IJL Reveals Successful Kickstarters Chosen for 2018

16 May 2018

International Jewellery London has announced the six winning designers selected as the 2018 IJL KickStarters.

This annual mentoring programme, now in its tenth year, offers six emerging designers the exciting opportunity to not only exhibit under the KickStart umbrella at IJL 2018, but also receive invaluable marketing support from IJL and co-sponsors, the National Association of Jewellers.

This initiative is recognised by the industry as one of the most successful bursary programmes for new emerging British talent.

All the KickStarters will take part in a specially tailored one-day workshop in June, culminating in a small, exclusive VIP event for the industry and media in the early evening.

Sarah Kitley-Spencer, IJL Show Manager, comments: “Congratulations to all of our six KickStart designers. As ever, they show exceptional creative flair and their styles are very diverse, making for an interesting collective at IJL 2018. We look forward to getting to know them all better at their pre-show workshop in June and are confident they will all benefit from this unique commercial launch pad. This is just the first, very exciting step on their IJL journey.”

“It will be a pleasure to work with these selected Jewellers over the next six months. The judging was challenging narrowing down from a large number of entries to just six, but each chosen designer’s work has a strong individual story,” says Lindsey Straughton, NAJ Industry Ambassador.

This year’s KickStart winners are…


Karina Fagras, Blush & Bashful

The idea for Blush & Bashful’s interchangeable signet jewellery collection began over a decade ago when Karina fell in love with a friend’s signet ring. This demi-fine range features interchangeable signets set within distinctive sterling silver settings.

She says: “Being selected for KickStart has given me a huge confidence boost to have industry acknowledgement after starting the brand only a year ago. Receiving the phone call from IJL was a moment I will cherish for a long time to come. I can’t wait to show my designs at the show in September. I intend to make the most of the invaluable mentoring and networking opportunities that KickStart will provide.”

Aishleen Lester, Le Ster Jewellery

Aishleen Lester arrived in the world of jewellery by a slightly unconventional route. Having finished her Masters at the Royal Academy she worked as an artist making large sculptural installations, working with the Riflemaker Gallery in Soho.

Her work was exhibited internationally, shown in galleries in London and New York and saw her collaborate with choreographers and dancers creating interactive stage sets. She worked on larger commissions, including an installation for the Selfridge’s Wonder Windows. Her first collection, Light through the Grey, combines the graphics of Pop Art, Lichenstein and Warhol, with the dynamic explosions of fireworks, and is a celebration of energy and confidence and a reminder to light up the skies.

On being selected, Aishleen says: “I am really excited to be part of Kickstart. The training day will be so useful providing bespoke advice from leading industry experts. I can’t wait to meet the other jewellers and feel part of a team in the lead up to the show, sharing knowledge and experiences and the show itself is a fantastic opportunity to showcase my first collection to potential stockists, stylists and jewellery press. So looking forward to it, thank you IJL!”

Ruth Chipperfield, Ruth Mary Jewellery

Ruth Mary’s silver lace jewellery collection lends a contemporary twist to traditional lacemaking. Taking inspiration from couture embroidery and royal court dress, Ruth Mary hand stitches each design with a needle and silk thread to form highly unique lace prototypes. The delicate silver jewellery born from these motifs is a stylish reminder of the timelessness of lace, with the additional option of gold plating available.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that my lace jewellery collection was selected for Kickstart! I am looking forward to forming new relationships with stockists and journalists as a result of this and taking my brand to a new level,” she says.

Helen Mangral, Helen Rankin Jewellery

With the ultimate focus always on movement and wearability, Helen’s jewellery exudes modernity and simplicity. Her signature aesthetic is defined by angles, interlocking, overlapping, contrast and scale.

Based in her Hove workshop, Helen utilises rapid prototyping technology to achieve perfect symmetry and combines it with traditional jewellery techniques. Meticulous hand finishing maintains a luxury feel to the collections.

She comments: “I am delighted to have been chosen for IJL’s Kickstart 2018. It’s fantastic to get some recognition and I’m so thrilled that I get to showcase my designs to a wider audience and meet new people. I’m really looking forward to September and all the creative and business opportunities this could lead to.”

Natalie Ball, Natalie Perry Jewellery

Natalie Perry specifically creates ethical and sustainable fine jewellery. Each piece of jewellery is inspired by the stories the designer has collected on her travels, and is worked in Fairtrade Gold and/or recycled silver . Through themes of unconventional beauty, imperfection and disintegration, the collections convey a delicate and fragmented aesthetic.

Natalie assisted leading British jewellery designer, Alice Cicolini, before moving into the vibrant world of jewellery PR. Natalie Perry Jewellery launched in 2017 and the debut Floral Fragments collection was born. It has been featured in leading titles such as The Times, JFW Magazine, Global Blue and A Magazine.

Natalie says: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected as one of the Kickstart designers this year! This will be my first time showcasing my collections to the trade at an industry show so I’m looking forward to receiving expert feedback and hopefully making some new retail partnerships.”

Elisavet Messi, Elisavet Messi

Elisavet Messi, an award-winning Greek jeweller based in London, is known for her creative and innovative use of wire.

She bases her work on efficient essentialism; embracing the properties of the materials used, to create minimal designs with sculptural values which typically find a balance between chaos and order, organic and geometric – a balance similar to the one that the wearer has to create in everyday life.

“By being selected for such a small collective of just six designers, I really feel the warmth of the support and appreciate this recognition of my work. This is an amazing opportunity to get my business to the next level,” she says.

Find out more about KickStart directly at: jewellerylondon.com/kickstart

IJL is #withyou offering professional development opportunities for emerging brands and designers, all year round. Find out more about our Summer Masterclass and Bright Young Gems scheme, or visit our What's On page.

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