Daniela Groza is a jewellery designer creating flair flourished as producing jewellery became increasingly difficult. Turning lemons into lemonade, the University of Edinburgh alumna sought out alternative ways of promoting her pieces, from presenting her work on collages to launching instagram-filters through which people could try on her full-range. Her jewellery aims to reduce the environment impact of jewellery, while supporting inclusivity of size, race and gender. Her innovative work can now be seen in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK as part of our Global Young Talent, read on to discover how Daniela challenged herself and cultivated a new way of working!
1. You recently graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art, how was it graduating during such a strange time and how have you adapted to not being able to access your workshop?
This experience has made me stronger as a person and has pushed me to be even more creative than usual and to think outside the box. I had to rethink my whole graduate collection and find ways of producing it from home. I succeeded at designing my whole collection digitally and even made an Instagram filter, enabling people to wear my jewellery virtually. My plan for the upcoming Academic year is to develop my jewellery brand and make some of my final graduate designs as part of an Artist in Residence Programme I have been accepted to. At the same time, I will aim to bridge the gap between jewellery and technology with my Masters in Design Informatics at The University of Edinburgh.
"I succeeded at designing my whole collection digitally and even made an Instagram filter, enabling people to wear my jewellery virtually."
2. Your jewellery celebrates inclusivity, how is this translated in the designs and what importance do you attach to inclusivity?
My graduate collection, “Modern Venus” explores the topic of feminism, celebrating diversity of shape, size and skin tone. We are all one, this collection enables individuals to connect to each other, going beyond the superficiality of looks. My pieces are comprised of a variety of metals, from yellow gold, silver to rose gold and oxidised silver, resulting in jewellery that matches all skin types.
3. You work with recycled silver, saying designers have a responsibility to uphold, why do you feel so strongly about this and how do you and can other designers take responsibility?
Sustainability is the future. It is important that people become more ecologically aware. It is in the hands of us, as designers, to deliver ethically made products and raise awareness of the negative implications of the jewellery and fashion industries. We need to come up with alternatives such as the recycling of precious metals rather than extracting new raw material, a laborious degrading practice. I collect and reuse all my silver scrap and remelt it, using it for new projects. Next, I plan to recycle gold family heirlooms that has been passed down in my family.
"Sustainability is the future. It is important that people become more ecologically aware."
4. You have been participating in many virtual events, making your jewellery available through Instagram filters, creating interesting collages, how can we image this process and what has the reaction been like?
During lockdown I had to push my boundaries and learn to showcase my work in new and more creative ways. Cutting out pieces from different photographs and creating new collages has been an effective way of mixing and matching different facial features (eyes, lips, ears) and give life to “new people”, who became my virtual models. The idea of creating Instagram filters for people to virtually try on my jewellery came to me after noticing people’s great interest in using filters to take selfies online. It turned out to be a great marketing strategy. The Jewellery department at my University asked me to design another one including a design from each graduating student. I then made one showcasing both interchangeable earrings and brooches and we did an online event for it which received a lot of popularity.
5. What have you learnt during your time at university and what tips do you have for future fashion/jewellery students?
It is important that they show interest in every opportunity that comes their way and seek knowledge as much as possible. Be curious, talkative and visit all the other design departments to see what they are all about and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to take risks, University is the place to do so! Dare to be different! If you want to experiment developing your own material, do it! If you wanna try out combining metal with textiles, do it! University is the time to explore what you like and truly find yourself as an artist/designer.
"Be curious, talkative and visit all the other design departments to see what they are all about and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to take risks, University is the place to do so!"
Discover Daniela Groza's full collection
Words by Lupe Baeyens