Movers, shakers and jewellery makers

Movers, shakers and jewellery makers

Susan Driver and Holly Ryan are two jewellery designers from Queensland who are making serious waves in their industry. Hannah Doody gets to know the brains behind the brands.

By Hannah Doody | 6th October 2015

Meet: Holly Ryan, Coolum Beach, Queensland

Holly Ryan

Holly Ryan

Did you always want to be a jewellery designer?
I didn't always want to design jewellery, I always admired my mother in her studio, tap, tap, tapping away with a hammer and setting things on fire. I thought she was the coolest woman alive but I wasn't really interested in jewellery. I wanted to make clothes originally. It was in my final year studying Fine Arts, majoring in Fashion at QUT that I naturally fell into jewellery, with my mother’s help. It was fun, I was setting things on fire, I thought I was pretty cool.

How did you kickstart your brand?
With the help of my local industry. It was Thea Basiliou, owner of Brisbane boutique Blonde Venus who really inspired me to launch a label and supported me by being my first stockist.

Describe your designs?
Minimal, modern, clean, polished, timeless. Everything is stripped back to its rawest form and designed to be worn every day.

The POLA DROP II Collection by Holly Ryan

The POLA DROP II Collection by Holly Ryan

Do you have any particular rituals that you follow when designing?
Making before designing. Following my instincts and experimenting by hand rather than limiting myself or my designs to a concept or theme. When I just make stuff, with no certain direction, I feel free and excited by possibility. I believe this is when I create my best work.

Your jewellery has now been featured everywhere from the catwalks at MBFWA to Jarryd James' music video, how does it feel to have reached this level of exposure?
Insane... I feel overwhelmed right now to be honest. I've worked really hard on this label for almost four years now but everything still seems to be happening so quickly. I can't believe my huge dreams of showing at Fashion Week and selling to New York boutiques have come true. I have to have bigger dreams now.

If you weren't designing jewellery, what would we find you doing? 
I really miss making clothing, so when I feel the time is right I will launch a clothing label because designing clothing has always been my dream. I love sewing and pattern making and I can't wait to get back into it. One step at a time.

www.hollyryan.com.au

Meet: Susan Driver, Brisbane, Queensland

Did you always want to be a jewellery designer?
I always wanted to design. Art was a large part of my upbringing, then as an architect I was mentored by an architect who believed a designer was a designer, art, fashion, architecture, jewellery all inclusive. Jewellery has interested me for a long time, it is similar to architecture – it's conceptual and involves structure to create beauty and function.

How did you kickstart your brand?
After selling to friends and then friends of friends, I made the decision to go for it. I launched the website in May 2014, in the ether of all websites I realised I needed to learn about branding and brand building. Next step, I made the bigger decision to back myself financially this February by working with a PR and Communications firm.

Describe your designs?
My designs are contemporary and intuitive.

The 'Bloom' Collection by Susan Driver

The 'Bloom' Collection by Susan Driver

What inspires you?
People, Art, Architecture, Travel, sometimes you don’t realise how you have been inspired until a concept unfolds and grows into something bigger.

Do you have any particular rituals that you follow when designing?
I prefer quiet or music, I try to find a period of time that I can focus, with two gorgeous boys this may involve heading to the beach by myself. I am developing ideas in my head all the time so when there is the opportunity to sit down and develop that it is easier find a zone and follow the design as far as possible.

If you weren't designing jewellery, what would we find you doing?
I might still be involved in architecture, or painting or some other form of design. To be honest I haven’t thought about it. This is where my heart is so this is what I do.

If you could have anyone in the world wear your designs, who would it be?
All women that represent strength, confidence and style. Australian Icons are Delta Goodrem, Jesinta Campbell, Elle MacPherson, and Naomi Watts. Globally, Garance Dore, Olivia Palermo, Emma Stone.

www.susandriver.com.au

THE FASHION ISSUE

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Article by Hannah Doody

Hannah is a former journalist at Style Magazines. When she is not exploring new parts of the world, you will find her at music festivals, or on her eternal quest for the best breakfast in Brisbane.

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