When inventive concepts of design are translated into functional, wearable entities, it is truly fashion at its greatest moment. For jewellery range TMOD’s Milenka Osen and Georgie Swift, design is all about interaction, wonder and experience, with the fashion component of their creations a mere bonus. They have fused wearability along with elements of object and graphic design, a practice which is testament to their dedication to creating art with a purpose. Such philosophy has been successfully executed with TMOD, as it is at once evident upon viewing their work that their artistic background far succeeds the fashion world – or design world, for that matter – alone. Side Street Sydney caught up with Georgie and Milenka to talk about their label.
Hi Georgie and Milenka! How did the two of you meet?
We met studying design design at COFA, UNSW. This was the start of our amazing friendship and our fortunate creative connection.
When and why did you decide to create a label together?
We always collaborated on our individual studio projects at COFA and so naturally progressed to working together on all our opportunities post study (three years ago).
We have always been interested in and passionate about the same fields and elements of design and we have a similar aesthetic appreciation. We have always challenged each other with our own individual processes and thoughts and this has been the basis to our creative collaboration ‘TMOD’.
The label TMOD was created as an access for us to have the creative freedom to design for what we love and believe in.
How come you chose to take your design background into jewellery and stationary?
Well, this was not such a planned decision. We actually started by working on lighting and furniture designs. Jewellery design was almost accidental. Georgie was fiddling with her necklace in the studio one day when we got concept inspiration for our first jewellery range, ‘oh fiddlesticks’, and it all began from there. It was also a more affordable place to start with smaller objects like jewellery and stationary.
We view jewellery as wearable objects which is fulfilling for us in the sense that it is designing objects in three-dimensional form while also considering the elements of fashion. We have always been passionate about graphic design and combining collage and illustration and folding/paper techniques, which we ranslate into TMOD cards, as well as our packaging for our jewellery.
Have you always been into design? How and when did you begin to realise it was what you wanted to pursue with your career?
We have both always been creative and loved making things from an early age.
How does the collaborative process work? How do you come up with the brand’s identity, season after season?
Our process is always changing and evolving, as we do not have such a fixed or formulated way of designing. People often ask us how we work together and they are surprised by our answer that we work on each design together, swapping the files and drawing back and forth between us, each adding our own layers. I guess we are lucky in the way we can work together; instead of dividing each role we merge our work. We always start with research and inspiration from our travels and experiences and the things we are passionate about, like community involvement and the way users will relate and view and understand our story.
What have been the best and worst parts about your time on the fashion/design scene so far?
The Best part of the design and fashion scene is meeting so many inspiring, creative people following their dreams and hearts. Also, we find the best part is travel – we have the opportunity to be constantly overseas, where we get experience new places and be exposed to so many different cultures. We just love the freedom we have to create what we love.
Worst part … well we have been sitting here thinking about this answer for some time now and we can’t come up with anything. Guess that’s a good sign.
What are you hoping to achieve with your label?
We are working towards creating TMOD as a multidisciplinary design studio that encompasses a broad range across the fields of design. Each design will incorporate interaction and create an experience for the user, wearer or viewer. We are also in the process of taking our designs international, with stockists currently in Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and we are just starting in Europe and America.
What kind of plans do you have with TMOD in the future?
We are expanding TMOD beyond jewellery into other accessories and homewares. These include our current card ranges: scratchie cards, ribbon cards, spinning cards and popout cards.
We have started working on TMOD puppet creatures too, as well as TMOD bags.
Also in the making, is our ceramic tea set that we are working on in collaboration with local illustrator Kareena Zerefos.
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