Art as Fashion

as seen in GQ Style Australia Spring/Summer ’12 Edition

pg. 50 – GQ Style Australia

A flock of swallows clutching your throat; two panthers fighting on your wrist; a boy’s head hanging at your chest. This isn’t your regular, everyday jewellery, but Jordan Askill, the man who designed it, didn’t get where he is today by being regular.

“I was always in my own world, making things, recreating things,” says 30-year-old Askill, thinking back to his childhood in Sydney. “Rings; kaleidoscopes; I created a cruise ship and outfits and objects for inside it. They’re my earliest memories. I have scrapbooks of designs I did when I was much younger, but I was never quite aware of what that was leading to.”

Coming from a creative family, his talents thrived. “My mother worked for a composer and my father was a musician,” he says. “They were always encouraging me and my brothers, and making us feel like it was the way you were meant to be.”

After studying at the Sydney Institute of Technology, Askill got his foot in the door of the fashion world when he joined Ksubi as a designer. He loved what he did, but it wasn’t long before his eye was caught by the lure of the overseas fashion houses. In 2008, he moved to Dior Homme in Paris – and it was during his time there that his interests shifted away from clothing.

“Being in Paris, with Versailles and the Louvre, and being so surrounded by history and sculpture, I kind of wanted to try and recreate these historical objects,” he explains. It was when he began working on his own sculptures that he realised size wasn’t everything. As well as larger pieces, he started making smaller ones, that eventually metamorphosed into jewellery. “They’re little pieces that you can take away with you.”

Today, Askill lives in London, where his work has been heaped with industry praise. He won a Grand Marnier Designer Award for Fashion Excellence, and the British Fashion Council awarded him a sponsorship to exhibit his collection at London Fashion Week in 2011. His designs have caught the eye of the A-list too, with Taylor Swift, Emma Stone, Pixie Geldof and Keira Knightly all clients and fans of his work.

Askill’s creations are known for their intricate detail, particularly in his sculptural animal pieces. “I really wanted to recreate animals that look like they’re moving images, like photos from a film, captured in time,” he says. “I love the idea of freedom in animals and how they aren’t caught up in societal ways.”

The future certainly looks bright for Askill, with a project with British super brand Top Shop in the works as well as “a few things” with jewellery house Swarovski and fair-trade mining company, Gemfields. As well as these collaborations, he hopes to reunite artistically with his brothers, Daniel and Lorin, who are film directors here in Australia. Either way, he looks likely to be kept busy for a long time yet. “At the moment its pretty hectic,” he says with a smile. “There are so many different projects and productions and it’s all really good. I feel very fortunate to be able to do all of these things.”