Getting to know Maria Black + Fushion Program Details
Name: Maria Black Jewellery
Danish-Irish designer Maria Black launched her eponymous Copenhagen-based brand in London, in 2010. Driven by the impossible, she has proven that she is capable of reinventing herself, which is highly reflected in her collections.
Her inspiration derives from her personal life and feelings, which she translates into stories of celebration or her own historic account of reality. Built on a passion for precious metals and a fashion-forward approach to conceptual jewellery design, Black’s curated universe of jewellery carries a deep cohesion between the collections. This allows you to combine the pieces in your own way and reinterpret how to wear jewellery.
From August 29th to August 30th, Maria Black Oslo will offer customers a free piercing booked through this link: https://mariablackjewellery.gettimely.com/book
-customers must comment “Fushion” in booking
*jewelry cost not included
Maria Black Flagship Store
Prinsens Gate 12
Open from 10:00 - 18:00
What is fashion?
Fashion is what you can get away with. I read that once and it made me laugh out loud, cause it’s sort of true. What makes good fashion is a different matter though. In order to be successful with your creation you need to offer something that is distinctive and gives people the feels. Blandness will not last you in the long run.
Describe your personality
Ha! That’s a tricky question to answer without sounding like a tinder profile bio. I will say I’m an extreme extrovert with a penchant for intermittent hermitism. I’m a do’er, but I also find myself in careless situations with unfortunate people sometimes because I’m a little too quick. Mostly it’s good though. I love meeting people and I love a good party. That’s my release and inspiration.
How did you get your start with fashion?
I started making jewellery by a coincidence really. I was living in Ibiza and ended up working for various jewellers there. One was selling high end gold at Bambuddha Grove and the other was at Las Dalias Market selling Indian silver jewellery. After that I caught the bug and wanted to make my own, so I decided to move back to Copenhagen to become a goldsmith. I wanted to be able to understand and make everything from scratch. I wanted to create jewellery for a new generation and the world of fashion was more susceptible to that than the traditional jewellery world.
Where do you gather inspiration?
I find inspiration in all aspects of my day. We are surrounded by design, shapes and forms and if you apply skill and imagination to that, you have endless inspiration. For me I look to other crafts and art; paintings, sculptures, ceramics or a design movement. But I have also based designs on a key or the number 8.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Love and life. Simple as that, apart from the fact that those 2 are very complicated.
Tell us about a moment in your career that really meant something to you?
There have been so many moments at this point I can hardly choose one over the other but it was truly amazing to see our MOM ring on the cover of PAPER magazine. It was the most talked about cover in 2018 as it was Christina Aguilera with ‘no makeup’. It was just a beautiful picture and best exposure ever. That’s a more public high, mostly I’m proud when I have finally cracked some design or production problem I’ve had and when my team goes the extra mile. It’s not possible to reach where I am without a great team and to me it’s the little everyday victories I live for.
Do you have a mission with your design?
When I started my brand in 2010, jewellery was so stale and predictable. I wanted to design for a new generation. I went in and did a lot of things not seen before, challenged design, how to sell it, how to style it and how to brand it. Today there are a ton of truly amazing jewellery brands, so I turned my attention to gold jewellery for piercings, it is a nieche and I had to relearn everything I thought I knew. I don’t like feeling like a needle in a haystack and I love a challenge. I want to offer something unique in this copy paste world so me team and I can be proud, that is my mission.
What is the process like for you when creating?
I start by transferring a feeling onto my mood board. Shapes, colors, paintings, pottery… all sorts of stuff. The feeling can be from a holiday in Italy to the vibe I get in the market place in East London. Then I start sketching, a lot! I have at least 25 designs for each one I end up using. But sometimes I can use them a year or two later. From there we start sampling, more gets rejected, I add something else, because at this point the collection takes on a life of its own. I can end up somewhere completely different than the starting point, but it’s important to go with the flow. If you force it out, it always ends up a disaster. The process never stops.
What is the future for fashion in your opinion?
