Professional Jeweller meets the graduate turned fashion favourite.
Daisy Knights graduated from London’s infamous design university Central St Martins less than two years ago but already she has already achievement milestones in her career that would take most other jewellery designers several years to achieve.
Since completing her studies Knights has set up her own idyllic studio in the Cotswolds, won the Bright Young Gems award at International Jewellery London (IJL), been snapped up by influential jewellery boutiques such as Astley Clarke and was last year named as a rising talent to watch in the NexGems category of Professional Jeweller’s Hot 100.
Knights is a carefree 23-year-old who loves surfing in Cornwall, spending time with her family and relaxing with friends in her local pub in Gloucestershire, and she uses these everyday passions to create jewellery inspired by her personal life. Her Antonia collection of shell rings are, for example, the result of hours spent scouring the beach for the perfect shell, while Knights pays compliments to her loved ones by naming each of her collections after friends and family.
Beyond being in the right place at the right time, Knights’ laid-back demeanour and nous for simple, wearable jewellery has landed her a celebrity following from trendsetters including London It-girl Alexa Chung, singer Rihanna and model Daisy Lowe. Whether her layered chain necklaces with little skulls, studs and bows or her take on the friendship bracelet trend made from colourful waxed ropes similar to those used in sailing, Knights has created a collection of jewellery tailored to the incomes and trend-driven fashions of the young, fun and creatively minded.
With so much done and dusted in the first two years of her career, Knights’ is well on her way to conquering the world of fashion jewellery, and so we thought she would be the perfect fit for the first of our Best of British interviews. Read on to find out more about the personality behind the designs.
Professional Jeweller: What is your design philosophy and what inspires you as a designer?
Daisy Knights: My inspiration comes from all over, and those things I find while out and about. Nature is always a big inspiration for me, as are the future trends I’m currently picking up.
PJ: What kind of trends are currently influencing your work?
DK: The 70’s trend which is popular right now – big flared trousers, wide brimmed hats, muted shades and golds. Very classic. I’m also feeling a little nautical this season so might play about with that theme.
PJ: Are you launching any new collections this year?
DK: I am, yes! The main ones are still top secret and won’t be unveiled until IJL in September, so you will have to wait and see! I’ve also just finished designing a collection inspired by my friend and actress Tallulah Harlech, which will feature a simple moon motif but a bit more colour. I’m going to keep up my signature look with an over-the-finger moon ring.
PJ: What else have you been busy with in the last few months?
DK: I have just designed a collection for fashion retailer Urban Outfitters which will only be available in selected stores in a special designer section alongside jewellery by Bjørg, Tatty Devine and Erickson Beamon. The new collection is a play on the tiny skulls of my Kim collection, with double skull rings and long chain necklaces. I’m excited as my designs will only be in Urban Outfitters’ London stores at Oxford Circus, Covent Garden and Spitalfields.
PJ: What do you think makes British jewellery designers stand out from the crowd?
DK: The great thing about British design is that it’s always original and we work to push boundaries while still creating beautiful, wearable jewellery.
PJ: You’ve seen a number of celebrities wear your jewellery – has that helped sales?
DK: If I’m honest I value anyone wearing my jewellery, but of course it is nice that some seriously stylish ladies like Alexa Chung, Fearne Cotton and Rhianna have been seen wearing my designs. It does help with sales too, as people want to emulate their style.
PJ: Do you feel making your jewellery within Britain adds value?
DK: Definitely. Every single piece is made entirely in the UK, I used to make everything myself but now with orders to fulfil I’ve got a little more help from some super talented craftsmen. I love Britain and would rather keep everything made here rather than paying less to have it all done abroad.
PJ: How has taking part in IJL’s Bright Young Gems and the British Jewellers’ Association KickStart scheme helped your business?
DK: They are great launch pads for new designers and it’s great to have a presence at IJL. I’ve shown alongside designers including Jessica De Lotz and Akong London, and I am so grateful that I was picked to be part of both projects. This year I will have a stand of my own which I’m really looking forward to!
PJ: Will showing alone at IJL be a milestone for your business?
DK: Yes, I am so excited about it. I want people to stop at the stand and say hello so I’m telling everyone “Make sure you come visit me!”
PJ: Looking back at the past year, what have been the highlights?
DK: Getting engaged! My boyfriend proposed with a stunning art deco diamond ring that has been in his family for generations. We are getting married in August, so I will be a married woman at IJL this year! Also, I met Alexa [Chung] for the first time and she kept saying how much she loves my jewellery, and then Kate Moss ordered a ring. Another big highlight was being stocked through my favourite fashion website Net-a-Porter.
PJ: As a small but growing business, what are the hardest challenges you face?
DK: There are several, but for my style of jewellery and the way in which I work, being seen as an accessible fashionable jewellery brand rather than a small craft jeweller means a lot to me.