Melissa Curry is a designer that is renowned that world over and her pieces are both high catching and beautiful. Her pieces are like collectible works of art and she has fans noting from Kate Middleton to Michelle Obama. Her latest collection Be Your Own Success (BYOS) is all about empowerment and passion and wishes to inspire the wearer. I am delighted to be featuring Melissa today as I have been following her designs and career for the past number of years.
Since your first collection launch in 1997 at Leclaireur, Paris you have gone on to have an amazing, inspirational career. Where did it all begin – when did the love for design and the aspiration to be a designer start?
I dreamed of becoming a dancer growing up, it was my passion all the way up to 16. My hands were always busy, designing, drawing making things. I enjoyed art in school and loved the idea of getting out into the world. I worked for a bespoke jewellery company in Paris during my design studies and it all started from there. I remember one of my class mates prompting me to think of jewellery designing as I was so dedicated to detail in my assignments. In 1998 I stepped into the big arena at Paris Fashion Week, naive but determined I was going to make it happen.
The #beyourownsuccess concept is unique and very moving. Can you tell us more about it?
BYOS is a concept I developed over many years. I developed it largely from my own experiences and the societal shifts in the world around us. I wanted to develop something with purpose that had an authentic sentiment, something more than just jewellery.
The little bar of Strength which spearheads the collection (Otherwise known as the “Success Bar” ) was built as a special gift , a reminder to stay strong throughout life’s different challenges. It is a gift of encouragement to oneself or someone else, and to pass it forward. The Bar has informed the rest of the collection and the birth of the brand. BYOS is wearable luxury, a range of Giftable symbols designed to be worn as companions that cheer us on our journey to be our own success. They are tangible reminders to the wearer . The little bar of strength ( SUCCESS ) now supports other women such as the Kisany Living Linens.
We have recently launched a new Give Work campaign with Virgin Atlantic, each pouch which wraps our little rose gold success bar has been individually embroidered by the women. Each pouch = 1 day of work and supports the economic independence of these amazing women and mothers defining a better future for themselves and their children.
We have become one of the best sellers on Virgin Atlantic and our BYOS products are now worn by business and creative leaders all over the world including Saoirse Ronan, Arianna Huffington and now Miss America Olivia Jordan.
Your pieces are so bold and beautiful – where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am inspired by everything, peoples stories, nature, politics, film and narrative. I love designing for special projects in film, personal and special occasions.
Do you think that the places that you have traveled to have helped share your aesthetic?
My travels have certainly informed me and my curiosity. Accessories are such a wonderful way to express your individuality, they play an important role both symbolically and culturally in many parts of the world. Africa and Asia really informed my love and passion for the more playful and colourful world of accessories.
Your career has meant that you have designed for some amazing women from Michelle Obama to The Duchess of Cambridge, is there anyone that you would love to design a collection for?
The lady I admire most of all is the wonderful Iris Arpel, she is defiantly an original and an extraordinary woman.
Although I am sure it is difficult to choose – but what has been your career highlight to date?
I have loved so many events and people, designing for special people has been an honour. I was chuffed when Arrianna Huffington asked me to blog, this was a huge day and immense privilege this year. And of course when the very first gift of Success was presented to the First Lady of United States by the Irish state.
Did you find it difficult getting your business set up in Ireland? Do you think that it is getting easier for designers to get the support needed in our country?
No I most definitely do not, the initial support is there if you want to test a product or develop your idea, as we are not surrounded by industry as such it is a very hard slog here. You need industry and a much bigger audience if you are truly going to survive in your design/ fashion business.
Do you have advice for any aspiring designers that would also like to get into design?
It’s a tough graft, and my advice is to get as much experience as possible, see the bigger world before you step into it. It is a particularly challenging industry and you must be prepared to take the highs and lows. It can be incredibly rewarding, so do follow your dream and make a difference.
A massive thank you to Melissa for doing the interview – her BYOS line is so inspiring and I am delighted to have featured her today. Her pieces are available to buy on the Kilkenny store and I would highly recommend checking out her beautiful website as well as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.