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Sydney’s Accessories Queen: Elke Kramer

Elke Kramer is queen to accessory lovers all over. Her quirky art nouveau, deco and op-art aesthetic combined with the eclectic narratives that underlie her collections has secured her as one of Sydney’s most precious design talents. Side Street, Sydney caught up with the woman herself to talk travelling, the best places in Sydney to find vintage jewellery and her summer collection, Shake of Ophelia.

While Elke’s foray into jewellery design was not planned, she explains that she “always had intentions of working creatively.” Her mother an artist who still paints today, Elke had a strong artistic influence when she was growing up. She took this with her when she started studying design at Sydney’s College of Fine Arts, where Elke was trained in multiple disciplines, including textiles, jewellery, ceramics and graphics, all of which she continues to draws from in her work. After graduating, Elke did a bit of freelance, as well as in-house work for Sass & Bide and Oyster magazine. However, it wasn’t until she was asked by friend and fashion designer Michelle Robinson to make necklaces for one of her shows in 2004 that Elke made her mark in the accessories world. Channelling her graphic design experience into jewellery design, Elke soon became one of the most exciting up-and-coming designers on the market, culminating in seasonal collections ever since. “It was a welcome change when I started the jewellery label,” she reflects. It obviously worked out for her too, considering the successes of her individual collections as well as a commended collaboration with Jessie Hill and a sell-out capsule collection for Sportsgirl.



In winter last year, Elke extended her practice of jewellery design into an accessories collection, Miracles and Wonder, which included bags, belts and scarves, made out of new mediums like silk and leather. Although Elke admits this was somewhat of a challenging territory to delve into, she says, “While it was an experiment at first, creatively I was ready to take this step. I think my brand really needed to branch out and offer something new.” Revealing her genuine passion for design, she adds, “It keeps it exciting for me too, to be able to design across different mediums… I guess that is the dream for most designers; to be able to have the freedom to represent your ideas in different forms.”

The entire collection was well received, from both customer and retailer perspective, but it was the bags that provided the most excitement. “We have definitely learnt from the production of the Miracles collection and have been developing our bags further,” which is of course good news for fans. Looking to the future, Elke says that “the next collection will see a more technically and conceptually refined collection of bags.” The screen printed scarfs were also a big hit, as Elke explains their importance: “it is a format which helps to tell the story of a collection, which you may not understand so clearly just from the jewellery pieces.”



Elke is definitely one of the fresh young designers that Sydney is proud to call its own, and she is as equally as passionate about where she lives. “I love living in Sydney. I try to swim as much as possible, at least in summer. We are very lucky in Sydney to have access to such beautiful beaches,” she gushes. Elke also lets us in on some local secrets: “I think the best places to find different and original accessories would be antique and bric-a-brac markets. I know that sounds predictable, but it is a definite way to find things that no one else will have.” She tips us off that her favourite places are Rozelle markets and the antique centre on South Dowling Street. Taking on a more serious tone, Elke says, “it is easy to get caught up in city life and not take time out to discover new things, which is essential for producing new work for me.” Travelling is one way Elke activates this sentiment: “I feel I gain more inspiration from those travels and being in new places than I do from my day-to-day life.”

Elke’s new collection, Look Twice Atlantis, will hit stores in April this year. Expect to see the spike cuff bracelets that have become Elke’s unofficial signature piece, this time rendered in matte pastel or paint-flicked marble effect. If that doesn’t excite you enough, she is currently working on a new collection for Summer 2010 called Shake of Ophelia. “It is influenced by the idea of voodoo and by a tribal aesthetic,” Elke tells us. For someone who has already achieved so much, one can’t help but wonder: where will she go from here? Elke enthusiastically answers, “I would enjoy branching further into leather goods, hosiery and shoes. I would also like to be able to include more styles for men within my collections.”



words: Ingrid Kesa

1 comments:

February 3, 2010 at 2:28 PM Style On Track said...

Oh I do love Elke Kramers designs, lovely choice of designer to post about :)

 
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