Husam El Odeh has an uncanny knack of taking something simple and recreating it into something modern and beautiful by way of a unique twist. He often uses dated materials, such as pearls and armour, and has morphed them into a pearled ear cuff for Marios Scwab, and a stainless steel shin addition for Acne. Thankfully, Odeh changed tact from Fine Art to find his vocation in the world of jewellery. A selection of his designs are soon to be available at boutique Sefton in Islington...
Dazed Digital: What made you turn to jewellery after studying fine art?
Husam El Odeh: I started as a fine artist but somehow got a little overtired of the focus on yourself, jewellery was perfect as it’s useless just like art but feels more like something useful. Also I really like that people wear my work on their body it feels so much more immediate than a piece of art. My approach for a jewellery designer is very broad and I am particularly interested in the in between areas.
DD: You collaborated with Marios Schwab whilst going into your third year at Middlesex University - how did you two meet each other?
Husam El Odeh: We met in Berlin about 12 years ago in a club. He was at Esmod and became something of my muse... We sort of moved to London together and when I was thinking about changing to jewellery, he really encouraged me.
DD: Where do you look to for inspiration?
Husam El Odeh: I tend to become slightly obsessed with things and then accumulate information and visuals. I collect things I find in the streets, I have a bit of a soft spot for useless things generally... I guess jewellery is a bit useless too...
DD: Last year you released a collection for Topman that focused on stereotypical ‘boy toys’ such as cars and spanners, did you enjoy delving back into a slightly childhood aesthetic to create this?
Husam El Odeh: It was a nice excuse to go to one of those model shops where you can get scale models of soldiers, cars and airplanes.
DD: The metal clothing adornments for Acne were highly regarded - what was your inspiration behind that?
Husam El Odeh: Jonny wanted me to make some "gardening lady" kind of things - like a straw hat and halfmoon glasses - but harden them up by covering them in metal. When he came to my studio there was a sample that I had made at university, a pair of jeans shorts with a metal patch covering the leather tag on the wall. He went straight to that...I developed it a little by adding the jeans texture onto the metal, almost pattern on pattern and a bit like knee patches.
DD: Your collection at Sefton focuses on fluid, relaxed shapes why is this?
Husam El Odeh: It started with a charm I was given that I wanted to wear but in its intricate decorations seemed too tasteless, so I decided to melt it down, and halfway through found myself intrigued by the stage in which it was about to disappear but a hint of its former shape remained. A romantic take on the sculptural traditions of the likes of Anish Kappoor, infused with a narrative. One part of this process that particularly interested me was the pseudo scientific feeling this had, reminiscent of the futile efforts of the Alchemists.
DD: What is you favourite piece from the Sefton selection and why?
Husam El Odeh: The offset stone ring. I have used this idea before with a double ring, this season I stripped it down and it really works, visually and structurally, so its a bit of a "jewellery engineering" achievement.
Text by Hollie Lacayo
The Sefton Womenswear
271 Upper Street
London, N1 2UQ
020 7226 9822
The collection will land in Sefton on November 22, 2010