Interview with Rachel Sloane

You spent several years as the womenswear designer for Huffer. What made you decide to make the jump to jewellery design, and starting your own label?
Working for Huffer was a great time for me. I designed 5 ranges for them over 2 years and worked with some genius people. After leaving Huffer, I worked at Shortland Street in the wardrobe department, and after that I decided that it was time to start my own venture. Around this time, I met a very influential Alexander Bunnett, and together we started brain storming around starting a jewellery brand. We noticed there was a gap in the market for something more beautiful, timeless and quality as apposed to your grunge jewellery that is saturating the market as present. After researching our avenues Naveya & Sloane began to take shape to what is now a successfully growing jewellery brand. I love timeless elegance and hope that New Zealand woman will find a refreshing change in my designs and style from what you will currently find in the market.

What is it about jewellery design that you love, and how does it differ from designing clothes?
There is a beautiful process involved in designing and manufacturing Jewellery. The industry has that old world feel to it being immersed in heritage and tradition. There is a great deal of work involved in crafting a single piece of Jewellery, from the initial sketch to the carving of the wax, to setting the final gemstones. This amazingly involved process makes it even more appealing to work with as it makes the end product that much more precious. I also love the challenges of designing on such an intricate scale. You are working within the tiniest of millimeters to create something proportionally correct, comfortable and quality.

What inspired your debut collection, and what inspires you in general?
Our debut collection is inspired by a combination of historical and romantic concepts. From stained glass windows, to tulip vines, to love and raw emotion. In general I am inspired by antique jewellery, history, interiors, colour, film, costumes, art, the list goes on.

Your jewellery range focuses on pieces that are special and unique, but designed to be worn every day. How important do you think it is for women to bring a little bit of beauty and luxury into their everyday wardrobe?
What woman doesn’t love to wear beautiful, quality jewellery? There are loads of clothing brands offering fashion jewellery and I passionately believe that woman need the option to buy beautiful, luxury jewellery which can be worn as a part of their everyday wardrobe. It’s like that old saying: “why only use your fine china for special occasions when you can enjoy them everyday?” Woman need to feel beautiful and special on a daily basis and Naveya & Sloane offers timeless, quality jewellery that can accompany today and tomorrows fashion trends.

What is your favourite piece from the collection?
I am a little bit obsessed with the Killed by Kisses pendant. The smokey quartz stone is encased in beautifully plaited silver and gold, symbolising passion, energy and raw emotion.

What has the process of launching your own label been like, and what are some challenges you have faced in building your brand?
It has been an incredible journey. There has been an immense amount of hard work involved over the past 18 months. Being a young business, we have had to be very careful with cashflow as it is the blood of your business. The other major challenge is brand awareness. Spreading the word to New Zealand women about the Naveya and Sloane story and passion, which is to offer something more elegant than your current grunge trends in New Zealand. To watch Naveya & Sloane go from an idea in my head to what is now a successful jewellery business has been amazing.

Which Kiwi designers do you admire, and do you have a favourite NZ label?
I have a lot of respect for Kathryn Wilson Shoes, Karen Walker, Ruby and World. I admire their design and branding and it is exciting to watch New Zealand Fashion designers go  boom!  I also love Ingrid Starnes who has romantic vintage-feeling designs using quality fabrics.

Interview by Natalie Cosgrove.

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