUGH EVANS CUSTOMER IS..Anyone who appreciates design!
  10. IN 5 YEARS EDEBOROUGH EVANS WILL BE..Kate and I love homewares so maybe adding Edenborough Evans Home to the mix.

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