Posted 14th August 2017
ROKUS is an independent jewellery brand that creates quirky and elegant sculptural pieces by fusing African cultures, ancient arts and architectural forms with contemporary fashions for the ultimate statement of individuality. Founded in the UK in 2013 by Marie-Paule, a jewellery manufacture and design alumna from the University of Arts London. Influenced by her life in London, Paris, and Switzerland and her Baule heritage, a culture from Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, where jewellery is flamboyant, Marie-Paule designs and individually hand-crafts her beautifully bold jewellery from her home studio in London.
1. Allow us into your looking glass and tell us where do you go to gain inspiration?
The pieces I create are inspired by my culture, Art from around the World and across ages, nature, and anything I come across that excites me. I’m originally from Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa and I grew up in Paris, Switzerland and London. I love travelling and love all things artisanally made. I believe there is something uniquely beautiful in all hand work as they can never be perfectly recreated. The jewellery I create is definitely a direct reflection of my experiences, my interests and my moods. With ROKUS I currently aim to create bold unique pieces that celebrate the vast cultures and opulence and joy you find in traditional African arts and incorporate them with more modern Western elements.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with your brand?
Production can be a challenge. I work alone from home. With larger brands that are mast produced and easily available, people are getting used to the now. Production for a brand like mine can take a little time. I create everything to order. A lot of my customers love this as it gives room for people to request slight upgrades, per example with the finish of a piece or to add coloured stones or other things.
3. If you hadn’t been a jewellery designer what would you have been?
Possibly an architect. I always loved geometry and drawing at school and it was one of the career I was considering.
4. What do you love most about your job?
The design process is the best part. I do not have a set process. If I come across an image or shape I like, I’d research where it comes from, start sketching, deconstruct and reconstruct different shapes based on the original one. My customers also inspire me and bring me ideas based on how they wear my pieces or their own sense of style. Sometimes I might start creating a piece of jewellery straight away and wear it and see how it moves and feel and rework it several times before I get to the final piece.
5. Describe ROKUS jewellery in 3 words
Adventurous, simple, and unique.
6. Who is the ROKUS customer?
The ROKUS customer is someone with a strong individual sense of style, they’re confident, they’re smart and a little eccentric. They’re not so much influenced by trends but instead go for pieces they love.
7. Who is your style icon?
I have many depending on the day. Art consultant Aureta Thomollari, she’s always really bright, well put together and adventurous with her choices. I love Michèle Lamy. She’s designer Rick Owens’ wife and muse. She wears very sombre simple pieces and a lot of accessories. Tracee Ellis-Ross, Diana Ross’s daughter. She’s very chic and a little sexy and a little boho girl next door too.
8. Do you have a favourite piece from your collection?
I currently wear a pair of the Fula earcuffs in the gold matte finish as well as the gold plated Sinim articulated ring every day. The earcuffs are super comfortable and quite a statement so I often forget they’re on until someone stops me to ask about them!
9. Which Alice in Wonderland character would suit your style of jewellery and why?
The Queen of Hearts. She’s really eccentric and passionate and the red lips are always a plus!
10. Last but not least, what are your future plans for the brand?
I am developing a new collection based on the Half Moon earrings and adding more unisex/men jewellery to the current range. I am doing a showroom in Paris for Fashion week and planning another collaboration with a fashion designer.
WNDRLND would like to thank ROKUS for allowing us to step inside her personal jewellery looking glass and sharing her interesting story. Excited to see the new developing collection, especially as I love the half moon earrings which to me sum up ROKUS jewellery – edgy, individual, eye-catching, regal…. just to name a few!
To discover the full collection click HERE