To see just how popular the British jewellery and accessories label Tatty Devine is, one need only step out wearing one of its vibrantly hued perspex pieces — then watch the compliments fly. We're talking thumbs up on the Tube, strangers stopping us on the street, and appreciative nods all around.
Even Queen Elizabeth can't resist the playful brand, as evidenced by a letter received by co-founders Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine late last year. The news, printed on a piece of surprisingly thin stationery? Her Majesty was bestowing them with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) as part of her 2013 New Year Honours List. No big deal.
Despite the fact that they're receiving said MBE in a matter of weeks — the date is exuberantly circled on the office calendar — Wolfenden and Vine couldn't have been more down-to-earth as they invited us into their Shoreditch studio. Surrounded by mood boards, their now-iconic name necklaces, ladybug rings, and a giant Easter bonnet fashioned after a fried egg (it's meant to be worn by two people at the same time), the designers and their superstar employees wowed us with their playful style, and told us what it's really like to be recognised as one of Britain's brightest fashion stars.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi
Tell us about finding out that you were getting an MBE.
Rosie: "The news about the MBE was really hard to process. I had never thought about the potential of getting one, or thought about what it means to get one. It was surreal!"
Harriet: "I got the call from Rosie and just happened to be walking by our shitty old studio. I looked up and thought, how is this happening?!"
Harriet wears a vintage top, Tatty Devine necklace, and an H&M skirt over Miu Miu shorts.
How did you two first meet?
Rosie: "We met at Chelsea School of Art but became friends in the second year after I moved in with Harriet. We waitressed together at the V&A and pretty much spent all our time together."
Besides your Tatty Devine pieces, what jewellery means the most to you?
Harriet: "I suppose we should say our wedding rings."
Rosie: "My husband and I are really into signet rings, and since we have the same initials — my first name is actually Alice — we had this ring engraved. It's from Hatton Gardens. I also have a locket that my grandmother gave me that I love. It belonged to her sister who died, so it's a bit sad but also very beautiful."
The spring '13 Tatty Devine collection on display, featuring Hot House Leaves and Ladybird designs. Drawing inspiration from India, the designers celebrated the collection's launch with a festive Holi party.
How would you describe your working environment?
Rosie: "Our workplace is a really creative space and a hub of activity. Everyone works closely together whether they are doing the accounts or sampling a new design."
Working girl: Rosie gets down to business in a Tatty Devine necklace, Acne top, Prada skirt, and Tracey Neuls heels.
Harriet, you have a young daughter. Does she ever play dress-up with the Tattty Devine collection?
"Bebe is welcome to wear my Tatty Devine pieces, but as of yet she has been too busy getting messy and climbing on things. She is not into dressing up."
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Harriet: "It could be anywhere, really. Sometimes you see something and it doesn't really work at the time. Other times you have an idea and you start to see it everywhere, and it just makes sense and everything goes from there."
You've done some fashion collaborations, but do you ever see yourself moving into clothing or other ranges?
Rosie: "You never know, but not anytime soon. We've considered licensing to homewares and things like that, but for now we really like focusing on what we do best."
What are the challenges of sharing an office with each other?
Rosie: "Sharing an office with Harriet has its pros and cons. It's important that we are together so we can constantly communicate, but we often need different head spaces so sometimes dream of having a studio each. We dream of having more space generally!"
Tell us about what you're working on now.
Harriet: "Our mood board is a mix of planet and space themes, and a lot of Peter Max art. Like I said before, you can see something you've seen several times before and then all of a sudden it connects with something else that you're working on, and it makes sense."
A jeweller's paradise: Every crystal and perspex doo-dad imaginable is housed in the downstairs studio.
Do you have any idea what you're going to wear the meet the Queen?
Harriet: "No idea! I need to go shopping!"
Pieces are made by hand downstairs, while a factory in Kent handles the bulk orders.
Did we just hear someone say, 'Lunch is ready'?
Rosie: "Yes, we all take turns cooking a big vegetarian meal for each other. It's just easier."
Harriet: "On Fridays, people go out and get their own lunch, which makes Fridays really exciting."
What celebrity would you love to work with?
Rosie: "Beyoncé would be amazing."
How do you divide the work between yourselves?
Harriet: "I'm the creative director, so I do the designing bits, and Rosie is our managing director."
Rosie: "I don't pretend to know how to actually make a necklace, but I am good at talking and making connections."