Meet jewelry designer Renathe Todal Tande from StillWithYou! I recently reached out to this lady for this ‘A Talk With’ column as she continues to inspire me with her effortless taste for jewelry. Renathe started the StillWithYou studio only a few years ago and her pieces are now worn in over 30 countries all over the world. The Copenhagen-based jewelry designer has this weak spot for dark, minimalist silver pieces, she works mainly with raw crystals and delivers a strong focus on longevity both in style and quality. As she describes ‘staple pieces for the minimalist’. After I found out about SWY through Instagram, I thought it was about time to get to know her and Renathe’s latest collection designs a little bit better, so here we go!
Hi Renathe, please introduce yourself!
“I am orginally from Norway and moved to Copenhagen in 2010 after studying political science in the south of Norway. I started making jewelry as a hobby in December 2010, and now run StillWithYou studio in Copenhagen.”
You’re a jewelry designer and set up your own label, could you tell us what it took you to get where you are right now? How did you learn the craft?
“This is a long story so here’s the short version. SWY organically grew from a hobby into a business, unintentionally. It took time, tons of work, determination and a bit of luck to get to where it is today. I started to make jewelry in December 2010 and got requests for the jewelry. I opened up a webshop and within 6 months it took up most of my time. For the first time in my life it felt just right and I had no choice than to proceed. Back then I only assembled jewelry and I wanted to learn the craft to make the jewelry from scratch. I took a silvermsmithing course, re-built the studio and after a few months of trail and error at the workbench the first collection launched in April 2013. You know, there is no plan B when you find that one thing. Since then I’ve launched 4 collections and run SWY studio.”
How is it to be a jewellery designer in this day and age? Any pro’s or con’s?
“Challenging and fun in all the right ways. The shift in customer behaviour emphasized by the internet and ecommerce is brilliant. You can have a passion, a talent or both, and the internet is right there for you to create an outlet. Your own platform to connect with others. SWY customers are spread over more than 30 countries and this would not have been possible 10 years ago. So I’m thrilled and grateful to be part of it.”
“I often work with negative space. The empty space in between are sometimes more interesting than the object itself. That is a constant source of inspiration and visible throughout the collections.”
“One downside of the great reach of the internet is the potential for lack of critical thinking and common sense. I experienced this first hand this summer. A hairdresser in Norway, that I’ve never met or heard of, posted one of my photos on her Instagram without source and credits. It was later reposted both in the online magazine and Instagram of Glamour magazine with the links to her Instagram. To me that is stealing and downright rude. Even if the intention is to post inspiration, like in that case, a quick search on google images to find the correct source is common sense.”
Can you tell us a bit more about your current collection and the story behind it?
“The new collection is an expansion of previous collections and the SWY universe. I make a mood board for each collection, with different images, layouts and the overall feeling of the mood boards always end up the same. It’s hard to pinpoint and to put into words but there is a sustained feeling in SWY’s core that I interpret and develop for each collection. I often work with negative space. The empty space in between are sometimes more interesting than the object itself. That is a constant source of inspiration and visible throughout the collections. That I think is the most distinct trait with the new collection. I have expanded with more unisex pieces this collection and also the very first bracelet.”
Your design aesthetics are so clean and simple yet very strong, how did this evolve through the years?
“Trends and fast fashion it not sustainable, on all levels. My focus is longevity, both in style and quality. The idea behind each collection is that one piece of SWY jewelry will always match any other, and also across collections. A ring from 2013 can be worn with a ring from the new collection. The jewelry are simply building blocs to create something personal. This might be a rigid approach to design but I think it’s more of a principle to ensure a sustainable aesthetic and quality.”
“When design, or any kind of art or product for that matter, is genderless, it has the most balance, beauty and interesting dynamic. So I’m drawn to the androgynous and work to reach that ‘genderless middle ground’.”
What materials do you like to work with and why?
“Silver is a strong material yet soft enough to have endless possibilities with the right temperatures, tools and force. It’s a durable material and a piece of silver jewelry can last a lifetime. Gold has the same qualities but I have a soft spot for colder shades. It might be my nordic roots. Raw crystals has been a part of SWY since the beginning. I think there is an interesting contrast between the clean and strict silver next to the unaltered beauty and uncompromising nature of crystals.”
You also include unisex pieces as well, can you tell more about that?
When design, or any kind of art or product for that matter, is genderless, it has the most balance, beauty and interesting dynamic. So I’m drawn to the androgynous and work to reach that ‘genderless middle ground’. Unisex jewelry have been a part of SWY from the very first collection but this collection is the first time we’ve shot with a male model. Simply to inspire and state the potential more clearly. Unisex is a brilliant concept but it can be difficult to grasp and see the potential in unisex clothing, design and jewelry.
How would you describe your personal style in a few words?
“Uncomplicated, androgynous and minimal.”
“Both the things that every day catch your eye when you quickly pass by and also the things you take the time to study, touch and maybe take a quick photo of, inspires me. It’s like a subconscious catalogue of randomness.”
What inspires you most?
“My everyday surroundings. The clean lines of architecture, the broken down textures of the walls and the shapes in the steel contructions of the old shipyard around the studio. Both the things that every day catch your eye when you quickly pass by and also the things you take the time to study, touch and maybe take a quick photo of. It’s like a subconscious catalogue of randomness.”
Any Instagram-accounts you recommend to follow?
“Oh, there are many. For overall style, Ivania from @love_aesthetics, Kaitlyn from @kaity_modern and Maria from @mariavannguyen. They each have their own take on minimalism. Nicole Dale @monochromeprint is a NYC-based photographer and she captures negative space like no one else. For daydreaming about new places, and especially on rainy days, @cerealmag, @hanneaarsnes, @elsakawai fits the bill. For interior inspiration, the monochrome homes and impeccable styling of @annaleenashem and @apieceofcake82, is full of inspiration.”
What can we expect from you and StillWithYou in the near future?
“The brand new packaging and shipping materials I’ve worked on for the past months will be released in September and three minimalist totebags will be available in October. That’s been a fun and creative process. The studio will be rebuilt again this fall to make it easier to run as workspace, showroom and shop. I’m having fun and being creative with a few custom orders these days. That has sparked some ideas to work towards launching limited edition pieces for the future.”