Written + Photographed By Kelley Mullarkey  |  Video Produced By Sean Stillmaker 

Chance and nostalgia are two of fashion’s most beloved identities. An irresistible concoction carrying endearing familiarity, they give birth to negotiable borders and fluidity. They harness the magic and make our ephemeral moments of sartorial participation so exhilarating.

For Jessica, a London jewelry designer and cultural pioneer, there are no boundaries between life, style and self-expression. The delight rests in the unforeseen and rediscovered.

Driven by the feeling of finding an unexpected treasure and the freedom of leaving her path up to fate, Jessica’s serendipitous philosophy is most enchanting.

Combining her charismatic sense of playful heraldry with a desire to recreate stories through her work she gives the world new narratives told through a reassembled poetic looking glass. 

Once Sean and I climbed inside her Central London studio, or rather atelier, a typically wet and dreary day in London immediately transformed into an afternoon of specular wonder. 

Myriad oddities and eccentricities such as a taxidermy squirrel, vintage cabinetry and sprawling collection of precious metals, books and gems covered every inch and corner of her elusive haven. Surrounded by nostalgia and longing for a time I’d never know, her place felt more like a set piece out of Wuthering Heights or The Picture of Dorian Gray.

From the treasure trove trinkets to her whimsical wardrobe, the quintessential vintage aesthetic infused with modern day accents embodies Jessica’s personality and character so devastatingly well. Visually gifted with a meticulous attention to detail, Jessica flawlessly injects extraordinary into what others deem ordinary.

Clad in mixed prints, Diane von Furstenberg boots, her signature red relished resin apple necklace and a blinking peeping tom dolly eye ring when we arrived, her cheeky chic style comes beautifully wrapped. It instantly warms your heart.

The youngest of five super artistic children, Jessica grew up in the type of creative atmosphere that reads more like a surreal dream than reality to most of us. Her father, an antiquarian who had spent years working alongside a prolific book dealer in Charring Cross, turned their home into a bookshop selling and dealing rare books.

During those early days of adolescence Jessica spent her free time selling handmade jewelry at the seaside, running her own teeny tiny business at the age of 12. She frequented auctions with her granny and mom and Camden market with her sister, who now owns a coffee shop. 

Navigating from the deep waters of wanting to become a doctor or pursuing a career in art therapy, she studied photography during her A-levels. Creating sketchbooks the size of portfolios, her work constantly remained over the top, pages filled with sewing and design pieces alongside her photography.

After completing a foundation course at Central Saint Martins, Jessica reconnected with jewelry. Having established that she enjoyed creating stories and tributes, she spent her gap year doing everything under the sun to build up her portfolio to apply for a degree course.

As the rain continued to fall outside and we endlessly filled our teacups up to the brim, Jessica modestly explained that it was a chance encounter during her first year at Central Saint Martins that truly set the basis of her career.

“I found a bag for 20 quid at Camden market one afternoon. When I opened it later at home it was filled with documents including a birth certificate for a woman named Daisy Hooper, photographs and her mother’s funeral card entitled ‘Until The Day Break.’ Her life was reduced to the contents of the bag.”

Over the next three years Jessica created jewelry, including her trademark wax seals, based off of the photographs. She made tributes to and about Daisy, concluding with her degree show based on the life of a handbag.

Building upon that niche concept, Jessica’s passion lays in sourcing objects and creating jewelry that interacts within the objects, using them to create stories.

“I’m always out searching for things, collecting objects. That’s what I do. They’re part of my creative process and pattern,” proclaimed Jessica in a vintage 1950s skirt and top, acorn patterned tights and Melisa flats.

For the final piece of her degree she wrote an article about antique and disposable clothing and printed the article on fabric.

“I made clothes for this little woman that sat in a small factory. It was a play on her wearing something that was made by her but at the same time she was part of this factory line.”

From collections of letters purchased on eBay to stacks of old photographs thrifted from flea markets, Jessica is drawn to people and identity and fuels that into her creations. Uninspired by pop culture and mass production, Jessica’s work is not only about incredible inspiration but about the importance of sustainable small business owners and designs.

In her precious pineapple patterned shorts and vintage 60s beaded top Jessica soulfully explained to us that without a narrative she couldn’t create. As someone who doesn’t gravitate towards shapes or forms for inspiration Jessica looks to artists such as Polly Morgan, Peter Blake, Elsa Schiaparelli and the aesthetics of the Victorian Era.

“I love elements of mourning jewelry, taxidermy and the interesting and weird way people behaved during that time period.”

Using personal style and design to celebrate the preservation of cultural heritage, Jessica places importance on storytelling and the human spirit. 

Charming, adventurous and exquisitely rich in mind, body and soul Jessica is the ultimate creative encounter.

Music By Randy Lamont Jones 


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