Australian jewellery designer, Lucy Folk, brings the idea of fashion craving to a whole new level, creating jewellery made entirely out of food – one of fashion’s, dare we say, most taboo subjects.
For SS13, Lucy has created BENTO, a range of delectable jewellery created with and inspired by musician Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon.
With a childhood spent so much around food in her father’s restaurants, it comes as no surprise that Lucy Folk grew up as a self confessed health foodie with added creative flair. Launching her range of wearable not edible food in 2000, she turns everyday mundane objects into timeless beautiful pieces that come with an added playful agenda.
The collaboration with Little Dragon’s Yukimi gives jewellery pieces that would be considered traditional and classic – from the skinny bangle to the hoop earring – a fun and colourful edge. This double act fuses together two opposite ends of the spectrum, food and music, resulting in a fashion dish that looks good enough to eat.
Anna Westerman caught up with the foodie and the musician to talk all things tasty …
FLUX: How have your individual backgrounds shaped you into the designers/artists you are today and what effect have they had on your chosen design route for the BENTO collaboration?
YUKIMI NAGANO: I grew up in Sweden, with a Japanese father and an American mother. My mother would play Joni Mitchell, Earth Wind and Fire and Leonard Cohen a lot in the house. My father was a workaholic industrial illustrator during the day and struggling artist at night.
I think my childhood clash of cultures and meeting my band members in my teens is all part why I’m here doing what I love. I was drawn to Lucy’s ability to be inspired by food and create beautiful jewellery. Her approach felt original and feminine but fun. The BENTO collection is filled with the Japanese food of my childhood: rice, wasabi broad beans, sesame seeds, green tea, pumpkin seeds, etc.
LUCY FOLK: My background was spent behind the scenes in my father’s restaurants, so this has had a huge influence on me. And although I have moved away from hospitality, I continue to work in food – just in a different capacity! I was always encouraged to be creative and wanted to be an artist in some form, so it’s amazing to be able to manifest my creativity into making beautiful jewellery for people to wear!
FLUX: Why the connection with food and fashion?
YUKIMI: Why not?! Two of the most fun things! At the moment I’m living in the studio and our kitchen is where I experiment and feel at home. Good food makes my day and fashion to me is another creative platform for expression – so connecting the two is a match made in heaven!
LUCY: I love fashion and have always been inspired by it, however, I also think it is important not to take oneself too seriously! So given my appreciation for good food I thought it would be nice to introduce fun food-inspired jewellery into the fashion arena.
FLUX: And how did music come into and influence the collection?
LUCY: I have been a fan of Little Dragon for some time and what strikes me the most is the combination of different sounds they integrate into their music. This influenced me to incorporate some new materials into the collection. I used resin for the first time, and because the range is something that Yukimi will wear on stage I thought it would be fun to make some of the resin components pieces glow in the dark!
Because Little Dragon’s music invokes a spectrum of crazy colours for me, I also made sure to include loads of colour in the collection – painting silk in sushi inspired hues!
FLUX: Certain food can be so personable to people in regards to their culture, upbringing or simply just being their favourite delicacies. Fashion on the other hand with it being ever changing, can be argued to be disposable to a person in terms of its longevity. With this in mind, how important was it to you to choose to use food in your work in terms of adding this personal touch to your designs, rather than just simply creating “fashion”?
LUCY: I trained at RMIT in Melbourne, where they taught us to make sure that there is always a concept behind your work. I’m not interested in simply making beautiful things that are aesthetically pleasing but rather seeking to create jewellery that has a point of difference and is somewhat humorous. Food is something I enjoy and it inspires me – there are so many different cuisines to explore… the ideas are endless!! Plus who doesn’t want to wear a solid sterling silver pretzel necklace? I tell you what I have sold a food truck full of them!!
FLUX: You are clearly proud “foodies”. How important do you think it is for people to eat well and be knowledgeable about food, in terms of championing a better and more balanced lifestyle?
YUKIMI: I think enjoying good food makes life rich. It’s easy to be ignorant these days about food. Sometimes I try to see shopping for groceries as a way to vote with my wallet. Food is both political and environmental, so trying to stay conscious about what you are eating should be important.
LUCY: I pride myself on my knowledge about food – in fact as I write this I am eating quinoa for breakfast with cinnamon, bee pollen, maqui powder and coconut oil.
It is of the utmost importance to me to have a balanced lifestyle and although I do love to eat good food and drink delicious cocktails I also make sure I have at least 4 alcohol free days a week and eat loads of fresh fish and vegetables. Plus I do pilates and a serious cardio session three times a week. This helps me to stay fit and feel my best.
FLUX: Is there a particular item of food you’d choose never to immortalise in a design?
LUCY: I choose the particular food items carefully for their shape, form, flavour and impact. Therefore if I don’t like certain foods I won’t use them in my jewellery. It is as much about the aesthetic as the subject matter, so I would never create wearable food out of chicken nuggets, fish fingers or something unhealthy, as I don’t want to promote that sort of food.
FLUX: And finally, plans for the future of the brand? Do you have any urges to venture away from the food theme? Or possibly even out of jewellery and into clothing?
LUCY: I do make jewels outside of the food theme; I make commission pieces, such as engagement rings and wedding bands. I’m also collaborating with a fabulous tailor in Australia and creating some fun summery pieces – so watch this space!
So food and fashion? As Yukimi says “why not?” Don’t mind if we do…
Browse the Lucy Folk BENTO collaboration with Yukimi Nagano for yourself at www.lucyfolk.com
Words by Anna Westerman