Hot 100 2013: Katie Rowland

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Inspired by Princess Diana, worn by Nicole Scherzinger.

By Steve Spear

It has been three years since we featured Katie Rowland as a NexGem in the debut Hot 100 list and now she can definitely consider herself a fully qualified gem of a designer. A Trendsetter in fact.

With a stockist list that reads like a printout of global style heavyweights, you can now buy yourself a piece of Katie’s designs in Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, the Shop at Bluebird and Fenwick Bond Street in the UK, as well as at international cool hunting sites like Opening Ceremony and Isetan in Japan, Christine in Australia, Secret Location in Canada and plenty more. She has also launched her own transactional website and created a diffusion line Woman by Katie Rowland, which was immediately picked up by Amazon.

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How does she feel the last few years have gone then? “So much has happened since then. The business has just zoomed forward, which is amazing. I’ve shot with Rankin, designed pieces for several films and the pieces have been worn by the likes of Nicole Scherzinger to Natalie Dormer and Laura Whitmore. It has been hugely exciting times and always amazing to see pieces that you have designed on celebrities. It is actually quite surreal, particularly when Nicole starts quoting how much she loves Katie Rowland jewellery.”

Katie is keeping elevated company and is without doubt a proper designer name now. Yet she still gets most excited about recognition from an industry that she loves, saying her re-entry to the Hot 100 is one of her proudest moments, particularly as it aligns her to a wave of young females powering though the trade. However you look at it, she has come a long way from her Stockport roots.

“There wasn’t much fashion where I grew up, apart from Jeff Banks and Caryn Franklin on The Clothes Show and Princess Diana on the TV.” She says Di was her childhood icon and she used to spend hours designing dresses and crowns for her, but that was pretty much the extent of her fashion knowledge. “I don’t think I had heard of Vogue until my late teens. That naiveté has played an important part in the way I look at fashion and jewellery, as well as my background in graphic design and art. I didn’t take the traditional route into the industry and so my approach and style is very different. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The result of her offbeat route into design has been to make her a playful and sometimes provocative designer with her knuckleduster and talon earrings both her best-known pieces and her personal favourites. “I always try to push the boundaries with designs and play around with the ideas of enhancing and highlighting areas of the female form through jewellery, having taken inspiration from a powerful and seductive female creature from myth or literature. I think that is why our customers find the pieces empowering and edgy yet still elegant and wearable. I wear both pieces constantly.”

This Hot 100 Tresor Paris Trendsetter profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the digital book in full, click here.
 

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