Jewellery inspired by "the explosive feeling of extreme sports"
London College of Fashion (LCF) jewellery designer, Xiaotu Tang has designed a jewellery collection inspired by the "exhilarating feeling of extreme sports". She describes how the memory of doing something physically challenging remains with you forever and so she wanted to capture this essence within her jewellery. Using equipment from extreme sports such as surfing, mountain cycling and bungee jumping as inspiration, Xiaotu has created a range of unisex accessories. Here to speak about her innovative take on jewellery, is an interview with Xiaotu Tang.
Describe your brand in a sentence?
A conceptual fashion jewellery brand, containing unconventional materials and interesting textures for the unisex market.
Your pieces are inspired by extreme sports. What is it about extreme sport that you wanted to use as inspiration for your jewellery?
The inspiration comes from the exhilarating feeling of extreme sports. Everyone knows how dangerous extreme sports can be, but people still do it for the excitement. When you are doing something that's physically challenging, although the experience may not last a long time, the memory stays forever. Even if you get hurt or have an accident, you are experiencing a brave event. I therefore wanted to produce a collection that delved into and explored extreme sports. Each jewellery piece contains an element of an extreme sport, such as surfing, mountain cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing and bungee jumping.
Do you have a background in extreme sport yourself?
Actually I don’t have any experience in extreme sports. I would like to try skydiving if I get the chance!
Which jewellery piece was most difficult to create?
The “surfing mouth piece” was the most difficult. It contains three parts; the sea wave shape acrylic, the silver base and silicone mouth guard of surfing. I had to experiment with different materials as silicone does not easily combine with other materials. Also heating up and shaping the acrylic was difficult. It needed to be concentrated during the making process.
What’s your favorite piece from your own designs and why?
I like the skydiving hoodie hat the most. It was inspired by a parachute, having a similar shape and structure with it being extendable and being similar to a backpack. So I made a hoodie hat and tied it with a rope to a neck guard. This piece combines hard and soft materials and uses stitching to connect the materials.
How did you get into fashion?
I liked fashion from an early age, I was already sewing the clothes of my dolls when I was seven years old. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would always say a fashion designer. So I went to a design college, London College of Fashion..
Why did you choose to study Fashion Jewellery over Womenswear or Menswear?
For me, fashion jewellery itself has a strong connection with the human body and has many ergonomical features. I am interested in how a fashionable object can be attached to the body and be used for jewellery design.
What help you get inspired?
I like to go to museums and galleries to see exhibitions and experience different works of art. Because I feel art must be experienced in person to truly get a sense of its magnitude. For me, ideas and inspiration are everywhere.
What part of designing jewellery would you say is most difficult?
The part that I find most difficult is making sure my pieces are balanced. For example, when you have several smaller elements on one side that need to be balanced by larger items on the other side, or a dark item by several lighter items.
Who is your favorite jewellery designer?
Castro Smith is my favorite jewellery designer. He has designed and created unique rings. His artworks are carved in the style of traditional seal engraving, which I find absolutely beautiful.
Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 5 to 10 years?
In five to ten years, I want to finish my current study first. I think this course will help me better think about the relationship and balance between jewellery design and art. After that I will continue my jewellery design career. In five to ten years, I would like to expand my brand in Europe and Asia. That is the primary goal.