Assembling a collection for Paris Fashion Week is the culmination of a life’s work for most designers.
But just months after graduation, Queensland College of Art jewellery designer Jess McMaster is in the city of light to show her latest accessories collection to international buyers and trendsetters.
Jess graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art – Jewellery and Small Objects last year and has been working feverishly to create a stunning new collection to go on display in The CUBE Showroom, alongside other emerging designers.
“I got the invitation a couple of days before my final assignment was due, so it was a powerful incentive,” she says with a laugh.
“The showroom found me on Instagram – they have scouts that are constantly scouring the site for new talent.
“I produced a whole new collection and made a lot of new work – I haven’t stopped since the end of December!”
Showing her designs at Paris Fashion Week has always been on her bucket list, according to the Griffith Fine Arts graduate.
“It’s a big learning curve, but I’m grateful to have the opportunity early on in my career.”
While runway shows are reserved for the big design houses, the showrooms that pop up in Paris during Fashion Week are an ideal way for young designers to connect with buyers.
The CUBE Showroom, in the hip Marais district, is a mecca for fashion followers, providing invaluable exposure for the young designer.
“It’s a great opportunity to get some stockists overseas,” she says.
“It’s so cool to be part of it all – it’s a great chance to network, get some exposure for my work and learn from other designers.
“I have always had an interest in fashion. I originally enrolled at the QCA to study sculpture, but jewellery design just made complete sense. I spent every paycheck on clothes and jewellery, and I started out making pieces that I wanted to wear.”
Jess works from her home studio, and creates one-off pieces under the label, All or Nothing Objects. The moniker sums up her approach to her artistic practice.
“I didn’t start at uni until I was in my late 20s, so I think at this stage of my life, it’s about going in with all guns blazing and making it happen,” she says.
She describes her jewellery as “textural and high contrast” and says it appeals to people looking for something unique.
“I love experimenting. I think my pieces are for people who want something a little bit different,” she says.
“I love that my creations aren’t just a piece of work that hangs on the wall.”
Jess was mentored at the QCA by Ms Liz Shaw, the convenor of Jewellery and Small Objects. She credits the course at the QCA with providing a launch pad to an international career.
“My lecturers at the QCA were amazingly supportive and encouraging,” she says.
“They don’t deter you from exploring and experimenting.
“And access to the studios and tools means that you have everything at your fingertips.”
The self-confessed fashionista is keen to make the most of her first visit to the French capital – home to the world’s finest fashion, food and culture.
“Once the showcase is over, I plan to drink a lot of rosé, eat cheese and go exploring with my camera.”