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IN THE STUDIO

 

NEW YORK CITY 

 

MOST PEOPLE WOULD ASSUME WORKING AS A DESIGNER, IT IS THE MOST CREATIVE JOB IN THE WORLD.... IN MY CASE, I SIT AS BOTH CREATIVE DIRECTOR & DESIGNER. CONTRARY TO BELIEF, THE CREATIVE FREEDOM AS A DESIGNER IS, IN CERTAIN WAYS FAIRLY CAPPED. WHEN YOU START A CREATIVE VENTURE (IN MY CASE, A JEWELLERY BRAND) YOU HAVE TO DECIDE AT SOME POINT IF YOU WANT IT TO REMAIN AN ART TO YOU. MEANING YOU ARE NOT AT INTERESTED IN THE PRICE OF YOUR WORK & DO NOT INTEND TO MAKE IT A PAYING CAREER, YOU DO NOT WISH YOUR PRODUCTS / ART TO BE IN COMMERCIAL STORES & GETTING YOUR BRAND NAME OUT THERE IS NOT SOMETHING YOU ARE CHASING. IF YOU WISH TO BE A COMMERCIAL CREATIVE, IT IS A VERY DIFFERENT APPROACH. YOU CREATE PRODUCTS THAT OFTEN HAVE TO COME IN AT A CERTAIN PRICE POINT, YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT MARGINS, YOU ARE SEEKING DISTRIBUTION & THE MORE PEOPLE WHO SEE YOUR BRAND THE BETTER. YOU ARE THEN CONSCIOUS OF REVENUE TO EMPLOY A TEAM (AND YOURSELF), MARKETING, PRODUCTION

COSTS, WAREHOUSING.... YOU GET THE PICTURE. 

 

I WAS ADAMANT FROM THE START I WANTED SAMANTHA WILLS TO BE A COMMERCIAL BUSINESS. HELL, WHEN I WAS 5, I WENT & TOOK A HEAP OF STUFF FROM MUM'S PANTRY, SET IT UP ON THE SERVERY FROM THE KITCHEN INTO THE DINING ROOM & OPENED 'SAM'S CAFE'; SELLING THE CONTENTS OF MY PARENTS KITCHEN CUPBOARDS, BACK TO THEM. THE COUNTER ACTION TO MY ENTREPRENEURIAL TRAITS IS THAT I STARTED THE SAMANTHA WILLS BUSINESS AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE, WITH A VERY PROMINENT INSTINCT THAT STEMMED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, WHICH WAS TO PUSH THE BOUNDARY TO DO EVERY PROJECT GIVEN IN A WAY THAT WAS NOT ALLOWED BY THE CURRICULUM....

 

PORT MACQUARIE HIGH SCHOOL, ART CLASS, 1997

BRIEF, CREATE A SCULPTURE NO LARGER THEN 60CM IN HEIGHT, IN MIXED MEDIUM. 

 

MY SUBMISSION: KING NEPTUNE RECREATED AS A MERMAID (GIRL POWER MUCH?... WELL IT WAS THE HEIGHT OF THE SPICE GIRLS PHENOMENON!). SHE WAS RISING UP FROM SCULPTED WAVES, HER SHELL BRA COVERED IN TINY SEQUINED FABRIC, A SIMILAR SHADE TO HER SEQUINED HAIR (IF ANYONE NEEDS A NAUTICAL FLOAT FOR NEXT YEARS MARDI GRAS... CALL ME).THE 'TAIL' OF SAID MERMAID WAS A BASE OF CHICKEN WIRE, WITH HUNDREDS OF PIECES OF SMASHED UP MIRROR, AFFIXED WITH MY TRUSTY HOT GLUE GUN;  EDGES RAW & AGGRESSIVE (TO SIGNIFY HER POWER). IT DIDN'T STOP THERE. I WANTED ELECTRICITY RUNNING THROUGH IT, SO LODGED A LIGHT BULB HOUSING IN THE TAIL, WITH A BLUE BULB, THAT RADIATED NEON BLUE BEAMS THROUGH THE SHATTERED GLASS. SO IF YOU DIDN'T RIP YOUR HANDS TO SHREDS FROM THE SHARK-TOOTH-LIKE EDGES OF THE MIRROR, YOU COULD ALMOST GUARANTEE TO HAVE AN ELECTRIC SHOCK (READ POSSIBLY ELECTROCUTION) WITH MY ELECTRICAL WIRING IN & AMONGST CHICKEN WIRE MESH.....OH, AND NEPTUNE MERMAID CAME IN AT NO LESS THEN 150CM TALL. 

