“It’s indulgent really. After years of designing for other companies and experiencing a period of intense isolation, I wanted to create an edited range of luxury leather bracelets and chokers that was versatile and worked hard; that would elevate a simple jeans and tee look or add a sculptural luxe edge to a night out.”
- Karen James, Founder C.W. James
C.W. James is leather jewellery designed and assembled by hand in a small coastal town on Australia’s Great Ocean Road using luxury watchmaking techniques. Made from recycled solid sterling silver, solid brass and high quality leather straps, C.W. James is the creation of industrial designer Karen James. It blends Karen’s love of modernist industrial design with her experience designing watches to make wearable body art. It is named after Karen’s grandfather, a shoemaker from rural Jamaica, acknowledging her family’s humble history of making.
C.W. James is for the brave but not the fearless.
KINETIC REFLECTION SEASON 1 2018
The debut C.W. James collection, Kinetic Reflection, explores the movement of light on reflective surfaces. It pulls together eclectic visual influences, including the kinetic machinery depicted in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the functional sculpture of Carl Auböck, Karen’s coastal home on the Great Ocean Road and vintage leathers and watches collected from her travels long ago. Each component is meticulously designed and crafted. The signature C.W. James silver and brass buckles are cast from a mould made from a hand-carved wax master. Freya, Selene and Theodora are constructed from sliding parts that gently move with the motion of the body, with each metal element finished with a high-polish lustre to reflect light and create reflections. Viola and Cerese are constructed from vintage leather French watchstraps collected in the 1960s (and stored in pristine condition), while the leathers used in Odile have been repurposed from broken vintage bags and garments.
Clockwise from the top left, Book Ends Carl Auböck 1955. Detail of the 1927 movie poster for Fritz Langs Metropolis created by Heinz Schultz-Neudamm. The screenplay for Metropolis was written by Thea von Harbou. Stones with natural leather, a collaboration between the Viennese Werkstatte Carl Auböck and Various Projects. Photography by Clemens Kois. Detail of cliff face at Point Roadknight beach Anglesea Australia 2017.