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Thursday, 6 September 2018 8:59:25 AM Australia/Sydney
NAJO’s founder on the evolution of style
We sat down with NAJO founder Jo Tory to snatch her thoughts on the role that style plays in personal satisfaction, self identity and everyday life. Jo Tory founder of Najo shares her views and secrets on style. With a thriving Australian business now running for 30 years. Jo explains what and how style plays a part in her own life and how it has affected her business throughout the years.
Q- Jo, as a designer, creative and founder in the grand scheme of things regarding personal taste/fashion/ likes and dislikes/ - what is style?
Style is the inner self expressing itself to the outer world. It does not rely on fashion and often can be quite the opposite. It has a very elusive quality that cannot be pinpointed. Style is a learning process as it evolves and changes over the years. Ultimately it’s an innate quality that surpasses fashionable trends. It is your own visual direction. You can’t buy style.
Q- It’s a word that gets bandied about a lot, but as a designer, creative and brand founder, can you give us your definition of ‘style’?
Style is the inner self expressing itself to the outer world. It’s a clichéd definition I know, but style doesn’t rely on fashion and more often swings in the opposite direction, away from trends and imitation. Personal style is about much more than visual representations. It’s imbued with your fundamental value system and born from a complex network of individual experiences, personal beliefs and mantras. Even your heredity feeds into your style. For these reasons, style is not only supremely unique but elusive. It’s a dynamic process, a state of being that evolves over time.Above all, it’s impossible to hijack, steal, copy, buy or sell authentic style.
Q- Where does your personal style come from?
Growing up in a creative household gave me an inherent interest in aesthetics. I was always poring over books of design in whatever genre. Travel opened my eyes to design direction that influenced me. I have always gravitated towards simplicity and harmony in design, this type of elegance appeals to me. Over the years my outlook has developed and refined whether it be in clothing, jewellery or furniture, but I will always love clean, uncluttered lines, this is my style.
Q- The ultimate design question is it form over function or function over form?
We all love exquisite things and beautifully designed pieces whether it be jewellery, fashion, architecture, furniture or cutlery. There are some designs that are destined to be a work of art and to be viewed only. I believe good design is about both form and function. A design must always have beauty and practicality at its core. As a designer/creative this is key for me and my team at Najo.
Q- What is the relationship between your personal style and your home?
I think the best homes reflect our inner selves – i.e. our ‘style’. Our values, experiences, memories and sense of beauty can all be identified in the choices we make. My home is full of examples of my love for art, colour, travel and global influences, as well as clean, modernist design.
Q- How else is NAJO style evolving?
Najo will never waiver from the clean, simple design direction that has been inherent since its inception. That fundamental aesthetic can be seen in our Signature Collection and these pieces are NAJO to the core. However, with our seasonal and capsule collections, we can have some fun by being more playful and experimental with our designs, create themes that are not necessarily the absolute Najo language but will always retain a harmonious aesthetic. This is how Najo evolves stylistically, we will never deviate from our vision but we do have room for flexibility and creative evolution.
Q- What about the relationship between your personal style and the signature NAJO style?
NAJO will never waiver from the clean, simple design direction that has been inherent since its inception. This fundamental aesthetic can be seen in our Signature Collection and these pieces are NAJO to the core.However, with our seasonal and capsule collections we have some fun by being more playful and experimental with our designs, creating themes that are not necessarily the absolute NAJO language, but will always retain a harmonious aesthetic.
This is how NAJO evolves stylistically as a brand – we will never deviate from our vision, but we do have room for flexibility and creative evolution.
Friday, 20 July 2018 8:14:50 AM Australia/Sydney
What is oxidised silver jewellery? A popular NAJO technique explained
But what exactly is oxidised silver? And what is its place in jewellery design?
We’re always hearing about ‘natural anti-oxidants’ in foods, and that’s usually deemed a good thing. Such as the lemon juice that keeps an avocado from turning brown. Or the snack of fresh blueberries that can help to curb disease-causing oxidation in our bodies.
Sterling silver, even of the most superb quality, will always be subject to natural oxidisation. (Unless of course it’s been treated with an anti-tarnish coating.) All uncoated sterling silver jewellery will eventually tarnish with wear – it’s certainly not a sign of poor quality. A little polish is all that’s usually required to bring it back to its perfectly bright white sheen.
What causes silver to tarnish/oxidise?
Despite how it sounds, ‘oxidisation’ in sterling silver terms has nothing to do with oxygen – sulphide is the culprit here. The small amount of it present in the air reacts with the 7.5% non-silver metal (usually copper) that’s found in 925 sterling silver (i.e. 92.5% pure silver). This reaction is what creates the surface effect called oxidisation. (Pure 100% silver, meanwhile, may not tarnish, but it is far too soft to use for jewellery or cutlery or pin dishes. More about what makes sterling silver so sterling here.)
