To gain a different perspective to that of our recent Q&A with Editor Caroline Leaper, I wanted to get in touch with another designer whose brand was also named as one of Telegraph Fashion’s best new eco brands – jeweller Zoe Morton. After leaving her full time job in London and inspired by an eight month stint travelling, Zoe reconnected with her love of silversmithing by studying at Alchemia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence and set up her brand soon after.
Zoe designs and hand makes all her jewellery and where possible she uses recycled and eco silver in her work. In her most recent collection Plant Life, Zoe worked with local basket weaver John Page to create the most intricately detailed pieces. Zoe also worked with her brother, bag designer Alex Morton to create a woven palm carrier/backpack bag for the collection. The bags are made ethically in the Moroccan mountains and in a surf village just south of Agadir. Zoe is also working with her contacts in Morocco to set up a women’s group to make the bags. This will allow women in the area to continue earning a living after they have children.
I discovered Zoe’s work when I read the Telegraph article and thought her jewellery and her whole brand ethos was beautiful. I love that her pieces are so full of texture and interest yet are so simple. I also loved finding out about the stories and processes behind her work. I wanted to get in touch with her to find out more about her journey growing the brand, the challenges she faces and what keeps her going…
Q.Hi Zoe! Your work is beautiful, tell me about the brand and how it all started?
Aw thank you so much! It all started with an adventure. I used to work in the photography industry, but after a few years I just needed something more.
I decided to quit my job and go off on an 8 month adventure. I spent some time travelling around Asia and visited friends in California. Along the way and throughout other travels I have always been so inspired by what I see, do, and the people I meet.
I also drove to Italy in this time and went to a jewellery school which was amazingly inspiring.
I wanted to create a brand, a lifestyle brand that created beautiful objects which reminded you of these travels and inspired new ones. I wanted statement pieces that are easy to wear. So when I got back thats what I did.
Q.How has your journey been growing the brand? What are the main challenges for you?
I have really enjoyed the journey, there are serious highs and serious lows but the people that surround you bring you through this.
I am really lucky to be supported by incredible friends and family, many of which I have met along the way....
Main challenge for me is the selling side, I love my product and am so confident in it, but I find it hard to translate this to people myself, I get a bit embarrassed!
Q.How has your work evolved since starting out?
Wow, its really evolved a lot, I mean you learn so much along the way and make so many mistakes! I think that each collection I do, is for sure getting stronger and my confidence had grown a whole load.
Q.How important is it to you to use recycled and eco silver - is this challenging in itself to source?
Yes it's important, we live in such a consumable society it's important to do what you can to lessen this.
Q.What is fascinating you at the moment and how does it influence your work?
I mean every day things inspire me, whether it's a piece of artwork, a stick, the ocean. It's super varied for me.
Q.What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned since starting your company?
Ha, so many! The biggest.... trust yourself, go with it and be confident with it.
Q.How do you separate work and life outside of work?
Yes, so I mean thats tricky, I love doing what I am doing... so they do tend to merge. However I do draw the line I like my private life to be private... so I keep that under wraps and try to take time out for it.
Q.What advice would you give to young brands starting out?
Trust yourself, take advice form everywhere, if someones willing to help you take it.
You can see more of Zoe's work here.
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