Who: Elizabeth Romanin

What:  Creative Director and founder of ROMANIN jewellery

Where: Oslo, awailable at FWSS Prinsensgate 22

-I love the process of how jewellery is made, the materiality and how a piece can become almost of part of you the more you wear it-

ROMANIN jewellery was founded in Oslo, Norway in 2018 by Designer and Creative Director Elizabeth Romanin. With a tension between Scandinavian minimalism and decisive forms, ROMANIN jewellery plays on the designer's Italian/Australian heritage through the eyes of Scandinavian design principles. Classic elements are combined with unexpected forms heavily influences by sculpture and artistic references. Read our interview with the woman behind the brand here. 

OSLO ENVELOPE by Lotte Fuhre Ellingsen

ROMANIN jewellery will be available online and at FWSS Prinsens gate 22 from the 4th of December 2018.

Photo: Trine Hisdal


Tell us a little about yourself and what you do? I am an Australian designer living in Oslo with my Norwegian artist husband Johan Øvergård. I design fashion and accessories and also work as a creative consultant with creative direction, installation, styling, set design, art projects etc. 

I am the creative director and founder of ROMANIN jewellery which is launching this December. I would describe the collection as wearable sculptures for the modern intellectual.

How did you start your career in fashion? Growing up, I had the ambition to become an artist from when I was very young. I was always interested in conceptual thinking, sculptural form and how things are made. I studied fine art at University in Australia with a focus on ceramics and painting, minoring in gold and silversmithing. I began working on smaller sculptures and became more interested in metals. After exhibiting as an artist for some time, I was lucky enough to get a job as jewellery and accessories designer at one of Australia's largest brands where I was responsible for designing unique, innovative pieces of high end costume jewellery, fine jewellery and additionally sunglasses, watches and hair accessories. This gave me an incredible insight into the production process on a really wide range of materials. After several years, I decided to make the move to Norway with my now husband. I met some incredibly talented, kind and welcoming people and after a lot of perseverance and once I had my first few serious working opportunities, the industry really opened up. This is when I began the journey into apparel and fashion and have been absolutely non-stop ever since! 


What are the three most important things you’ve learnt in your career?

1. Work hard (harder than everyone else)

2. Do it right and get it done. The actual work of being a designer is about persistence and problem solving. Push for your vision and do not compromise.

3. Work with people who understand and appreciate you whenever possible. The work will be better when you are able to freely trust your instincts. Self doubt kills creativity. 


What made you want to start you own jewelry line? Jewellery is the area I have been working on consistently for longest time of any product category and I have a really strong fascination with what I would consider wearable sculptures. I love the process of how jewellery is made, the materiality and how a piece can become almost a part of you the more you wear it. There is something really interesting about both the connection to the body and the history of jewellery throughout the ages. 

Also, creating unique, high quality jewellery pieces that people will treasure for a long time, is a much more responsible approach in terms of sustainability. I am creating a low quantity of high quality pieces which are classic enough to be treasured for a life time. I have a very close relationship to my manufacturers and the majority of the range is produced by a small family run business. It is absolutely outdated to maintain our current level of production as a global community. This is not a modern way of thinking and to be honest, I take offence to those who are burying their heads in the sand and continuing with 'business as usual'. It is the responsibility of all of us who are putting product out into the world to make less, make it better, make it last longer, make it able to be recycled or not to make anything at all! Almost every element of my collection is able to be melted down and recycled or is a natural material like stone or freshwater pearl. I think there are definitely areas which I can improve and sustainability is a big area of focus for me going forward. In creating my own collection, I am able to control this, so the pressure is on to be as responsible as I can. 


Where do you get your inspiration? I grew up on a 400 acre farm in the Australian bush overlooking a national park. This vastness of the landscape and the dusty Australian colour palette is always there in the back of my mind informing my design decisions. My grandparents emigrated from Italy and I grew up being surrounded by Catholic iconography and Italian style so this is a big source of inspiration. My Mum and Dad both had great style and were very much informed by quality and function. I am now at a similar age to that of my parents at that time, so I feel connected to and inspired by growing into their style. My uncle is a photographer and was a real bohemian, he was constantly coming back and forth from trips overseas with amazing stories and fantastic design pieces, he was a real hero for me and I was fascinated by his personal style. My family is the most important thing to me, and I feel really inspired by the people they are and their own unique perspectives. I have named most of my collection after each of them- chains after my Italian uncles and grandfather, for example. Hoop earrings after my brother and sister. 

I am definitely dominated by memories from a 'golden era' before mobile phones, the internet and social media. I feel really blessed to be the last generation who grew up without all of this. I guess I look back to the 80s and 90s where the objects that surrounded me were much longer living than they are now. Most of the possessions we had growing up were there throughout the entirety of my upbringing. We didn't throw things away and/or replace things in the same way we do now, so I guess these motifs are burnt into my subconscious and always come up as a strong, innate and genuine source of inspiration which connects me to my feeling of a 'truest self'. I trust in this and let this guide me as a designer. I also consider this to be a generational consciousness that connects me to my contemporaries/customers in a really strong way.

Over the European Winter I spend as much time in Australia as possible, so I constantly have a palette of references which are based on the Australian coastal/beach environment which is where I spend most of my time. This is where I feel the most at home, in the blasting heat and blinding light, within the beautiful harshness of the landscape. This is an endless source of inspiration for me.


What is your best advice for new designers? Be humble and work really hard. Learn, learn, learn and jump on chances to be involved and gain experience because you never know what they might lead to next. Surround yourself with people who really care about you and support you as a person. Don't bother with those who do not want the best for you, this is not productive. Be strong in yourself and stay true to your own value system. Be good to your mother ;)

What are your future goals? I have become less goal oriented the further I have progressed in my career. I have achieved many of the specific goals that I set out to, and it has never been as fulfilling as expected. The pace is so fast that there is little time to celebrate the wins or achievements in this industry and the better you are at your job, the more the expectations grow. This can sometimes feel like a never ending battle, so I am trying to calm down the pace and work on things I enjoy with people who I like and give me good energy. I guess this is my goal for the future- to work on inspiring creative projects, whatever they may be, build a successful business and gain even more independence in my working life. Creative freedom is key!