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December 31, 2014

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Accessories that sparkle ‘bold and big’

JOANNE Swift started designing accessories on a whim, asked by a friend to display a collection in the UK. Receiving an array of compliments inspired her, and two years later she launched her own brand, Josie Chen, in 2010 in Shanghai.

The British designer studied fine arts and textile and pattern design in Japan for nine years, specializing in Indigo dying. She has worked in fashion for more than 15 years and had positions as head designer and creative director in denim brands such as DKNY Jeans and Guess US before launching her own brand.

“Starting my own brand wasn’t that difficult, as I have a very supportive family and friends so the process was kind of easy. The challenging part is to keep the brand relevant and exciting from one collection to another,” she said.

Swift is constantly inspired by the materials she works with and the environment she works in. “I am surrounded by many different inspirational elements in Shanghai. Each handmade piece is designed with inspiration from music, art and fashion while remaining true to the brand’s defiant, rock-chick attitude.”

Each piece from the collection is hand made in house so each one is slightly different from the other. Each material used is limited, so when it runs out another element is used.

“It is certainly unique and individual so it stands for something that is designed and made with the best quality and detail, and this shows in the styles,” the designer said.

Talking about the current designs, Swift said she was having a “gold moment” — chunky chains and muted ash grey crystals and yellows. It’s a transition from the soft pink and blues of the summer flower collection, she said.

“I am going to be bold and bigger than before,” she said. “Not a lot of people can carry it off but it’s really a statement of we are here and now.”

Swift also finished a new collection of headbands that compliment the accessories well, and they are considering work on a small capsule collection of shoes and bags, so their followers will have the whole experience in one store.


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