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News > Catch Up:Rising Stars > Catch up with Jewellery Designer, Wiktoria Tao

Catch up with Jewellery Designer, Wiktoria Tao

Kicking off our series of stories from alumni working in the fashion industry meet Wik Tao (2018) a jewellery designer with her own successful brand.
4 Apr 2024
United Kingdom | Poland
Catch Up:Rising Stars
On a trip to New York (can you spot Mr Hudson in the background?)
On a trip to New York (can you spot Mr Hudson in the background?)

Q) Can you share some memories of studying art at Concord? What were you like as a student? What might your old teachers remember about you?

I remember studying Art was a pleasure, Mr. Hudson has always been very supportive, encouraging and helped students think outside the box and believe in themselves. In all honesty I was a bit lost in terms of what I wanted to do in the future which I think was noticeable but I did know it had to be in the Arts or Fashion industry. 

 

Q) Your first degree was at University of the Arts where you studied fashion illustration. Why did you choose that degree and what was that experience like? What inspired you to work in the fashion industry?

I chose Fashion Illustration mainly because of my general interest in fashion and fashion design. At the time I did not believe I could be a fashion designer so I have always thought fashion design is not for me but I knew I was good at drawing and that is what I love hence the choice of this course. It focused on illustration for publications and advertisements, animation and graphic design.

 

Q) Can you explain what motivated you to then become a jewellery designer?

I enjoyed the fashion illustration course but throughout the duration of it I felt like something was missing. I missed doing more crafts and making things by hand.

In Concord there was a period of time where I made some clay sculptures and it reminded me of when I was younger and used to do pottery and all sorts of clay objects and I think with time I realised I really want to try something like this again.

Towards the end of my studies at UAL I decided to explore the term 'lost wax casting' and learn more about jewellery making. I have heard this term before but had no idea what it meant or how artisanal jewellery is made. I quickly realised this craft is something that ties all my passions, interests and skills together and that I need to follow the instinct to pursue it. I signed up for short courses in jewellery making in London and then went to Rome for almost 1 year where I enrolled in a goldsmith school to learn all techniques of jewellery-making, from metalwork and lost wax casting to 3D design as well as stone-setting.

After that I knew I wanted to set up my own business. I developed a true love for handcrafting beautiful pieces of high quality and durability. 

 

Q) What was your first job/work experience and what did you learn from it? How did your qualifications help you get your first job? What else helped you get your first job?

After registering my business, I set up a small workshop at home and started practicing and working on making some stock. I then was accepted to take part in a crafts fair in my hometown where I sold my first pieces of jewellery and got to talk to potential buyers and other artists. The event as well as social media presence and previous familiarity with the fashion industry through work in modelling and wholesale really helped to kickstart my business.

I started getting emails and messages from stylists who want to rent the products for fashion shoots and editorials and from other business owners who want to stock my products online and in store. I also learned what the clients are looking for, what the market is lacking and it helped me reach my targeted audience better.

 

Q) Can you explain more about your current role – what do you do, what do you enjoy? What sort of skills and qualifications does someone need to succeed in your job? How important is it to have your own brand?

Currently I am the sole proprietor so I take care of every aspect of the business. I am still in the early stages so I am learning as I go. I am definitely much better in creating things than the business side but I am quite happy where I am and how it is progressing. I think it is important to be determined and know what you want. 

In terms of owning your own brand, I would say it depends. I really wanted to own my namesake brand which would reflect my own style and creativity and where I would not be limited to somebody else's designs. However,  I also think it would be amazing to work for a high-end jewellery house or for another independent goldsmith. 

 

Q) You left Concord 6 years ago, what do you imagine you will be doing 6 years from now?  Do you have a plan, or will you see how things go?

I cannot believe it's been 6 years!  I do not have a definite plan for the next 6 years but I would like to achieve a steady growth, have more in-store stockists and perhaps expand the brand to worldwide shipping.

 

Q) Any final words of advice for 17-year-old students hoping to work in fashion?

Do not compare yourself and your work to others, believe in yourself and be determined to pursue your goal. I spent too much time worrying my work is never good enough or comparing it to others (during my studies at UAL) which only led to lack of confidence and becoming uninspired.

 

Follow Wik on Instagram: /wiktoriatao/ and see more of her creations here: /wiktoriatao.jewellery

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