What I Know About Style

Julia Cameron


Jewellery designer Julia Cameron on staying ahead of the trends and her great, great, great grandmother's eccentric, artisitic influence

Is your Portobello location handy for picking up items and ideas, or do you usually travel further?

I started out in vintage jewellery so Portobello market was great for sourcing interesting art deco and chunky jewellery, interesting vintage pieces and ’70s items.

Also auctions across the country – there are some great ones in Warwickshire. I spent a lot of time in India as a teenager, spending summers with a friend there, so my aesthetic was influenced heavily. I like to get things engraved there, as it’s so much cheaper. I also like to bring back silver, crystals, amethyst, and other grounding stones such as vanadite.

You have successfully created your own design label at a young age – what advice would you give to those looking to achieve similar goals?

Take risks, have a vision – self-belief is imperative. A vision is more important than funds, but you need to be resourceful. I’ve utilised all avenues to get help from other creative friends, it’s important to build reciprocal relationships. This was particularly useful for shooting the range on a shoestring budget. I met a photographer who shot my look-book at an exhibition of my great, great, great grandmother’s photography at the V&A. I street-cast models for the lookbook and site; shot the campaigns in a churchyard in Primrose Hill; a friend did the hair to build up her portfolio as a session stylist, and my flatmate did the makeup. Two of the models I cast have since been signed!

What inspired the Greek Goddess theme in your headpieces collection?

My aesthetic has always been quite Grecian and headpieces have always had a Grecian Goddess feel. I love flowing togas and gowns and the regal feeling.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I would say very eclectic, colourful, rich, with deep regal tones. I like layering and chunky strong metals juxtaposed with flowing fabrics. A ’70s bohemian vibe. Geisha kimonos and Indian kaftans. I’ve always been into vintage before it was ‘in’.  I used to dress up and refurbish clothes with my sister as a child.

How is your work influenced by your great, great, great grandmother, Julia Margaret Cameron?

I feel an affinity to her eccentric, artistic nature. She was very powerful, spiritual; a trailblazer. She used to adorn her models in headpieces with pre-Raphaelite flowers in their hair. She used to bring amazing pieces back from India, as she was born in India in the colonial era. I imagine them having amazing parties, running around the Isle of Wight on opium. She was very bossy and would yell at her subjects to sit still as the shutter speed was so slow. She first donated 300 of her images to the V&A, and is responsible for the photo of Darwin on our modern £10 notes.

Do you collect anything?

Clothes and vintage pieces, ’80s Escada, Yves Saint Laurent, bold print ’80s jackets.

How do fashion trends influence your jewellery designs?

I’ve been wearing and making headpieces way before they had their moment, but now even Dolce & Gabbanna have jeweled tiaras and brocade headpieces. I like to think I get heed of things before they happen. My personal style isn’t too trend-driven as it hasn’t really changed in years.

You’re planning to expand your design label into further jewellery collections – any hints of what’s to come?

I want to create a series of armlets with super-fine draped chains and rings, using the delicate chains I use in the headpieces. Some will be infused with gemstones.

Who is your typical customer?

I would say that my pieces transcend age etc. as there is quite a wide variety of styles. I would say the bridal market is target as I have done quite a few wedding commissions. Having said that, I have sold to girls from age 13 to 60 so there’s not really a typical customer.

Bespoke and ready-to-wear pieces are available in Wolf & Badger; www.julia-cameron.com

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