Inspired by brutalism and androgyny, contemporary jewelry designer, Harley Woolven is challenging conventional design offering sophisticated consumers hand crafted minimalist pieces resembling the organic and sharp forms of his surroundings. Based in Manly Beach Sydney, Woolven’s pieces are made of Australian sterling silver, with his latest collection Broken Valley featuring sharp, jiggered lines and textures reflecting the Broken Valley Region within the Australian landscape.
What made you decide to become a jewelry designer and launch Black De Ville?
I have always loved designing. Having the ability to put your own twist on an existing style or develop an entirely new concept is something really exciting to me. From a very young age I was drawn to creation and development. The ability to create your own story or concept is almost romantic to me.
Launching Black De Ville was very much to try fill a void in fashion. Fashion is predominantly defined by sex, Homme vs femme. I wanted to create something that would add and contribute to the androgynous fashion progression.
Tell us about your latest collection
BROKEN VALLEY 16 is the latest collection. It is a collection that was developed through environmental emersion and brutalism concepts. Drawing inspiration from the Australian mountains, BROKEN VALLEY is a sharp, jagged and contrasting collection that is a lot darker than anything I've developed before. It is definitely treading the thin line between wearable versus unwearable but that is really something I want to do, I want each piece to be independent to any other ring and really stand out making a raw statement.
How would you describe your personal style?
Dark and drapery. I only really ever work in Blacks and sometimes white. I love the timeless mystery and romance connected to the tone black. I really like to push the boundaries on the androgynous front as well. This particular style isn't so familiar within Australia so sometimes needs to be toned down a bit…
Who are you currently inspired by?
So many great individuals and so many things. Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander Wang, Michele Lamy just to name a few. These people are the ones who/have for a long time lead the pack in the worlds avant-garde fashion tailoring. They really push so many boundaries and it would be almost impossible to not be inspired by such figures!
Leading up to the holiday season we are compiling the ultimate gift guide, what would be your ultimate gift?
A good pair of linen drop crotch pants and a delicate cotton high neck tank. All black.
What are your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions?
Continue growing the BLK DV label. We have a few new ideas and concepts coming into the 2017 new year which will be very exciting however cannot be spoken about! We are also hoping to get to Paris for fashion week and work with some great new clients.
Create great new content and keep having fun while pushing the boundaries.