Embracing nature’s way
Sometimes, for aesthetic reasons, a little oxidisation is welcome. There are plenty of DIY suggestions online for oxidising your own silver jewellery, such as by throwing it in a sealed bag of chopped hardboiled egg (really!) and letting the natural sulphides work their charm.
At NAJO, our blackening or oxidising method may forgo the eggy residue (thankfully!), but the sentiment is much the same.
Our designers use oxidised silver like a shadow that throws the polished silver beadwork into sharp relief, accentuating the intricacy of the pattern, as seen in the new Nightfall Ring.
Oxidising silver can also add dimension and character. It can help to echo antique or vintage jewellery, such as the early-20th-century Mexican sterling silver designs drawn from folk traditions and nature which are such a rich source of inspiration for us at NAJO.
On a deeper level, embracing the natural tendency of sterling silver to oxidise reflects the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. Roughly translated, the ‘wabi’ refers to the simplicity of natural beauty, and ‘sabi’, the perfectly imperfect patina that comes with age.
Interior decors addicts have devoted countless Pinterest pages to the beauty of tarnished silverware displayed en masse, the different colours and matte textures of the oxidised silver collections bringing a one-of-a-kind pattern and texture to a room.
Similarly, NAJO’s oxidised sterling silver jewellery evokes both the exclusivity of a vintage or antique find and the moody drama of a modern masterpiece.
By playing with the natural colour and sheen of sterling silver through oxidisation, NAJO has introduced a fresh, modern approach to ‘two-tone jewellery’. Instead of sterling silver paired with yellow or rose gold plate, this is highly polished, bright white silver paired with the dark, matte black of oxidised silver, a yin-and-yang contrast beautifully realised in our new Founder Earring, Necklace and Ring.
For more stunning oxidised sterling silver designs from our latest La Isla SS19 collection, don’t miss the brand new Mobo Hoop Earring, Shia Hinged Bangle and Big Boa Bangle.
Friday, 1 June 2018 9:45:01 AM Australia/Sydney
Your first look: La Isla SS19
NAJO’s upcoming collection inspiration comes from the runway & nature
Let’s set the scene. You wake up, the warmth and brightness of the sun against your eyelids. You hear the breeze through the palms, smell the saltwater on your skin.
Welcome to La Isla SS19.
For NAJO’s Spring Summer 2019 collection, we’ve taken our visual cues from an exotic tropical island getaway. The mood is sultry, seductive. The beauty is clichéd in its unspoilt perfection: sparkling aqua waters, golden textured landscapes that blush to the deepest pink on dusk’s approach.
The island – La Isla – holds mysteries and promises treasured luxuries. The mysteries of deep water and lush greenery translate in jewellery terms to luminous turquoise, blue agate, moonstone, amazonite, rose quartz, amethyst. Those summer luxuries of long uninterrupted days and sun-kissed skin are captured in precious sterling silver and yellow gold plate in both polished and beaten finishes.
Our new island theme echoes the fashion designs by two champions of the runways for the Spring/Summer 18 Haute Couture shows: Schiaparelli, representing the brilliance of the old guard, and Iris van Herpen, an exemplar of newness and technological mastery.
Schiaparelli’s latest haute couture show, in Paris’s iconic Place Vendôme, explores the idea of a luxury getaway via fluid, delicate silhouettes layered with structured, heavily embellished jackets. Patterns are both naturalistic and geometric – almost Aztec-inspired in warm, earthy colours. The espadrille – that ultimate island accessory – is a mainstay.
In her extraordinary show “Ludi Naturae”, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen takes a more scientific approach to the island theme with sculptural silhouettes inspired by a bird’s-eye view of natural land formations. In an earth-like palette of muted yellows and greens, greys and blacks, these intricately crafted designs are triumphs of innovation, expressing movement and pattern in entirely new ways.
With Founder Jo Tory taking the creative helm preview the back stage process of the SS19 La Isla Campaign shoot. A beautiful collaboration of strong creative women coming together to produce a new visual language for Spring/Summer.
“This season has been about capturing the sumptuous nature of summer, we want the jewellery to evoke the spirit of a retreat - a luxe getaway and basking in golden hues. Key gemstones being Amazonite and Moonstone, with sun-drenched gold pieces and tribalesque oxidized silver. Runaway to the paradise with us and fall in with La Isla SS19."
Meet Emma, our amazing model who is our muse and embodies the spirit for La Isla, the shoot was shot by the wonderful Ana and the makeup by the artistic Jacyln.
Now you’ve had a taste of island life, interpreted through contemporary fashion and design, are you ready for La Isla SS19?