Feb 26, 2015

Design Inspirations: Thought Provoking Insights on Designing for the Marketplace - 4

The second set of presentations on Day 2 of ‘Design Inspirations’ was an eclectic mix of ideas and approaches that at first glance would seem at best tangential to the process of creating exceptional jewellery collections. For, normally, when one discusses design in the context of the jewellery industry, distribution, retail and technology are not the first things that come to mind. Yet the three ‘master classes’ that were delivered during the session put any doubts at rest.

Setting the ball rolling was Suvankar Sen of Senco Gold & Diamonds who discussed the importance of distribution and retail in the expansion and growth of a jewellery brand, as well as the close connection both these factors have with design. He talked about the different retail segments and product categories and how to correctly choose retail locations and points of sale as well as the type of merchandise at each location. Sen explained how his own company had grown from a Kolkata based specialist in products designed by local craftsmen, to a 62 store all India brand.

He was followed by Umesh Ganjam of the well-known Bangalore based brand Ganjam which has many decades of experience in designing heritage jewellery and has introduced a modern segment of designer jewellery mainly in platinum, in recent years. He said that good jewellery combined art, philosophy, craftsmanship and retail, but the balance that had been achieved between these four factors in ancient India had been lost with the advent of industrialisation where craftsmanship became the cornerstone for manufacturing. “Today a creator of jewellery has not only to be an artist, but also a philosopher,” he said saying that factors like eco-friendly production, absence of child labour, even alternative materials were influencing consumer behaviour and must be taken into account while designing jewellery.

Presenting a fascinating point of view, Janak Mistry of Lexus spoke about how diamonds and technology were influencing jewellery design. Drawing a parallel from the world of automobiles he said, “A good product not only has to look elegant, it is also judged by its performance.” He then went on to draw a link between choosing diamonds that performed well in terms of parameters like brilliance and light return, and the elegance of the end product. In conclusion he explained the importance of Cut Design as the only C of a diamond that was influenced by man, and said that optimisation of cut through use of state-of-the-art computer-based technology offers jewellers access to a wide number of parameters that would allow them to find the right solutions for each specific design requirement.

The concluding presentation by Paola De Luca, founder The Futurist, and a leading trend forecaster in the jewellery industry, covered some of the approaches in understanding markets and consumer mind sets and forecasting jewellery. She talked about key markets and made a detailed presentation on the situation in the Eurozone, the different regions and the consumer characteristics of each as well as the Design Directions that she had forecast for 2015-16. These were Lightness, Haute Contrast, Glitzy Bloom, Glam Revival, Symbols and Bio Lace. Within each of these themes she identified possible sub-themes and examples of the type of jewellery that could fall within the category.

Thanking all those who had participated and worked for the seminar, Colin Shah, Convener Jewellery Panel Committee, GJEPC presented a summing up of the discussions and said that he hoped that the industry would work towards producing a Design Trends book for India, possibly by the next IIJS.

Sanjay Kothari, Convener, PMBD Sub Committee, which had organised the seminar, said that he looked forward to the next edition of Design Inspirations and promised that it would also encompass design trends for gold, coloured stones and even Swarovski gemstones.