When we first stumbled upon Holly Ryan’s signature designs it was love at first sight! Handmade locally, her eponymous label is a medley of contemporary yet timeless pieces, with a focus on simplicity and wearability. It’s the type of jewellery you want to wear everyday.
With silversmithing running through her veins (both her parents are silversmiths) it seems Holly’s star is continually on the rise. She recently collaborated with Wrangler Australia on a range of jewellery and denim for General Pants, and has created pieces for the Camilla and Marc and Jamie Ashkar MBFF runway shows.
We took two minutes with the ultra-talented Holly Ryan to chat work, life and what’s next on the horizon.
TUL: Your parents are both silversmiths, was it important to you to follow in their footsteps?
Holly: It was never my plan to become a jeweller, but it was almost always my plan to become a designer and this was inspired by my parents creative lifestyle. It wasn’t until I finished my bachelor degree in Fashion Design at QUT, where I focused on pattern making and sewing that I decided to follow in their footsteps.
TUL: How did your upbringing influence where you are now?
Holly: In every way possible. A large part was when my parents relocated our family to Britain when my brother and I were in primary school. We travelled quite a bit around Europe and we attended school in Scotland. Experiencing other cultures at such a young age gave me the confidence to be authentic and to take risks.
TUL: How do you approach each new collection?
Holly: Sometimes I have an exact shape, which I just can’t get out of my head, or I am obsessing over a material I have wanted to experiment with but haven’t had the chance. I don’t really sketch much; I just jump in and make things until it works.
TUL: Where do your ideas evolve from?
Holly: I tend to create before focussing in on an idea. I will make something with my hands and then once it is finished I am able to see a concept that has naturally evolved out of the pieces I have created. My university lecturers always hated that about me, always working towards a concept rather than from one.
TUL: Tell us about your design style. What makes your collections unique?
Holly: I don’t like anything to be overly fussy or too complex visually. I spend a lot of time deleting, stripping away at a design until all that is left is the bare essentials. I want my pieces to be timeless and wearable, suitable for any occasion.
TUL: What are the upcoming trends in jewellery?
Holly: Personally I think, that because there has been such a focus on fine jewellery these past two seasons, we will see a return to strong, bold shapes next season. Statement jewellery for AW15.
TUL: What materials and techniques do you favour?
Holly: I love sterling silver and white gold. I love freshwater pearls, opals and tiny diamonds. Technique wise, anything that doesn’t involve hours of sanding…. The blisters!
TUL: Do you have a most treasured piece that you’ve created?
Holly: The bangles from my new AW15 collection.
TUL: Can you tell us a bit about your Wrangler collaboration?
Holly: I love the simplicity of 70’s fashion. About 70% of my wardrobe is made up of denim and to have the opportunity to co-design a range of denim with an iconic brand such as Wrangler, has been a dream come true.
TUL: What type of woman do you have in mind when designing the collections?
Holly: She is intelligent, witty, driven and natural.
TUL: Who are your favourite style icons?
Holly: Daria Werbowy, Jane Birkin and Chloë Sevigny.
TUL: What’s next on the horizon?
Holly: I really want to go back to New York. I would love to show in a fine jewellery trade show over there and begin working towards expanding the brand internationally.
Image credit: Holly Ryan