Working with family members can be hit or miss, but for Australian jewellery label Linden Cook, it’s thankfully the former. Cook, the creative architect behind her eponymous brand, was always tinkering with things, but it was only after her daughters gifted her a jewellery-making course that she turned her attention to hand-making the incredible pieces that sell today. Her eldest daughter, Georgie Amad is the managing director, and dips her toes into most facets of the business, from creative to operational.
Together, along with the rest of their team, they produce beautiful pieces, all handmade and thus unique, depending on the raw materials and craftsmanship put into them. The new collection, called Collection 5.0, is due to launch July 2, and has been a labour of Cook, Amad, and the team for a while now.
Vogue sat down with Amad ahead of the launch to talk all things creativity, inspiration, and juggling family life with professional life. Read on for the interview.
Where did your love for jewellery come from?
“My mum, Linden grew up in London selling jewellery at Petticoat Lane markets. She has always been drawn to shapes and textures, spending her days at flea markets and op shops hunting for items to enhance by cutting, sewing, dying and changing the shapes. My grandfather was a huge influence on us growing up too, always restoring furniture, household fixtures and whatever he could get his hands on. Mum is a creator of all things; jewellery came later in the piece when she started to experiment with wax ring moulding.”
Talk me through the launch of Linden Cook – was there a plan?
“I’m not sure we could call it a plan. It all started when we bought Mum a jewellery course for Mother’s Day one year. She started making all these beautiful pieces. When my sister Ellie and I would wear them, the response we received from people was incredible. Soon enough, Mum was confident she could produce jewellery of exceptional quality from what she’d learnt, and we slowly started taking orders from family and friends. Mum is the most creative person I know, but she didn’t really have a business background. We complement each other very well in our strengths.”
What does a normal day look like for you?
“No day is the same when you run a family business and have an energetic one year old. A normal day can consist of anything from working at the jewellery bench where we hand craft and polish pieces, developing moodboards and concepts for new ranges or doing my best to look presentable for a business meeting – a day the studio is as glamorous as most would assume! We have an open style studio where everyone works together in a very casual and collaborative space. My little girl Halle often makes a guest appearance where our efficiency levels drop considerably.”
How do you get the creative juices flowing before you begin the design process?
“We find that working with different mediums provides endless inspiration. Mum is the creative mastermind behind all of our collections. For example, in the development of Collection 5.0, she created light fittings and experimented to see how the light catches and falls from different surfaces. We have always been drawn to a black and white colour palette; exploring negative and positive space. None of our pieces are born from pencil draftings.”
What are your go-to resources for staying up to date with the fashion industry?
“We don’t really focus on staying up to date with trends specifically. We like to be in the know about what is happening, but our focus is on things like what metal people currently love, or whether people are wearing more bold or delicate pieces. We use Instagram, Pinterest and emerging street style from all over the world.”
Who are some designers that inspire you?
“We adore the work of the late Karl Lagerfeld, Australian designer Toni Maticevski and costume designer Manfred Thierry Mugler.”
And what about Instagram – are there accounts you love to follow?
“We’re attracted to individuality, those pushing the boundaries and people who don’t take the industry too seriously. We like people who aren’t concerned about the flow of their grid and make an effort be genuine in each post. We follow people who post imagery with a deeper meaning and food for thought. A few favourites are @c_l_o , @collecteurs, @artsy, @avant.arte.”
What's the most treasured piece you've ever designed?
“I was actually lucky enough to receive the first ever Fingerprint Necklace. We had a rough start that kept us in hospital for six weeks after Halle was born. Mum and Ellie spent months designing and producing the most beautiful gift I have ever received: a delicate 9k gold pendant of Halle’s fingerprint dangling on a fine gold chain. We all knew from the emotional response to the piece that we were onto something truly special and that every mother, father, brother, sister, grandparents and friend should share this truly eternal gift.”