Using materials from different sources can inject unique creative ideas into product designs. This culture of collaboration is inevitable, particularly in industries constantly looking for new ideas to excite their customers, the jewellery and fashion sectors included. The vast usage of digital platforms has also made communication easier these days while the line separating fashion and jewellery has become blurred as consumers aim for a total look to make a statement.
Bejewelled outfits are nothing new in the jewellery and fashion worlds. With cross-sector collaborations growing, more opportunities are expected to arise from innovative projects such as the creative partnership between Swarovski and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Hong Kong aimed at supporting graduating students.
Under the programme, Swarovski supported five SCAD Hong Kong students who have incorporated more than 200,000 Swarovski crystals into their final fashion collections. Representatives from SCAD and students participating in the project shared with JNA their experiences and inspirations.
Robert Meeder, associate chair for School of Fashion, Building Arts and Digital Media, SCAD Hong Kong
What was the objective of this project?
Robert Meeder: The key aim of the project was to facilitate a creative partnership between Swarovski and SCAD Hong Kong to nurture the next generation of fashion design talents in the region. Students were required to propose creative design ideas to the Swarovski team, showcasing how they intended to incorporate the crystals into their senior-year final collection. This project allowed our students to engage with a leading luxury brand, enabling real world experience. We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn from a brand such as Swarovski. This experience has helped prepare the designers for their future careers.
How would you describe the outcome of this project?
Meeder: SCAD students are flawlessly prepared for leadership in the dynamic and ultra-competitive global fashion industry and this collaboration demonstrated both Swarovski's and SCAD’s longstanding commitment to fashion education and nurturing the next generation of design talents. Swarovski was inspired by and excited about the work presented by the five students while SCAD students were able to receive access to world-class materials and tools that most designers would only encounter after graduating and working in the industry. Each year, the SCAD Hong Kong Fashion Showcase is among the most celebrated student fashion shows in the region.
Are you developing similar programmes in the future?
Meeder: We strive to continue to expand and develop on the working partnership with Swarovski, potentially across all four locations – Atlanta, Savannah, Lacoste and Hong Kong – to involve a larger pool of emerging talents.
Maria Nava (BFA, Fashion)
My designs took inspiration from 1920s wedding gowns and World War I military uniforms. I wanted to evoke a sense of oddness and decadence paired with delicate, nostalgic elements. Swarovski gave us a wide range of styles and materials to work with, which allowed me to have creative freedom in manipulating embellishments and transforming the hardware and crystals. These materials became part of the fabric and enriched the texture of my designs, making them unique.
Accessories are always a complementary part of design. The core of a design is in the details, which allows us to create a more in-depth statement or story. The “city dwellers of today” are in constant movement, with busy and long journeys. These people are interested in small details or statements that they can personalise and incorporate into their journeys and lifestyles.
Cheryl Ma (BFA, Fashion)
My womenswear collection, RISE, was inspired by fungi and its ability to continue growing despite adversity – an analogy for humanity’s adaptability and perseverance. Drawn to texture and emphasising tactile sensations, my collection incorporated crystals donated by Swarovski to add a layer of dimension and symbolise the idea of glowing in the dark.
People thoroughly enjoy accessorising but jewellery can often be seen as a standalone piece of value. To answer the demand of people looking for a chic lifestyle, there should be a fusion between accessories and fashion. This way, jewels can become a part of our daily wear. Swarovski crystals or other jewellery pieces should no longer be a separate element but an indispensable component of the overall design of a garment. I see an increasing popularity of integrating jewels into fashion as people aim to dress up in a more “smart casual” way to match their fashionably chic lifestyle.
Tammi Lau (BFA, Fashion)
My collection, Windaholic, is an abstract womenswear collection inspired by the movement of wind and its symbolic meanings. A gentle breeze represents positivity while a violent typhoon signifies hardship. The collection used objects that represent wind as an invisible force such as a Chinese windmill conveying messages of hope, destiny and fortune. Inspired by illusion graphics, Windaholic created a psychedelic mirage using neoprene fabrics, digital printing techniques and crystal embellishment sponsored by Swarovski. Swarovski is a leading global jewellery company and its jewels enhanced my overall concept by creating sparkle with every movement.
If possible, it would be amazing to see accessorised pieces for designers such as a buckle or knot, which can be incorporated into a designer’s collection to enhance its chic lifestyle appeal.