My mother used to call me a bowerbird when I was a child. I was the kid who would go to the beach and come home with pockets full of treasure; pretty coloured rocks, odd shells, bits of dried seaweed, and even smooth shards of glass. I've always had a penchant for pretty and unique things, and as I grew older, my bowerbird senses turned to trinkets made of silver.
I love the sound of bangles clanging together on my wrist. I love wearing four rings on one hand or stacking three different rings on one finger. I love dangly earrings and tribal-inspired adornments, and it's why I fell in love with Meg Watson and her jewellery.
Meg's work is inspired by all things exotic, and her pieces blur bold shapes and intricate textures with a sense of softness. She's a passionate supporter of local craft herself, and she lovingly hand-makes each individual Meg Watson piece in her little Melbourne studio.
She designs for all occasions; her range might be bold and beautiful, but it's ready to be worn with an evening dress or old jeans alike. Meg recently stepped away from the studio to share more about her journey in jewellery design, and what it means to practice ethical production...
Why are you passionate about ethical jewellery?
I view jewellery, like other forms of fashion, as a piece of wearable art that allows a creative expression of oneself. The idea of that art being created in an unethical way completely robs it of its beauty and soul. For me, living in a world of mass-produced products, buying jewellery that is transparent about its materials, production processes and the individuals involved in its design and creation, adds immense emotional value to each piece. When you realise that someone, and not something, has worked blood, sweat and tears (and guts) trying to create each piece, you appreciate it at a different level than just cost. You really can feel that each piece has had an injection of love and care from human hands.
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
We now have such a strong understanding of the impact that fast fashion is having on our environment. Being involved in the fashion industry, I feel a responsibility to always review my processes to ensure I am continuing to look at ways to reduce my impact. My biggest passion for sustainability in fashion is reducing waste and knowing that I am working hard to reduce my impact on landfill. It is my driving force to make sure that my designs do not follow trends, but rather I try to create pieces that are unique and can be worn for decades. I also try my best to reduce waste by using a process that minimises offcuts, and ensures that any offcuts are reused or recycled.
Why do you do what you do?
I love to create. I really do. I used to create all the time, and then life got serious and I got a serious job, had children and devalued to the importance of allowing a creative space in your life. As corny as it sounds, once I allowed myself that time again and gained some skills and tools, it was as if it awakened the creative soul within me again and it has continued to take me to my happy place every time I am designing or creating. It’s magic. I started creating again after having my second baby; I felt that I needed something just for me. I couldn’t muster the energy to create interesting outfits beyond jeans and t-shirts and I found myself always looking for statement earrings to bring a little wow to a not-so-wow outfit. From there I got designing and creating my own earrings. There is such joy to be gained in just the creation process, but it is also beautiful when someone loves your jewellery.
How do you want people to respond to your jewellery?
First and foremost, my hope is that people will connect with my jewellery on some emotional level and that they can instantly see themselves wearing it with multiple outfits and on many occasions. All of my range is designed to be worn with everyday wear and evening wear. I want people to feel as though they are buying something that they will love for a long time. Pieces are made without following any trends, so when someone purchases them, the hope is that it will continue to bring happiness and repeated use, regardless of what is or is not 'trending'. I hope they have been bought from a place of connection rather than what is ‘on point’ that season.
Why do you think it is important to support small local artisans?
As a society, we need to be investing in beauty more to enrich our lives and supporting those amazingly talented people who are creating such beauty. It really is important to encourage and reward those pushing themselves to create new ideas, instead of simply following others.
Shop Meg Watson's range here and support passionate, creative makers.
The Fashion Advocate x