The jewellery design scene in Cape Town is a real gem. If you’ve ever strolled around at Design Indaba or Kamers, or popped into the various little local designer colab stores around the city, you have probably stopped and marveled at the tiny artworks sparkling on tables or swaying gently from stands.
I am like a crow when it comes to these, enthusiastically tucking my hair behind my ear and bending down for a closer look. Most of the time I am instantly drawn to the pieces from Famke, created by Cape Town local Famke Koene. I find her pieces refined, edgy, modern and feminine with simple but striking details that can make even the smallest stud stand out from the rest.
Inspired by geometry and bone castings Famke produces simply designed pieces in sterling silver and brass, as well as bespoke engagement rings and wedding bands. You’ll find Famke jewellery at a range of designer boutique stores, including the new Avant-Premiere Pop-Up shop in Kloof Street, Cape Town, where they share a space with brands like Thalia Straits, Yellow Jewellery, Bamboo Revolution, Lulu&Marula and many more.
I had a quick chat with Famke Koene about her sources of inspiration, creative process and the local fashion scene.
Tell me a bit about your creative process. How do you find inspiration for new pieces? Do you draw from the world around you / experiences and transfer that to the metal, or are you guided by the material you work with? Or is it a bit of both? And how does it go from an idea in your head to the final piece?
I draw inspiration from pretty much everything especially structured objects with striking lines that form patterns. Buildings are a big one for me! Ideas flow from one to another whilst at the bench. I’ll be working on a piece and the scraps form that piece will from an interesting shape might become the base of a new design.
I think what I love most about your pieces is that they’re simultaneously delicate and yet so strong and striking. Do you have a specific woman in mind when you create, and who is she? Or do you create according to your personal tastes?
To be honest, I create to my personal taste. I believe that your brand should completely encompass who YOU are since the truer you are to yourself the more believable it is for the public.
You’ve been in the fashion industry for a while now. How important is it to keep an eye on trends. Are you at all influenced? Or is it more important to find timeless pieces that express yourself?
I guess I am to an extent. I have never been very big on following trends as I feel like its quite a bit of effort (eek! Some people will hate me for saying that). When it comes to designing my range I guess trends do influence me somewhat but I also believe its very important to design pieces that will have a never-ending lifespan and that will not ‘age’.
What are your thoughts on the local fashion scene. Do you think local designers are producing quality products to compete with international imports? And are you finding enough support from the industry, media and customers?
I think the local scene here in South Africa is booming! There are designers out there that are making really epic things! Fashion, ceramics, textiles, furniture, hats… everything! It’s a pretty exciting time right now!
Are there any new pieces in the works? What can we look forward to?
We are launching our new range mid-March and we’re really excited about it!
If you had to pick a favourite piece, which one would it be?
The XL web necklace!