Maria Black and her eponymous jewellery label have the fashion crowd in a frenzy. The young Danish designer has taken her Goldsmiths degree and translated it into sculptural styles that resonate with people around the world. Her designs have been quickly swept up by celebs, bloggers and fashion editors alike. A range of A-listers from Alexa Chung to the Kardashians have been spotted wearing her earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. And it's no wonder. The brand seamlessly merges edge and elegance. It holds its own identity but allows its wearers individuality and uniqueness. Pieces can be worn alone or stacked and styled. They'll elevate your daily uniform or act as the final touch to your evening attire.
To top it off, the designer has the personality to match. When SUITCASE chatted with Black, she was brimming with passion for her work and a general excitement for life.
Where can we find your designs?
Who is the ideal Maria Black customer?
Maria Black is not for everyone but everyone is welcome. By this I mean that no matter age, gender, creed or country, it is about the love that you feel for a piece when you see it, the love for pure uncluttered design no matter how or why you choose to wear it.
How did your degree in Goldsmiths influence your work?
Hugely. Being able to make the pieces myself gives me the opportunity to work with them on every level and make the jump from idea to realisation. I don't think I would have become a jewellery designer without having my Goldsmiths' degree.
The moment you realised your passion could become a career…
The first time someone bought one of my little homemade wire earrings that I made in Ibiza - and that someone wasn't my mom or a friend.
What sets your designs apart from other jewellery on the market?
Most brands in high-fashion jewellery have their own style so I think it is hard to compare, but for me personally, it's my dedicated approach to design. There is a distinct design profile and it's timeless. You can wear these pieces ten years from now and they will still feel current.
Your jewellery is perfectly paired with…
Anything from a T-shirt to a polka-dot dress. The rules are out the window (thank god). I love to see how people style everything differently - it's very inspiring.
Can you tell us a bit about your heritage?
I'm half-Danish and half-Irish so I grew up in Copenhagen feeling like the world was my home. I don't come from an artistic background, more working class, but from early age I was all about playing classical music and drawing. My mum was always good at telling me how talented I was so I believed in myself. Thank god I chose drawing over music though! I lived in Dublin for a number of years but as soon as I came to London (my first time when I was 15) it was love at first sight. It felt like home.
How has your background influenced your designs?
There is no denying my Danish design heritage. It's very obvious. Yet my years in London gave me an edge. I always say that my designs are the love child between Copenhagen and London.
Best-kept secret in Copenhagen…
That you can get to a gorgeous sandy beach within ten minutes of the city centre. How amazing is that?
What aspects of British and Danish style do you combine to cultivate your style?
My very first collection was inspired by the punk rockers of Camden coupled with a Danish minimalist aesthetic. To me, it was the most natural thing in the world. If you took all of the hardware and separated it, the look was so inherently cool. I apply this work method to everything now: deconstruct - construct.
The must-have piece from your most recent collection…
I love the hydra maxi earring; it has the ability to work with a range of looks from clean Celine to rock goddess. It's a statement piece and one earring is enough. Mix, don't match.
How does travel influence your work?
I love people watching whenever I travel. I find that it's better to watch people on the street than to look at what's in the shops. People, not brands, dictate the future.
Explain the process of conceptualising a new collection…
It's the easiest and most complicated of processes. I laughed my ass of once when Karl Lagerfeld was asked how he got his inspiration. Being design royalty he dryly commented: "Either you have ideas, or you don't." That pretty much sums it up. I get a few ideas and work through it until something comes out on top and I am as close to satisfied as I can hope to be.
One of the most inspiring places you've travelled…
London to me, is the epicentre of everything. I am a city girl, the countryside is okay once in a while but I feel alive and vibrant in big cities. That's where I get my inspiration and drive from.
Where's next on your bucket list?
Completely to the contrary to what I just said, my next bucket list adventure is horseback riding in Iceland with a group of girlfriends for the pure bliss of nature, tranquillity and quality time with my friends.
What's next for Maria Black?
My plan for the future is to expand my online presence, make waves in Japan and make sure my team and I have a blast every day. Also, I want to get a second piercing and love the shit out of life. Best. plan. ever.