Designer profiles: Founder of White November, Bianca Librandi
How did the initial inspiration for your jewellery practice come about? Was there a particular brand or designer that made you want to start creating your own pieces?
The initial inspiration was from the Pantheon in Rome, one of the most beautiful ancient buildings in the city. I was working as an apprentice for jewellery the brand Insync Design and Iris asked me to design some earrings to submit to the 500 Earrings book. I had just returned from a lovely European summer and she suggested I take inspiration from my trip. I was so daunted by this task and took a long time to come up with any ideas. I did eventually come up with some sketches and ideas but at this point in time I had missed the deadline for the book. Iris suggested I use the ideas for my first collection. The ideas were based around the architectural floor plans of the Pantheon building as I has studied Interior Architecture at RMIT the year before and it still was a big inspiration for me. Iris guided and encouraged me every step of the way really pushed me to create interesting designs. I never thought I would have started my brand at that early stage of my jewellery career but I’m so glad I did. Iris was a real inspiration to me.
You’re from Melbourne and it’s where you started your jewellery practice. As a creative, have you had a positive experience building your jewellery brand in this city? How do you think living in Melbourne has helped to propel and inspire your brand?
Yes, I definitely believe being in Melbourne has made me the jeweller I am today. Just before I started my jewellery course here in Melbourne I wanted to move to Paris to study abroad. I was very serious about this – looking into what visa I was able to obtain, read all the books and pre enrolled to many jewellery courses in Paris and Italy but at the same time I didn’t have any jobs lined up there so knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Maybe 6 months before I was planning on leaving a friend suggested I looked into the NEIS program. This is a government funded program which provides small business owners 6 weeks of business plan writing school. Once the business plan is complete you are paid a small wage from the government to get you though you first year of business. It was a game changer. I was able to design and create retail connections without worrying too much about income. Melbourne is full of creative inspiring people so I feel very lucky to be surrounded by this creativity daily. I love how Melbournians really appreciate unique, stylish and artful design of all kinds.
With all your pieces, you design, hand-make and curate it all by yourself, which must be a long and careful process. Is there any part of the process that you especially enjoy, or is it simply seeing your vision come to life that is most rewarding?
I really love the initial research stages and seeing the finished piece come to life. I love diving into the world of my muse. My latest collection-Earthly Galaxies, I transported to the 1970s to Studio 54 in New York. Inspired by the innovation, individualism and effervescent icons of the '70. This collection is curated to capture the mystical and alluring feelings of self-expression, no matter how that looks to you. During Melbourne’s strict lockdown it was a lovely escape. I wanted the Earthly Galaxies range to resonates as a symbol that we can be glamorous even when times are bad.
There’s a lot of talent in Melbourne when it comes to jewellery making. What would your advice be to an up and coming jewellery designer trying to establish themselves as a small business in this city?
You are right, there is so much talent in Melbourne. I think my best advice would be to find a mentor to teach you what they have learnt over years of working in the industry, it will really fast track your progress.
How does sustainability play a role in your design process? As your brand continues to grow, how will you continue to implement sustainable practices?
We celebrate individuality, not fast fashion. Each piece within our range is sustainably handcrafted, using ethically mined gemstones and a zero-waste approach. We have a limited quantity of each original designs. However, you can customise our designs with your Birthstone or any stone of significance to encourage a more meaningful and sentimental connection to your piece. By breathing new life into once beloved pieces with our reimagined work- metals can be melted down and transformed into a re-imagined design and gemstones can be reused to create beautiful new meaning.