Tshepiso is the namesake of the founder and metalsmith.
the focus is on crafting jewellery that is based on shapes derived from daily life, art and memories. the working process often consists of building up and stripping down work to reach a delicate balance of weight and shape. every piece of jewelry that is ordered, is handcrafted in the studio by Tshepiso just for you, the handcrafted nature of Tshepiso makes every piece similar but unique in its slight differences and imperfections.
Tshepiso is handcrafted and designed by an individual, with all pieces being made to order. this does mean that working time is between 2-6 weeks for your jewelry to arrive, the wait however is worth it.– TSHEPISO
Tshepiso studied fine art and completed their degree at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, but has always had a keen interest in fashion. the venture into the jewelry field was a collision of their love for fashion and art. tshepiso went on to graduate in 2019 from Alchimia contemporary jewelry school in Florence, Italy.
A TALK WITH TSHEPISO
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?
My journey into the jewellery field was slightly random. I had completed my fine art degree but felt directionless. I always had an interest in metal smithing but never had the opportunity to explore it in my formative years so I knew I had to start afresh and came across Alchimia, a contemporary jewellery school in Firenze. I was there for 2 years, my first year was incredibly challenging, I almost dropped out. My 2nd and last year was really when I started to grow, I started understanding that goldsmithing is about making mistakes, which I didn’t understand when I started. It sounds incredibly silly but I struggled when I started because I thought there was no room for error.
How important is your cultural background for your brand?
South Africa has such a wide range of ethnicities and our history is incredibly layered and deep. I Haven’t made work that is traditional or typically South African. My work has been more focused on playing with textures and shapes
Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
I don’t actually have any mentors per say other than those who taught me at Alchimia, I certainly admire many in the industry that I’m in. The best advice I’ve ever been given has been to make mistakes, I’ve grown so much as a maker from making many mistakes.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
I’d tell myself that it’s going to hard, they’ll be many sacrifices you have to make and days you want to quit, but keep going.
What was your biggest fear when starting your own brand?
My biggest fear was that I had absolutely no idea what I doing and I quite honestly still don’t. I’ve been taking everything as it comes and I of course have goals and so many things I want to make but I’m taking it slow.
What do you want women to feel when wearing your jewelry?
My jewellery has always been an outer expression for me, in a way my it’s my alter ego. As women were told to be small and soft and meek. I want women to feel confident, bold and to take up all of the space.
Who would you most like to see wearing your jewelry?
That’s such a hard question because there are so many style icons I fawn over but I’d love to see Zendaya, she’s absolutely killing it with her stylist, Luxury Law is a visionary when it comes to how he’s been styling her.
Name two icons you admire or you would like to collaborate.
I’d love to collaborate with Iris Van Herpen, her work is unreal, its structured yet so ethereal. The other would be Shaun Leane, his collaborative work with Alexander McQueen was always so ahead of its time and I just think he’s a genius. I admire him so much and would love to take an apprenticeship with him.
Do you have a most treasured item in your personal jewelry collection?
The most treasured item I have is a gold necklace with a heart shape Citrine stone. I got it as a gift from my parents on a trip in Brazil. It’s my most treasured because it holds so many beautiful memories of my childhood.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
Dear Tshepiso, anything that’s worth it won’t be easy. We’ve had set backs, moments of stagnation, moments of wanting to quit but aren’t you glad we didn’t. Look at how far we’ve come, they’ll always be more that we want to achieve and make and do, but take a deep breathe and a moment of quiet to bring yourself back to you.
Creative Direction by Anthony Hinrichsen @antdane
Photographed by Armand Dicker @armanddicker
Photographic Assistant, Sibongile Mditshwa @sibo_mditshwa
Makeup by Amy-Louise Tourell @amylouise_makeup_
Hair by Patricia Ndeke & Mira Muamba @pkmamanbonheur
Nails by Matthew Green @nailsbymatthew_
Model is Yongama Mgqibela at Citizen at Boss Models @yongamamgqibela @bossmodelsa
OAK & ANCHOR