Designer Holly Simpson-Howe of Holly Howe Collections.
Holly Simpson-Howe launched her eponymous jewellery range in 2011 and makes her contemporary collections by hand in her Dunedin workshop. Her love of creating things led her to study industrial design followed by jewellery and she finds inspiration for each collection in architectural details and shapes.
We caught up with Holly to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
The latest collection is titled Echoes. It was inspired, much like a lot of my work, by a love for architecture, details and geometry. Echoes has two running themes, a more delicate geometric detailed look, Cluster Earrings and our Cluster Ring for example. The other theme being a bold, solid geometric look, using stones like Rutilated and Tourmalated Quartz to add more interest and detail into the minimal chunky cocktail rings.
What made you become a designer?
Sometimes I feel like I just ended up here. In reality I left school at 16, my parents were adamant I was to go straight into some form of study to keep me busy. Once I left school and realized doing something creative as a full time job was an option I worked my way up, finally getting into a industrial design degree. I always loved making things, it seemed like the logical step. Throughout my degree I never knew what I wanted to do at the end of it, working from one project to another and never really thinking about what direction I would take after graduating. The panic of graduating pushed me into doing some extra study. That is when I pursued jewellery, launching the business in 2011.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from so many things. I love design, architecture and fashion, but I am also inspired by people, by their attitudes and their passion for whatever it is that inspires them. Conversations with people can spark that fire within you to create, it can lift that bogged down feeling you get when there are a million things you need to do and think about.
Echo cocktail ring (left) & Cluster studs (right)
Describe your personal style and how it influences your brand?
Having a huge role in the production of Holly Howe Collections I tend to be more relaxed in what I wear at the bench. I need to be comfortable since I am sitting down making jewellery most days. I don’t do colour, black is my thing, you might get a few bits of white or grey in my outfits every now and then but that is about it. Different textures of black, draped more relaxed fitting clothing is my ultimate go to outfit for any occasion. I don’t base a lot of what I wear on trends or what is in at the time, I know what I like, what fits me and what I feel comfortable in, which then makes me as a person feel more confident. In terms of my jewellery and the brand I don’t like to create trend-based items, I want to create something to be worn daily no matter what season. Jewellery is an investment and I don’t like that idea of creating something that wont be “in” a season from now. I still produce work from my very first collection and that brings me so much happiness, the time and effort that has gone into designing those pieces still lives on and is still being appreciated. I love that.
What is your all-?time favourite purchase?
Our French bulldog Bunk, he comes to work with me everyday. He has become a huge part of our lives and most certainly the best ever purchase, not sure it gets any better than that haha.
What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A good pair of boots, the perfect black dress and a piece of Holly Howe.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
If you’re uncomfortable take it off, it will show in the way you hold yourself.
Diamond stacker ring (left) & Diamond Void ring (right)
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
On a personal level each birthday we celebrate is pretty special, it’s a great time to reflect on what has been achieved in the year. Interacting with my customers and seeing how happy they are with their purchase is incredibly humbling and brings a huge amount of happiness to me. As a business being featured twice in British Vogue was a dream come true, something I never thought could happen. Every day I try to take some time out to look around the workspace and appreciate every detail, overall my whole career has been a highlight (cheesy smile).
What can’t you live without?
My partner and my furbaby Bunk.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Too much colour, but they say, never say never.