London, Clerkenwell 11:00
We got out of the tube, on our way for the interview. We crossed a few blocks and reached our destination. All excited, we shared a look. We have to do it. 😉 So I pressed the intercom button. Ding-dong. We heard a nice male voice with a melodious British accent. Two assistants let us in to a beautiful showroom. We had a coffee. Looked at the jewelry, which we could actually touch (not just with a heart on Instagram 😉 ) The Assistants told us about each collection. And we enjoyed ourselves, looking at amazing jewelry, trying it on, feeling it and taking photos. All of this while waiting for the one and only…
Ladies and gentlemen, we present you the interview with Hannah Martin, a British jewelry designer.
How did it all start? What’s the story behind your career & the brand?
It is strange, but I never imagined myself as a jewelry designer as I grew up. From a very young age however, I knew I wanted to go to Art School – and always believed I would become a sculptor.
I came to London when I was 17 as I had got a place at the prestigious Central St Martins School of Art. It was here, during what is known as a ‘Foundation Year’ that I had my first experience of designing and making jewelry, and I fell in love. It seemed to me the perfect combination of my love of sculpture and craftsmanship but also the practicality and problem-solving that is needed to be a good designer.
I went on to study a degree in Jewelry Design also at Central St Martins.
I started the brand almost immediately on leaving college – it felt like the most natural thing to do. I wanted to create luxury, fine jewelry, made in London, but with a style edge that was relevant to my own taste.
We’d like to ask about your inspirations. Could you tell us something more about the designing process? Is it true that you come up with a specific type of a man who serves as the main inspiration for the collection?
I work in a very narrative way when I design. The first thing I do is to develop a ‘muse’. This is a character I build up through visual research, usually inspired from anything that is exciting me at the moment. I constantly research – through films, music, books, art, anything that surrounds me and excites me really. Once the seed of an idea has begun, this muse character starts to form. The character is always male, and I develop a whole world around him – it is from this that I start to design.
I started working this way in college, it was the easiest way for me to get over the ‘blank page syndrome’ when faced with starting a collection from scratch. The muse at the center of the story holds my whole design process together.
In Poland we say that women desire more. Your jewelry is unisex; would you say that your customers are mostly male or female?
It is hard to say really. Some of our pieces are definitely more popular with women, and we have some that are more popular with men. I’d say our client base is split about 60/40 roughly women to men. We try not to differentiate between the two in anyway. I always believe that if you like a piece of jewelry then it is for you – whatever sex you happen to be.
Would you agree that jewelry is also a lifestyle? What kind of jewelry do you wear on the daily basis?
Jewelry is without doubt a lifestyle! Of course, as a designer it is all-consuming. But I know that the same is true for many of our clients and collectors. My style in clothing tends to be strong, sculptural black pieces, slightly androgynous but with strength and elegance.
As far as jewelry goes I wear very big gold! The bigger the better for me – and I tend to wear rings as my piece of choice. I wear at least three large gold rings, often more. I also wear earrings, but prefer to wear a number of smaller gold earrings layered in my right ear, rather than long dangling ones. I’ve worn earrings on just one side since I was very young, and it has become a bit of a personal style signifier for me.
How often do you create new collections?
We usually release a new fine jewelry collection every year to 18 months. Although we are never on a strict schedule. We prefer to spend the time getting it right, perfecting the craftsmanship as well as the design, than launch it before we are ready.
Where can we find your jewelry? (boutiques/online)
The best place to find all the collections in full is our online store – www.hannahmartinlondon.com, or in our London showrooms in Clerkenwell. We love working directly with our clients, and getting to know each one personally, so we limit the partners we work with to achieve this. We work with 1stDibs.com as our online partner, an amazing website selling both modern and antique collectors pieces from around the world. Our retail store partner is Dover Street Market in London, New York and Tokyo.
Interview by: Agata Jankowiak
Photos by: Katarzyna Jankowiak