Rebecca Pearson – Belles Bejewelled

Leeds based jewellery artist Rebecca Pearson is not tip-toeing into this industry. The Bretton Hall Graduate has done work experience with highly regarded designer Fred Butler, and is now firmly declaring herself as an artist in her own right. Aided through the ‘How Bazaar’ business start-up programme in Leeds, Pearson got the advice she needed to place her obvious and abundant talent in tandem with the business skills to get her unique label: ‘Belles Bejewelled’. What began as a hobby is now the reality of an escalating career. Before you wonder how the exceptional layering of her designs is created, I’ve been told it’s a ‘trade secret’. The label is economical and innovative, elevated further by the sheer, astounding talent of its creators.

JAM: Where did you learn your trade?

Books, books and more books. I’d recommend the following shops: Salt Mills bookshop in Saltaire and the Victoria and Albert museum bookshop- not just for books about design but setting up your own creative business.

JAM: What inspires your pieces?

I derive inspiration from a variety of places, it will hit me at odd times; sometimes at 6pm in the gym I’ll come up with an idea and have to sketch it out. Sometimes inspiration is non-existent when you need it the most. What inspires my designs the most is book shopping. I have all sorts of books: from more obvious contemporary art and design books, through to architecture and old embroidery, and historical books featuring costumes and patterns from all over the world. I am the type of designer who will change my design a million times before actually implementing it.  I’ll sketch and mess around with a few ideas, but it is the shape that has to “speak” to me in a way. I have to look at it, play around with it, and sit on the idea for a while. After that, it is a matter of trusting yourself on the design and then just going for it.

JAM: The beauty of your work holds its own, how is the brand being received by buyers?

Thank you, so far the brand has been well received by buyers; which is great and always encouraging. I have worked with buyers to understand how to develop my brand identity in order to cultivate a loyal fan base.

JAM: Some of your pieces have a very couture feel about them, is it your intention to create wearable pieces of art rather than more commercial items?

My focus has always been on design which transcends seasonal trends. The woman who buys one of my pieces will still be able to wear it and look fabulous in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time (assuming her daughter or grand- daughter has not borrowed it). My pieces are made to withstand the test of time

 

JAM: What are the label’s plans for the next year?

Next year I have plans to expand into stores throughout the United Kingdom, and abroad, as well as other collaborative projects with designers and launching a new collection next year.

JAM: What are the themes for your upcoming work?

As always, the key theme of my work is structure and shape; as well as recycling and salvaging material. With ENDLESS LOVE, all the leather used is off cut material from my other jewellery and craft making as well as donations from other designers. All the Perspex off cuts from the larger pieces is used to make rings and smaller items; not wasted.

JAM: What are your favourite fashion brands of the moment?

I am inspired by Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh- both are masters of fashion and creative geniuses. Their imagination extends to not being afraid to use ‘fetish’ material: for example PVC and human hair. Their collections are about more than simply making clothes; they created pieces that blur the boundaries between art and fashion.

JAM: What is your ultimate dream for your career and brand?

Ultimately I would like the brand to become well recognised and respected all over the globe, and to develop the website for e-commerce. I also want to develop the social media side of things. British fashion has now entered into the new technological phase whereby Fashion news is available at the click of a button, through blogs and over social media formats. In particular, video is being used more and more by designers to showcase their collections and highlight their work. I have already, as part of my collection, contributed to a video with fashionpony.co.uk and would love to do more.

JAM: Have you always wanted to be a designer, when did you know that would be the path you took?

As a child I was always experimenting and enjoyed drawing more than most kids– I even won an art competition when I was about 6 years old- I had to draw a picture of an animal at Chester zoo! My interest continued as I grew up and I particularly remember watching Jim Henson movies The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. I just loved the sumptuous garments and creature design. After studying graphics at Leeds College of Art I decided I wanted to be a Scenographer, as I had an interest in creating scenes that could be enhanced by costume, lighting and set design. This did not work out because of lack of work in the industry- though I was involved in a minor way with the WYP production of Bad Girls the musical- and gradually my interest in fashion and design morphed into making jewellery.

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To see where Belles Bejewelled is stocked, see their website: http://www.bellesbejewelled.co.uk/

Words by Bryony Taylor

Images: LadyD Photography, Murat Ozkasim & Rebecca Pearson

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