Jordan Askill is a name you need to know. One of those fashion names that, when dropped, earn you instant cool kudos. The young jewellery designer has been in London for two years, quietly cutting a swathe through the fashion scene and winning the hearts and minds of discerning jewellery aficionados.
The designer, who was nominated for the British Fashion Award for Best Emerging Talent last year, is best known for his sweetly sentimental heart and star rings from his diffusion line Jordy by Jordan Askill, but also for his beautifully sculpted, creations realised through a 3D scanning technique more conventionally used for model making .
For his latest collection, he used a taxidermy swallow as a prototype to craft pieces that convey the charm and romantic allure of the birds themselves. "I love that birds can be majestic and fragile at the same time. And I used the swallow because it is so iconic in literature and poetry, in Oscar Wilde's Happy Prince. It's interesting that they have such big wings that if they land on the ground, they can't take off again -
I find that so poetic."
So taken is he with the beauty and freedom of avian creatures that if he were to be any creature in the world, it would be "a swallow or a macaw; the power of flight would be amazing."
Sydney-born Askill learned his trade at the East Sydney Technical College (one of Australia's best fashion schools), then went on to work with off-beat denim label Ksubi, before a three-year stint in Paris at the Dior Homme atelier under Hedi Slimane, where he "learned what a beautiful and luxurious product should be."
In 2008, he launched his eponymous label, making the move from ready-to-wear to jewellery. "I realised that my natural instinct was to create objects that are my way of translating what I see in the world," says Askill in his Australian tones. "I love sculpture but jewellery is more portable. It's more timeless and has more longevity than fashion."
"I really want to imbue my work with perfect historical references and give it a life. The way Victorian jewellery was so sentimental. So a taxidermy bird becomes a necklace, then becomes an heirloom," he explains, "I'm really interested in the mythology of a brand. That whole thing of how a stone might have once been owned by Spanish princes, but then become a gift for Elizabeth Taylor."
After two years as a resident of Stoke Newington in London, he still misses the water and coastal living of Sydney, but heads to the London Fields lido for regular aquatic fixes. He also enjoys strolling around Green Park, near Dover Street Market - one of the first places to stock his collections.
Next up, Askill's new birthstone rings that feature cabochon-cut stones that hang on the inside of the ring will launch exclusively at Liberty, and he is returning to Rock Vault - the British Fashion Council's jewellery initiative - during London Fashion Week.
"I want to make things that make people happy," he says. To this end, he has been working on a collaboration with Topshop that will land in stores towards the end of the year, bringing his creations to a wider audience. And while he is tight-lipped on what it will look like, he says that "you will be able to tell that it's mine."
Jordan Askill is available at Liberty and Harvey Nichols askillprojects.com
SCAN to watch Askill's wild horses