Initially a fashion and textile designer with a Masters from the prestigious Central Saint Martins School of Fashion in London, Braithwaite has supplied bespoke work to established fashion houses in Europe. Her jewellery is renowned for its textile innovation. Necklaces are crafted from well-appointed, reclaimed leathers which have been salvaged and put to good use, and have become a signature in her work. She considers her design ethos to be minimalist and her latest collection entitled Diameter reflects that, with a repetition of circles in various combinations. These, methodically explore the numerous combinations of two dimensional circles combined to create sculptural forms—no doubt an enticement to the artist types that her work attracts.
“Fashion inspires me and although jewellery is not made traditionally of cloth, it should still have that sentiment and wearability”.
A solo show at The National in 2012 entitled RE: showcased her work with an interest in reclaiming materials and continues to play a major influence in the ethics of the materials that she uses today.
“I am of the opinion that if something can be saved, I as a maker and consumer, want to make a more conscious decision in the things that I use and consider to be precious”.
Jennifer Braithwaite was born in Nottingham, England, and has called Lyttelton, New Zealand home for the past 15 years. Having completed a Masters Degree at Central Saint Martins in 1999 and working for noted names such as Sophia Kokosalaki, Harvey Nichols, Miss Selfridges and Monsoon and behind the scenes on numerous runway shows for London Fashion Weeks, Braithwaite embarked on a new journey into the world of jewellery here in New Zealand.
She has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions both here and internationally and her first major solo exhibition “Shadows”, at The National in 2008, launched her jewellery career here.
Other designers in New Zealand have been quick to spot the uniqueness and fashion forward approach of Braithwaite’s work and invited her to collaborate on collections for Fashion Week in 2008 and 2013.