In Conversation with Cameron Studio
Cameron Studio has been capturing our attention for some time now. The Melbourne based jewellery brand, run by Glenn Cameron and Jackson Hides, is known for its minimalistic, restrained approach to fine jewellery with a rotation of signets, bands, and chains in its repertoire. Founded in 2017, the brand already has three collections under its belt and is just about to release its fourth.
We caught up with Cameron Studio in Glenn’s apartment to discuss the origins of their friendship, their inspirations, and to gain some insight into their upcoming collection, Pier 7.
SR: Hey guys. How are we today?
J: Very well thank you.
G: Great, excellent.
That’s good to hear. Tell us about how you two became friends.
J: The first time that we met properly was when we were working at a retail store together in Melbourne. We quickly realised that we had very similar tastes, not just in fashion but in design more generally. From there I guess a friendship kind of blossomed; it was very much a natural evolution.
How did the idea of Cameron Studio originate?
J: At the time Glenn was doing silversmithing and we were discussing the merits of doing something in a kind of serious manner. I basically pitched coming on board and making Cameron Studio a brand rather than just a small operation. I think we were very much on the same page with what we wanted out of a fashion/jewellery brand, which was something that we didn't want to be too contrived or generic. The place where we working at the time had a lot of cool product but one category that we always thought was missing was jewellery.
How long were you silversmithing before Cameron Studio started, Glenn?
G: Ahh, that’s a good question actually, I think like a year, right Jacko? Yeah, a year or so.
And it was just a hobby?
G: It was nothing serious, I was just making rings for friends and family who would ask, “Can you make this for me?”. I didn’t actually sell anything.
What got you into making jewellery in the first place?
G: I guess I hadn’t done anything creative since my last venture, and I started to muck around playing with some leather. Eventually I moved into jewellery and I just really enjoyed it.
What are your individual roles within Cameron Studio?
G: I basically do most of the creative things, and Jackson does everything else.
J: All of the boring stuff! (laughs). The books, the invoicing, customer service, and just all the wholesale collateral.
How do you decide on the creative direction for each collection?
G: Normally we just start with a reference point, so it might be something that we’ve already seen ourselves or a film or interest of ours, and a particular aesthetic and then it always just starts pretty organically with a conversation over a coffee. We think the brand fits into a broader aesthetic and that’s something we’re always conscious of maintaining. The photoshoot is always a bit of a mad scramble on the day but you know, so far we’ve been really pleased with the results we have. We don't put a lot of content out but what we do I think is true to the brand and true to ourselves.
What’s been your favourite Cameron Studio campaign so far?
G: The first one was really cool, I thought!
J: That was my least favourite.
J: Just because there was so many people involved and it was just a little ambitious I think to try to pull off. Plus, the Chinese restaurant we were shooting at screwed up our booking, so what was meant to be an hour turned into a four hour night. But at the same time it was really fun, because it was with all our friends who knew that we’d been working on the brand behind the scenes for six months.
G: What was your favourite then?
J: I don’t really have a favourite… I think at the time what we’ve come up with has always suited the collection as well as our mood and taste at the time.
Very diplomatic answer, Jackson. Tell us a bit about your latest collection, Pier 7.
G: It is loosely inspired by 90’s skate culture, there’s references to skating in there… oh, that sounds horrible. I hate it when brands reference skating.
Yeah, but you actually skate though…
G: I hate it when brands do that but I've just done it.
J: Well, Pier 7 is a very famous skate spot in San Francisco, CA.
G: Yeah, it’s a 90’s skate spot that everyone went to when I was growing up.
J: I guess more so than being referenced by skateboarding, the collection is something that we imagine people who would have gone to Pier 7 in the 90's would've been wearing at the time. Most of them aren’t necessarily overt references. There are a few more obvious references though, like the vulcanised ring; Glenn used the midsole of a Vans Authentic and rolled it into a mould.
Is 90’s skate culture something you both grew up loving and feel nostalgic towards?
G: Definitely. From the ages of like 12 to 25 all I did was skate, so I guess it had a big impact. Pier 7 was in every skate video growing up and it was somewhere I always wanted to go.
J: For me it was more just an interest, I never skated personally but I was always into the surrounding culture. Growing up I was quite lucky as my dad worked for a couple of skate brands, so I was always aware of that world and always admired it from the outside looking in. That’s what’s cool about doing something like this as well because you actually get to contribute to that culture in a broader sense.
What does the creative process look like for you, Glenn?
G: I don't really draw much, I just make the wax moulds and then its a bit of a back and forth making it into silver. If it works, great, I keep it and if it doesn’t I redo the mould. I don’t draw much as a lot of stuff I do is very textual, like concrete texture on a ring, for example. I write notes in the months leading up to it and then I look back through the notes throughout the process.
All Cameron Studio pieces are crafted from either 925 Stirling Silver or solid 9 or 14 karat gold. Why have you chosen to stick to these materials and not, for example, do any gold plating?
G: We want to make jewellery that can become an essential part of a person’s lifelong collection, and using solid gold and 925 Stirling Silver reinforces this sentiment of lasting value beyond simple aesthetics.
What brand or artist would you most want to collaborate with and why?
J: I mean if we collaborated with Supreme we could buy a pair of 911’s! But honestly, Hiroshi Fujiwara out of Japan who’s got the Fragment creative house, he's personally a big inspiration. I like the fact that the guy has almost transcended fashion and operated over so many different mediums. I guess he's very much become a symbol for a certain kind of mood and culture and I think it’s really cool when a person or brand can become a symbol for anything.
What’s next for Cameron Studio?
J: We’re looking at doing more small accessories in silver and brass… I guess that’s very much a natural evolution of doing jewellery. But more than anything we’ve kind of always seen it as a lifestyle brand, so whether those accessories becomes apparel, apparel becomes hardware; we kind of don't ever want to limit it.