I feel very fortunate not to be part of fast fashion, because it’s not sustainable, it exploits people and it kills our planet. I’m extremely proud of Denmark taking a serious stand for sustainable fashion. Silver and gold is already 60% recycled. We re-use everysingle gram, but we can do more in the jewellery sector to move more production into a recyclable loop. We need to slow down and make some drastic changes. I can see a world where plastic jewellery and non recyclable metals are banned. I can also see a total ban on mining stones. We use what we have. Diamonds mined from the earth is traded for cultured diamonds. There is a lot we can do!
What was your childhood dream job?
I didn’t know. I never knew what I wanted to be, like the other kids. I wasn’t aware that you could make a living from being creative. I bounced around in many jobs after Gymnasium for years. I always thought I was wasting my time, but later I have realized I learned valuable lessons in all of them. I was 26 before I found my calling.
What was the first thing you ever created and how do you feel about it now?
God! The designs I did the first 2 years of studying were awful. But like with everything you need to practice to become good at something. We can’t all be Mozart. The first design that I was truly proud off, was the monocle earring which I did in my 3rd year. It’s strong but delicate at the same time and became the first piece in my first collection. I still love it and It’s still going 10 years later!
How was your exposure to fashion and design growing up?
Clothing was for keeping warm in my home. I come from a hard working family who fought to make ends meet, so fashion was a luxury we couldn’t afford. It was a private journey for me to discover design and fashion, and I am eternally grateful that I had that journey. Nobody to tell me what I should like, I could make up my own mind and enjoy my discoveries.
Who were your early influences?
I has the good fortune to meet John Loring (legendary head director emeritus for Tiffany & Co) in my second year studying to become a goldsmith. He was an awe inspiring force of nature and he got me hooked on Hans Hansen, Paloma Picasso and Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe. Geometry was my main thing when I started. Circles, pyramids and lines. I never received formal training as a designer, so the creative process was also something I had to learn on my own. I for sure made a lot of mistakes, still do, but I am proud of my journey.
Did you assist?
Being an apprentice is sort of assisting I suppose, that’s how I learned the craft. As soon as I graduated I wanted to do my own thing.
Do you have a secret project?
Yes, and if I told you it wouldn’t be secret anymore lol.
What designer and their works never tire you?
Fashion is forever changing so I am more drawn to a style than a particular designer. But art is a different matter. I draw endless inspiration from Picasso, Miro, Brancusi, Braque, Paul Klee, ManRay, Max Ernst and 100’s more.
What harsh truths do you prefer to ignore?
That I am hopeless with computers. I have zero skills there and still do all drawings and specs by hand. CAD is the future of jewellery making, but I want to throw my computer out the window at the slightest obstacle. I’ve dubbed it tech rage.
Does fashion hurt society in any way?
Fashion can very exclusive. We still need to work very hard to get away from the skinny white girl image. We are all different sizes, colours and looks and fashion needs to celebrate that. It’s an archaic system that needs to be broken down so we inspire people instead of giving them anxhiety.
What do you contribute back to society?
I try to cultivate and convey an openness to gender, creed and colour. It’s so so very important that we as humans are acceptable and open towards our differences. We strive to do that and we will do better.
How replaceable are you?
First time anyone has ever asked me that. It’s a very humbling question, I believe I’m replaceable. In a sense I feel we all are, that is the nature of living and dying. My ideas for this generation and the next have to be replaced by fresh blood sooner or later.
How do you define consciousness?
A constant state of observation and processing.
Has social media been positive or negative for our society? Why?
The negative has far outweighed the positive. It’s not just affecting the self esteem of a whole generation, but data harvesting based on our personalities is now threatening the very fabric of our society. Large scale personalized marketing will tell you how to feel, think and behave. It’s effing scary!.
What does the fusion of fashion and art mean to you in regard to your work?
Without art, fashion would be pointless. Art has tought me more about design than anything else so I try to think of my designs as mini sculptures. Someone else can judge that assumption but to me that’s what they are.
What’s the one question we haven’t asked but should have?
I’m just eternally grateful you guys didn’t ask me what my favourite beauty product is…. Who gives a s…