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Husam el Odeh: Engineered Jewellery

The one-time Fine Art student turns his attention to a collection for the Sefton boutique after collaborating with both Marios Schwab and Acne

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