Jewellery design grad Jo Tan has taken the internet by storm with her refreshing, tribal-influenced take on nose jewellery. I was lucky enough to chat with Jo about her label Joanne T.  to find out more about the fascinating Central Saint Martins graduate and her intriguing debut collection.

Tell us a bit about your artistic background, where you’re currently based, and how you came to work with jewellery.

I graduated from Central Saint Martins, London last summer. Currently I am based in Malaysia. Since [I was] young, I have always been interested in objects that interact with the human body and I believe art and design are one of the ways that I could express myself without any restriction. During my year in Foundation studies, I was allowed to try out different design pathways. Jewellery design is among one of the subjects that I tried out and I found that I enjoy craftsmanship. Thus, I decided to pursue this field. 

Your graduate collection’s title, “Not Your Average Beauty”, lends itself to ideas regarding identity and the value we place on beauty conventions - tell us about the thematic direction of your work, and what you most would want the public to take away from your work.

My works are concept driven and my design development uses a topical approach. My design revolves around the idea of "In jewellery I ensure dialogue". Using minimal and subtle design, I create visual impacts, conversation and interaction through or with jewellery. 

Your nose cuffs have garnered considerable attention on the internet, and were covered by Vogue France. What was your design process like for these avant-garde pieces, and what motivated the idea behind your elaborate take on nose jewellery in particular?

While I was working on the collection, I was interested in the topic of beauty and plastic surgery. I notice that it is a huge trend, especially in Asia where I come from. This then made me start to research plastic surgery and experiment with different structures and shapes that could be placed on the face. The nose was chosen because it is one of the most common facial [features] for plastic surgery. Thus, the creation of nose pieces emerged.

How important has social media and an online presence been for you to establish your name in jewellery - or in wider terms, fashion?

Both social media and an online presence have really helped me in exposing my works to any possible audience out there, since information can be easily accessed and spread through the internet these days. 

You incorporate classic stones, diamonds and pearls into your pieces. What was your process like in sourcing quality materials and elements to put together your creations?

When it came to sourcing materials and elements for the creations, I spent time in both research and talking/meeting people from the jewellery industry to gain information and knowledge. The opportunity to study in London and travelling around different parts of the world have also allowed me to gain relevant information and knowledge in material sourcing.

Tell us about where you see yourself moving forward from here - continuing jewellery, or maybe expanding into other areas?

Currently, I am working on developing my own brand and establishing a client base. I look forward to collaboration opportunities with people from a different design background. Jewellery would be the core in my design career, however, I am always open to any new opportunities. 

Photographer: Zhonglin Stylist: Yii MUA: Alicia Model: Andrea B

Photographer: Zhonglin
Stylist: Yii
MUA: Alicia
Model: Andrea B