Every collection at Austin James Smith is thoughtfully designed around a core conceptual idea or principle. I wanted to take a second to delve into the design decisions as well as the art direction that was chosen for the Phase 7: Utopia Collection.
When visualizing my 2023 winter collection, I wanted to create an assortment of pieces that were clean and simple and cohesive throughout. Winter is often associated with minimalism, elegance, and sophistication, which can all be reflected in jewelry designs that are understated and refined. The concept of Utopia was born from this, as a 'Utopia' is often thought of as a visually perfected society. Based on these concepts for the collection, a somewhat campy stereotypical whimsy idea of futuristic imagery was chosen for the art direction of the collection.
Another way to embrace a clean and simple jewelry style in winter is to opt for pieces with a single focal point for design element. I chose to utilize a futuristic 'cut out' design element motif, highlighted with 2-tone mixed plating, to create simple yet sophisticated shapes. The use of simple design allowed for mixing of multiple pieces for a dressed up ear with the same design language.
For the editorial Shoot, the decision was made to depict the model bald with semi robot features and accessories. We wanted to channel the cliche idea of a 'utopian human' stripped of defining personalistic characteristics. Channeling Austin James Smith punk nature, the model is styled in a tougher way, giving nod to the ultimately dark reality of stripping society of its core nature to stand out, and how revolutionist societies will always find a way to exist that go against the grain.
The new collection Is inspired by the urge to stand out as well as the desire to fit in, and the progression of these conflicting feelings as we become more interconnected through technology. While past collections may have a more literal approach to Austin James Smiths integral design language, Phase 7 is an embodiment the original ethos of the brand. Bolstering clean edges, and paying homage to classic jewelry iconography such as the bullring, UTOPIA pulls from the familiar and breathes a contemporary air into it.
While Winter was a chance to delve into a simpler design aesthetic for Austin James Smith - make sure to stay tuned for the new collection coming this summer, which will be going the opposite route of simple... We cant wait to share more with you about this collection !