Meet one half of cult jewellery phenomenon |Tatty Devine

Some people you meet and instantly like. The duo Tatty Devine are those kind of people. I meet them in store at their Covent Garden branch for Vogue’s Fashion Night out and get a warmth of laughter that instantly makes me want to become their friend.

Meeting at Chelsea College of Art, Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine have gone onto fun, frivolous and flourishing dimensions. Launching their own jewellery label in 1999, the two best friends have frequently embellished the pages of glossy magazines; collaborating with abstract artist duo Gilbert and George, fashion designers Eley Kishimoto,and whose designs can be seen on outlandish performers such as Katy Perry.

Their trashy-sliced-with-wit collection takes the off-beat and turns it full circle back onto itself. The selection of animated perspex includes a black moustache ring, peeled banana necklace, forest cluster bracelet (taken from the AW11 Finders Keepers range) a gin bottle brooch, personalised and unique. Inspired by absolutely anything, the list is endless to the marginality of their designs.

When you walk into a Tatty Devine store,you are hit with a wall of colour and shape, but on closer inspection, you see the finer detail of flair, adoration and passion in their work. Succeeding in a competitive market without any formal training; 99% of their collection is handmade in the UK and stocked in over 100 stores worldwide. With admiration galore swooping in from every angle, it appears Tatty Devine have created their own wonderfully ‘wacky’ niche – the secret to their success being to appear as outlandishly ‘odd’ as possible.

With the launch of their first book, simply titled, ‘How To Make Jewellery’ it sees like no better time to talk to Harriet; one half of Tatty Devine……

How has Vogue influenced you?

Vogue has weirdly been majorly part of our success. In 1999, when we were just beginning to make our own jewellery, Rosie was working in a vintage shop on the Kings Road, when a lady walked in and asked her if she could use the piece she was wearing in her millennium fashion shoot. She asked where it was from, when Rosie lied and said, “My company made it” then was asked to bring it into Vogue on Monday morning. That was Friday, and over the weekend we made a whole jewellery collection and took it into Vogue on the Monday! It ended up in an Erin O’Connor and John Galliano shoot, which is incredible to look back on. Off the back of that we started selling to Whistles, which then got us into Harvey Nichols and then it just escalated from there.

Would you say you look towards UK Vogue for inspiration, more so than American Vogue?

We have always loved UK Vogue the most; when we were at art college and were meant to be reading Art Monthly or Freeze magazine, it would be a guilty pleasure to read. Now we feature in it!

So how long have you and Rosie been working together for?

Tatty Devine began in 1999 but we met each other at Chelsea College of Art; it was kind of an accident really, now look at us.

Where does your inspiration mainly come from with your jewellery designs?

Everywhere and Anywhere. Anything we tend to do, somewhere along the line, filters into a design. It is always nice to work with other people, where ideas just seem to erupt and then explode. With this collection, it is all a bit Scando-forest-floor; almost like you have fallen onto the floor and a vintage, Scandinavian fabric print just happens to attach itself to you.

What is a current obsession of yours?

I am always obsessed with something and then I whip through it at an alarming rate. Shoulder of lamb? That’s not very fashion is it!  It is probably easier for me to say what Rosie is currently obsessed with and vice versa; red instruments and coloured tights!

Is there a standout piece from any of your collections?

Anything with dinosaurs on!

Are you showing at London Fashion Week this month?

Yes we always show in the exhibition for London fashion Week; we have done so every year since we started.

What are your views on social media sites?

Well they make it much easier to tell people what you are doing. When we first started, the internet didn’t really exist. What was great about that was Rosie and I were doing everything so quickly, so hard and fast, that if we had to stop and write a blog about it, we wouldn’t have been able to finish half the stuff! We were too hungover to, rather staying in bed than get up and write about what we were doing; instead we just did it. This was pretty liberating, compared to today where everything has to be documented. But saying that, there are definitely positives and negatives, especially as it makes for a lovely record of what you have achieved. If we did write a blog then, it would be the most amazing journal to look back on, to see what we have actually achieved in the last ten years, while we only have a record of the last three; our memory past that is a bit hazy!

What is a proudest moment so far?

There have been a few. Being involved in the Fashion East catwalk show was lovely and we have recently been listed in the top 100 British jewellers in the UK, which is pretty incredible. We feel like we are slightly out on a limb in a way, as we are not necessarily ‘serious’ jewellers, so it’s nice to get that kind of recognition. We also made Selfridges 100th birthday cake! Oh, and making jewellery for Gilbert and George. When we first started, a journalist in an early article for The Telegraph compared us to them, which was such an amazing parallel.

What is your typical breakfast?

The porridge comes out everyday! But my favourite breakfast to make at the moment is cinnamon french toast with my little girl.

Favourite Film?

Breathless, a secret part of me likes Dirty Dancing, Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock; classics!

Does film influence your work?

It does but not necessarily modern film, as it’s in a slight state of duress at the moment! So chances are it is going to be an old film and there is always a soundtrack playing in the background at the studio, whilst we are working; going in one ear and coming out via our work.

Do you wear a lot of your own designs?

I don’t wear loads of it as when I am wearing jewellery and then designing it, I can’t design what I want, when I am wearing what I have already got! Rosie always rocks it really well. But I am too physical and hands-on to wear bracelets on a daily occasion; I am not really an earring person either, but I think that is because my mum wore too many! Chances are I will be wearing some random, large piece that I found at a boot fair, pinned or strung on, which is probably going to turn into something we make in the next six months.

How did you get into fashion originally?

We both did fine art painting at college and are kind of serendipitous really that we ended up here. We were always into fashion but not mainstream, not what was ‘fashionable’ at the time; I never wanted to look normal. Even when I was younger, I remember instinctively wanting to look odd!

Finally, what will your tombstone read?

She came, she saw, she conquered!

Tatty Devine are stocked in store and online

Tatty Devine Jewellery



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