 

NEEDLESS TO SAY, I ALWAYS WANTED MY WORK TO BE DIFFERENT, TO NOT HAVE A CAPPED CEILING OF WHICH WOULD CONFORM IT IN ANY WAY.... WHILE THAT MIGHT READ AS AGGROGANCE (MAYBE IT WAS!) I REMEMBER ALWAYS THINKING ‘WHY IS EVERYONE THINKING SO MAIN STREAM’ ‘HOW CAN I MAKE THIS DIFFERENT’… IN A GOOD WAY. SO WHEN I FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL, I STARTED MAKING JEWELLERY, HOW I WANTED TO MAKE IT, WITH NO ONE TO TELL ME THAT IT IS TOO BIG, TOO SHINY, TOO WHATEVER. 

IN MY FIRST FEW COLLECTIONS, YOU WOULD BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND A 'COMMERCIALLY' SIZED PIECE. I WAS, BY DEFAULT, A VERY YOUNG CREATIVE DIRECTOR (NOT THAT I EVEN KNEW WHAT A CREATIVE DIRECTOR EVEN WAS BACK THEN), ACTING AS A (ALSO VERY YOUNG!) DESIGNER. AS THE BRAND STARTED TO GAIN TRACTION, THE DEMAND TO INCLUDE MORE COMMERCIAL PIECES RESULTED IN MORE SALES. SO THE COLLECTIONS QUICKLY BECAME MORE COMMERCIAL (READ; WEARABLE). I WAS LEARNING LOTS OF THINGS, VERY QUICKLY, AND IN THIS CASE, LEARNT THERE WAS A FORMULA & A REAL ART TO APPLYING THE WAY YOU TAKE A BIG, CRAZY, IDEA AND REWORK IT INTO SOMETHING YOUR CONSUMER CAN WEAR EVERYDAY – IF YOU WANTED TO HAVE A COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS.

 

FAST FORWARD TO NOW & WHILE I AM STILL THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR & DESIGNER (WHILE STILL BY DEFAULT, MORE SO BY CHOICE NOW!), THE BUSINESS IS RUN IN A VERY EFFICIENT, STRUCTURED & STRATEGIC WAY. FOR EVERY SINGLE COLLECTION I DESIGN (YEARLY: 4 X MAINLINE COLLECTIONS, 2 X BRIDAL COLLECTIONS & 2 X FINE COLLECTIONS), A PERSON IN MY TEAM, MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT THEN I, GIVES ME A VERY STRUCTURED MATRIX OF WHAT NEEDS TO APPEAR IN THE UPCOMING COLLECTION. FOR EXAMPLE: 4 X RINGS THAT RETAIL FOR $110, 2 X RINGS THAT RETAIL FOR $149, 4 X BRACELET SETS THAT COME IN UNDER $120.... ETC ETC.  THIS INFORMATION IS GATHERED FROM THE PAST SEASONS SALES ANALYSIS, TREND FORECASTING & MARKET POSITIONING. 

 

UNLIKE MY 16 YEAR OLD SELF, THIS IS A CURRICULUM I NOW ABIDE BY, BUT IT IS ALSO THE REASON I OFTEN GO BACK TO MY ORIGINS & LOCK MYSELF IN THE STUDIO TO CREATE PIECES THAT HAVE NO NEED TO BE ANYTHING. IF I AM CREATING COUTURE FOR A COMMISSIONED JOB, BUILDING SOME SPARKLING ARMOUR FOR A PHOTO-SHOOT OR MOVIE, OR SIMPLY JUST SITTING IN MY STUDIO & SEEING WHAT COMES TOGETHER. IT IS CREATIVE TIME LIKE THIS THAT ALLOWS ME TO CREATE THE BIG, CRAZY PIECES THAT 16 YEAR OLD ME WOULD HAVE DREAMED OF IF SHE HAD OF KNOWN THERE WERE OTHER TOOLS IN LIFE TO USE THEN JUST A HOT GLUE GUN - THIS PROCESS ALSO INSPIRES MANY MAINLINE PIECES & I NOW ACTUALLY ENJOY TAKING THE FREEDOM OF THE BIG DREAMS & WORKING INTELLIGENTLY & STRATEGICALLY INTO CREATING IT INTO SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL (HOPEFULLY!) LOVE & BE ABLE TO WEAR, EVERYDAY. 

 

 

CREATE THE THINGS YOU WISH EXISTED - SWX 

 

SEE MORE SAMANTHA WILLS COUTURE

 

Add a Comment 0 Comments | Posted in Fashion + Style By SW SW

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