Since starting Tatty Devine in 1999, founding ladies Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden have fast become synomonous with cool, must-have pieces. Their iconic designs are instantly recognisable and every single piece is made in-store, by-hand, by one of team Tatty.
With two shops in London, Tatty Devine represents quirky British style across the globe (with pieces sold across Europe, America and Asia), and the brand has built up an army of devotees.
Here, we talk to Rosie about setting up the company, what inspires Tatty designs and why every budding jewellery maker should own two pairs of pliers…
Harriet wanted to be a page 3 model and I wanted to be an opera singer which is a bit silly considering that Harriet is flat chested and I can’t sing!
When did you realise you wanted to be a jewellery designer?
When we both left college we got into making stuff together. The ‘stuff’ quite quickly became jewellery because somehow making small decorative objects fitted with our skills and ideas.
Did you undertake any specific qualifications or work experience?
No, we played it by ear and trial-and-error with a little bit of help from our friends (well – Harriet’s parents).
What was the inspiration for Tatty Devine? How did you come up with this name?
After selling leather cuffs on Portobello Market for a month or so, people started enquiring about buying them for their shops (Urban Outfitters were one of the first!) This made us realise that a name was needed. We tried a few words but particularly liked ‘Devine’ as at Chelsea [Rosie and Harriet met whilst studying Chelsea School Of Art’s Fine Art degree] we all called Harriet ‘Miss DeVine’ for fun. We also liked the word Tatty as we both had an obsession for buying old tatty things that looked like they had been well loved with lots of character. When we first told someone we were called Tatty Devine they said: ‘oh yes, I’ve heard of you’ and it was from this moment we knew the name was right.
If we have to whittle it down, the Dinosaur Necklace as it’s instantly recognisable as Tatty Devine. We were very fond of the Goggles hair band in our AW10 collection and this season we particularly like the Melon necklaces.
What are the best and worst things about working in jewellery design?
We hate that we sometimes have to say ‘no’ when people ask to work with us, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Early in our career we were invited to do Fashion East in 2003, which was set up to provide a springboard for three young designers each year. The Telegraph, Guardian and Time Out has given our shop awards, which is great as they are very important to us. We also got to work with Belle and Sebastian, who have been the soundtrack to Tatty Devine.
What advice would you give to budding jewellers?
Get the right tools for the job – for any small project, you will need two pairs of pliers to be able to open and close jump rings properly. It’s very important if you don’t want to loose your special charm off your freshly made necklace!
Re-use and up-cycle: break apart old jewellery to get the beads and findings you need.