Rebellious Grace: Brisbane-based jewellery label talks origins, trends and ethics
The Creative Issue sat down with Zoe Mayne, owner and designer of Brisbane-based jewellery label, Rebellious Grace. We touched on a broad range of topics from Rebellious Grace’s origins in Bali, the current jewellery trends, what’s next for her brand, and the importance of ethical production.
The Creative Issue: How did Rebellious Grace get started?
Zoe Mayne: Backtracking maybe ten years, I’m a fashion designer by trade and went through all the fashion routes then it wasn’t until 2018 that I was on a bit of a soul searching journey and I was in Bali and I just felt this soul calling to open a store. I wasn’t sure what it was yet but I wanted a space that I could welcome people into. Basically, that night I came across a manifestation cacao ceremony and in that ceremony the words rebellious grace just kept coming to me and then through meditation for the following six weeks I just kept hearing rebellious grace and it was so loud I actually have journal entries dating back with “rebellious grace, rebellious grace” [written in them].
I have some friends that have a business on James Street and I came down in January 2019. I just saw a pop up lease space available and I was like, “I’m taking it”. Then everything fell into place, I had experience in jewellery design and manufacturing so I thought okay this can work and I wanted to bring an atelier vibe to Brisbane where you can come in and customise it… so I opened up and launched the entire brand in March 2019.
TCI: Have you always been interested in jewellery design?
ZM: No, funnily enough I went to a psychic during my quarter life crisis when I was like 25 and I didn’t know what I was doing with my life so I went to a psychic just to give me direction and she [said] “I see you making jewellery”… and I laughed at her. I was like “ew jewellery gross” and also my background is fashion and I basically only wear black so I thought colour? jewellery? Gross no. Then I ended up working for other businesses in jewellery and really found the market for what I’m doing now: affordable high quality jewellery.
TCI: Tell me a bit about the name Rebellious Grace?
ZM: I sat with it for a while and then I just thought rebellious grace is my design aesthetic of course! My design, even with fashion as well, I love graceful silhouettes and cuts but also things that are a little left of centre, not like the others.
TCI: What drew you to jewellery over fashion design?
ZM: What I love about jewellery as opposed to fashion clothing design is jewellery is really inclusive, anyone of any size can wear it, it will always fit you, whereas a lot of [clothing] brands aren’t size inclusive. I really try and focus on making it approachable.
TCI: You’ve moved to online primarily due to COVID-19, how are you adjusting?
ZM: I desperately would love a [store] again because that’s the heart and soul of the brand, welcoming people in to design their own pieces. However, during covid the blessing was everyone moved to online, so online is just booming… I’m trying to catch my tail with that.
TCI: How would you describe your personal style?
ZM: I would just say mood-driven and weather-driven. My design style and how I dress is very different. The way that I design is always structure-based and silhouette-based. I’m heavily inspired by architecture and texture, my personal style is honestly just comfort-driven these days.
TCI: Can you tell me about the inspiration behind your newest collection, Priestess?
ZM: Since I’ve closed the [brick and mortar] store I’ve connected with some amazing businesswomen and we’ve all been sharing our personal and business struggles and there’s this resounding resilience in all of their stories. So I really loved the idea of the crowns on our heads and the sun that we emit when we enter a room so I just incorporated the structure of a sun and built it all around that.
TCI: What do you think customers are looking for at the moment in jewellery?
ZM: From what my customers have told me it’s definitely comfort. I think we are really getting over heavy earrings. Maximalism a few years ago was just ginormous earrings that weighed a tonne but we’re now doing maximalism by using lots of chains, lots of layered earrings and lots of bracelets. I think a lot of people are wanting to mix and match and style everything.
TCI: Do you make your collections based on trends?
ZM: I think I intuitively feel into trends and just pick what I want from them in terms of manufacturing and manufacturing costs. I work with some really beautiful, ethical manufacturers so I won’t use things that I can’t source back to make sure it’s an ethical process. A lot of crystals are mined by very underpaid, if not unpaid, people so I use lots of glass that is manufactured in really beautiful factories.
[In terms of trends] We are starting to see the end of pearls so I’ll start moving into new textures as well. There are also some things that are just so overdone that I just won’t touch because it’s too trend-driven so I always like to put my own unique spin on it.
TCI: Where do you want Rebellious Grace to be in the future?
ZM: Covid really shifted this for me. So pre-Covid I just thought multiple stores, I wanted it to be a really beautiful, accessible brand that’s basically in Westfield’s all around Australia. Then covid hit and I worked from home and I started composting and life was slow and it was beautiful and I thought maybe I don’t need a million stores and staff. Am I just chasing success because that’s what society is telling me that I want to do? The lockdown ended and I went back into my store and thought I want multiple stores [again]! So now I want to basically live quality life over being told what success is so I’m still trying to define that for myself.
To take a look at Zoe’s collections and subsequently add everything to cart, click here.