A JEWEL DATE WITH … BARK
Within the first few minutes of speaking to Miwako Yoshioka at Scoop International I knew that I wanted to organise a Jewel Date with her. At this point I had barely seen the Bark collection but already I was hooked. I wanted and need to know more about the designer who stood before me and her creations.
Thankfully for me our initial meeting went swimmingly and a few weeks later Miwako invited me down to her studio in central London. For Bark is a British label born and bred in London Town.
Miwako herself left Japan over 13 years ago and came to London on a jewel quest; to study the art of design and making. It was while studying at the Guildhall University that Miwako landed her first stockists a boutique in the prestigious area of Primrose Hill on the legendary Portobello Road. & from that moment Bark was officially born.
Bark began it’s maiden year with a range of handmade silver rings touched with some disco spirit. From a chain mail ring to a fringed shimmy shaking creation which I absolutely adored. If it wasn’t for the sentimental value I know it holds for Miwako I would have run off with it right there and then.
The rest of the tale is simple and not surprising once you have seen Bark jewellery and Miwako’s workmanship. Bark has grown from strength to strength year upon year and is now an international label with stockists in Europe, the USA, East Asia and Australia. Miwako and her intimate team of workers are flying the flag for handmade stylish British jewels.
A designer inspired by the world around her, Miwako’s collections are born organically and grown from wherever her mind takes her; be it a trip to the circus, a day out to sea or a date with a mathematical monkey! The last one is just as true as the others; it wasn’t until I was packing up from our jewel date, that I noticed the walls of the Bark studio bare an array of vintage posters, toys and ornaments including this monkey an learning aid to help children with their timetables.
The monkey, her studio and Bark jewels are all representations of Miwako’s playful creative nature come to life.
Currently in between showcases in London and prepping for Paris Fashion Week Miwako is finalising designs on her S/S14 collection: ‘We Found Love’ a surreal Dali inspired portrayal of love featuring lobster claws ,3D lips and pearls .
Here is a super sneak-peek preview of some pieces from the collection including this interchangeable pearl necklace. Understanding the economical needs of her customers Miwako wanted to offer a versatile piece which would give the wearer multiple looks in one.
So this Pearl number can either be worn as a necklace, or as a bracelet as modelled by Miwako below. Then the lip pendant is removable so you can take this piece from art nouveau to classic ladylike chic and wear the pearls solo.
I currently find myself contemplating whether to get the necklace or the earrings. Yep you heard right I might be breaking away from the realm of studs and into the world of dangly earrings … I know I’ve shocked myself but that is the power of the lobsters they are so enthralling and you what to wear them every which way they are available to you.
I’ll keep you posted about which piece I end up getting, but either way they have already earned a cherished position in my most sacred jewellery box. As you can imagine I have several jewellery boxes but there is one safely snuggled away which contains special treasures like pieces given to me my parents and passed down from my grandmother. This is a box where a piece of Bark jewellery should live.
From the quirky designs to the traditional heritage looking pieces, Bark jewellery is timeless and Miwako’s pieces should be cherished in the jewellery boxes of generations after generations.
I asked Miwako to bring some favourite pieces from her jewellery box with her and before revealing them she humbly and apologetically said;”Sorry. All the pieces I have bought are my own!” “Oh my god why apologies” I exclaimed. If I could make jewellery I would, surely that’s the beauty of being a designer. You can create pieces for you. Whatever your heart desires, the jewellery equivalent of Wonka’s chocolate creations .
Such as a rose gold lightning bolt band which is interrupted by a stunning Herkimer Diamond. Whose natural rough aesthetic encapsulates a wild elegance that shouldn’t make sense but does.
Some of Miwako’s treasured items come from past collections such as the fantastic Mr Fox and his Bowler hat. A pair of earrings which come from her ‘London is Calling’ collection. A collection which was created to celebrate her living in London for 10yrs.
A celebration is exactly what Bark jewellery is. It’s a celebration of the world around us as told by an organic fluid designer who takes things as they come and re-creates them with a wishful romanticised eye. Now who doesn’t want a piece of that in their jewellery box?
Thanks so much to Miwako for her time and an enjoyable afternoon. My face still aches from all the giggles we had.
Click here for information regarding Bark’s stockists including a list of UK Paul Smith stores which carry Bark Jewels.