Androgynous and minimalist, Does Not Equal harks back to the punk era, when conformity was shunned and rebellion advocated. Subverting preconceptions with its designs, DNE jewellery makes its own rules.
JZ: What’s the inspiration behind the label’s name Does Not Equal?
CB: In creating DNE, we were focussed on starting a label that did things differently. The name Does Not Equal epitomises what we are about.
What’s your background/training?
My background is in graphic design. I studied a Bachelor of Communication Design at RMIT. Almost every brief I submitted during university was focussed on turning a 2D design into a 3D product with commercial possibilities. I was obsessed with the process of idea, to design, to physical object.
What inspired your interest in jewellery?
I was un-inspired by what was available. The male market wasn’t being catered for to the same extent as women’s jewellery. There were only two options: cheap and poorly made or overly expensive. I wanted to create a label for males that was well made, affordable and produced in Australia.
Describe your label? What's the philosophy behind DNE?
DNE is a very minimalistic and clean label, with strong core beliefs and morals. Our philosophy is to create an affordable yet exclusive line for males and to ensure that we support the local economy by keeping production here. Local production is something we’re really passionate about.
From where do you draw inspiration?
My inspiration comes from architecture, interiors, books, music and movements in history. Inspiration for a collection always hits at the most bizarre times. It’s something I can’t force. I’m rarely inspired or motivated to design by what is shown on the runway. I’ve never found it relevant to how I work.
What are the main materials you work with?
All the pieces are made from solid stainless steel. It’s a durable and hypoallergenic metal, and is really hard wearing. Customers are impressed by the quality and how well the pieces withstand wear and tear.
Tell me about your latest collection?
The latest collection, titled Cruce Signati, was inspired by the punk movement of the 70s and 80s and how, in their quest for rebellion, they turned the religious cross into a symbol of their own. We wanted to reference the movement and remove the religious connotations of the cross and use it purely as a symbol of that era. The title translates to ‘marked with a cross’. With 22 pieces, it’s our biggest release so far.
Describe the type of person who wears your jewellery?
Our customers are mostly 18- to 32-year-old males; about thirty percent of our customers are female. The DNE customer is generally a creative thinker and non-conformist.
What's lined up for the future?
Next year we’re extending the DNE brand past just jewellery. We also have some international news coming up, which we’re really excited about but can’t announce just yet.
Does Not Equal is available in Melbourne at Royal Order of Nothing in Richmond, Schatzi in Prahran, and One White Lie in Yarraville.