At the mere age of eighteen, Justine Clenquet created her eponym brand that’s an all-French affair. We chatted to Justine about how she started, what keeps her inspired and what she loves about creating jewellery.
What’s your story? How did you get to where you are today?
I launched my brand at 18 when I was student in fashion school in Paris. I quickly knew I wanted create fashion accessories and more particularly jewelry.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
Underground, 1980’s, 1990’s.
What inspires your collections, aesthetic and how do you keep it relevant?
I try to create a story for each collection. I have a permanent collection which symbolises the state of mind of the brand and is a reinterpretation of punk pieces with a mix between elegance, masculine/feminine. I’m passionate about cinema and music so there is a lot of references to those in each collection.
Is there one item or perhaps a collection in particular that is your all-time favourite?
I think it might be my ‘Fade to Grey’ collection because this it was the first time I mixed masculine chains with Swarovski crystals. I like the contrast and love to create pieces with strong personality. All of the pieces from my ‘Fade to Grey’ collection are now part of the permanent collection.
Justine Clenquet Lux Earrings
What is something not that many people know about you or your brand?
We are a little team and we work in Lille in the north of France.
How do you go about designing?
I don’t really like drawing but I love to find and play with different kids of materials so this is where I usually begin when starting a new collection.
What has been the absolute highlight of your career so far?
It would have to be when Opening Ceremony contact me to sell my pieces. I think this is when my brand started to be recognised internationally.
How would you describe the Justine Clenquet customer?
I have both female and male customers. I’m so happy to have a wide customer base, it means that people who love fashion wear our pieces but also more people with more classic style. We have had the chance to create a large selection pieces from more classic and easy to wear or strong pieces for people who love fashion pieces.
Justine Clenquet Kirsten Necklace
If you were to describe your own style, what would it be and what couldn’t you live without?
I love to wear vintage pieces from designer like Jean Paul Gaultier or Kenzo but also some 80’s-90’s pieces I found in flea market or vintage store.
Where abouts are you based and what are some of your must-go places or hidden gems there?
I’m based in Lille, about 2 hours from Paris. I love to live in Lille because it’s a small city but isn’t too far from some cities I love like Brussels, London or Anvers.
Lille, France | Image via French Girl in Seattle
Where is your favourite destination of all time and why?
I discovered Japan a few years ago and I completely felt in love with the country. I visited Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. I love the state of mind of Japanese people, I love so much how they manage their fashion stores everything it’s so clean with a very good presentation. And I also love their food.
You’ve already achieved so much, what’s next for you?
I would love to open the first Justine Clenquet store in Japan!