When Dominic Jones’ ferocious jewels burst on to the London fashion scene in 2008, the immediacy of his meteoric rise almost killed his company before it had even found his feet. With stylists, A-listers and influential editors – Anna Wintour was an early supporter – all clamouring for his wares, Jones was, to put it mildly, overwhelmed by his own success. “Starting my label was in no way an easy ride,” the 27-year-old designer told Grazia, “Having to learn from scratch while going through an unbelievably fast, upward trajectory was terrifying. There were so many moments when I could very easily have lost my company – it was a close shave way, way too many times!”
The Delevingne Sisters Working Dominic Jones Jewellery
Luckily for his legions of fans, both celebrity and civilian, Jones weathered the storm and has since built a solid brand off the back of his signature claw and knuckleduster rings. Employing a ready-to-wear attitude to costume jewellery, with new lines each and every season, Jones is one in a pack of directional young designers – including Pamela Love and Eddie Borgo - who have been instrumental in changing attitudes to the way fashion-lovers buy their bling. His name has also become shorthand for the tough luxe look beloved by Rihanna et al. His grungey style – Jones is the spit of a young Kurt Cobain and describes his aesthetic as ‘aggressive elegance’ – is also bang on bulls-eye as far as the new season trends are concerned. Little wonder, then, that his stockists have multiplied with all the stores from Harvey Nichols to Barney’s picking up his collections. With Karl Lagerfeld ordering bespoke pieces and his designs featuring in both Beyoncé and Bowie’s music videos, Jones has all bases covered.
Jeweller Dominic Jones with Cara Delevingne
And in news that will appeal to devotees who can’t quite stretch their budgets to nab his new treasures, Dominic has just launched the second season of DJ, his more affordably priced label. Taking design inspiration from the mainline, but rendered in enamel with slightly lower grade plating, DJ pieces also come in Technicolor shades. “The whole point of my collection was to make jewellery that my friends could wear. It’s impossible for me to make my mainline any cheaper because of the quality of the materials, so this was a way to create something that my friends could buy as a present to themselves,” he explains.
As well as maintaining design integrity, Dominic has been adamant that his DJ line retains the ‘cool girl’ factor that has always been a staple of the brand, in part due to the involvement of socialite-model Alice Dellal. A close friend to the designer, Ms Dellal initially bankrolled the brand stumping up the start-up investment from her Mango campaign paycheck. Dominic recounts, “I’d made a prototype of the claw ring and wore it out one night. When I bumped in to Alice she literally tore the thing off my hand! Then she wore the ring until it literally turned her hand bright green – it wasn’t even plated. She then decided to invest in me, which was absolutely mad in retrospect – putting money into someone who has no business experience and is making jewellery from home – but then her whole family have good business instincts.” Dellal, also along with fellow pal Lizzie Jagger starred in Jones’ first ever lookbook which was styled and shot for free by friend Katie Shillingford -stylist and fashion director of AnOther magazine - and photographer Matt Irwin.
Campaign Stars Alice Dellal and Josephine De la Baume
Indeed it’s Jones’ prodigious ability to make mates in all walks of life that has provided one of the lynchpins of his career. “I’m really lucky that I’m a sociable person – it’s certainly one of the personal assets that I bring to the company,” Dominic agrees, “but it’s not like I’m throwing every celebrity friend in to my look book. I’ve known most of my friends from the beginning of the careers so I’m not shy of calling in favours.” This season’s campaign friend is creamy French model and wife to Mark Ronson, Josephine de la Baume who models the new DJ collection in the images features above.
Dominic's popularity stems no doubt from his endearing naivety – there’s still something of the country boy (he grew up in rural Buckinghamshire) in his enthusiasm for both fashion and his brand. But you’ll also find steel behind that sweetness. “I’m highly ambitious– I want my brand get bigger and expand into leather goods, sunglasses and even fine jewellery,” Jones reveals, “but I’d also really enjoy consultancy. To be honest, I’m constantly disappointed by what some of the more established jewellery houses are doing. It might sound arrogant but when I see their collections it sometimes makes me cringe because they’re so dated.” While he might be confident in his design talents, he also knows his limitations – “I don’t think that I’m the best spokesperson for my brand. I’m just not sure a 27-year old Dalstonite has the right voice – I’ve got bigger aspirations than my own personality when it comes the Dominic Jones brand!”
See Dominic's A-list fans in the gallery below...