Sophie Bille Brahe started her namesake company almost without noticing it. After finish- ing a masters in design at the Royal College of Art in London, Sophie assumed she would get a job in a fashion house in London or Paris designing jewellery. “But then all these things started happening,” she grins. “Buyers were coming up to me, telling me the world was ready for my jewellery. All these bloggers and magazines were writing about it. I was at a party in Paris with friends, and on an impulse we said: ‘Okay let’s do it!’”
Growing up in Copenhagen, even as a child Sophie knew she wanted to be a goldsmith. “I’m dyslexic and went to an old hippie school where they believed everybody has a talent. So they made me a workshop where I could do jewellery,” she marvels. “What a really nice way of helping me.” Her love of storytelling is inherited, passed down through generations of Brahes, beginning with her great-great-great grandfather, the world-renowned astrologer Tycho Brahe. “My dad is a doctor but a very poetic guy. As a child I lived in an imaginary world. Not like a crazy kid. But definitely I’m a dreamer.”
A perfectionist, it took 18 months to assemble the Sophie Bille Brahe team. “I wanted the right people around me,” Sophie explains. “I wanted to do it the right way.” Today, the business is run like a family company. “All of us, we’re close. We’re friends with each other’s boyfriends and girlfriends. We call it the SBB family.”
Within months of launching, the collection acquired a cult following in the fashion industry underpinning Sophie’s ability to resonate with what women want to wear.
Madonna is also a fan. “It doesn’t get bigger than that, does it?” says Sophie laughing.
“I was completely crazy about Madonna from the age of five.” But she gets just as much of a kick from spotting her jewellery on women in the street. “I was in Paris this spring and saw a lady wearing two of my earrings. I felt super proud.” She stops and finishes with a smile: “You know, I have to make jewellery. I would do it even if it wasn’t my job.”
The Sophie Bille Brahe collection established a cult following before it even existed.
After finishing a masters, Sophie began to create one-off pieces for designers and celeb- rities, among them a triple gold and diamond ring for Madonna’s fiftieth birthday and showpieces for designer Bernard Wilhelm’s Paris show. Encouraged by fashion insiders – buyers and international editors – she launched her collection in 2011.
Today, Sophie Bille Brahe is stocked around the world, sold at Dover Street Market, Net-a- Porter and Barney’s New York. “We’ve noticed that with my jewellery it’s women them- selves who buy it,” Sophie explains. “My clients are independent women, very secure in their own style.”
At the workshop in Copenhagen, everything is made by hand, using centuries-old gold- smith techniques. The language of the brand lies in proportion and shape, simplicity and pared down-ness. Sophie’s clientele of inspiring women includes Lykke Li, Rihanna and Emma Watson.
Underpinning every Sophie Bille Brahe piece is a profound respect for raw materials. “When I use gold or diamonds, my feeling is that you’re taking these precious materials that are thousands of years old out of the ground. You have a responsibility to do some- thing special with them.”
Ethically sourcing, Sophie uses only the finest materials. “My dream is to make jewellery to keep. If a woman passes down a piece of mine to her daughter, then I’ll know I did my work well, you know?” These days, Sophie adds with a grin, there is no such thing as “keeping- jewellery-for-best”. “I wear my jewellery everywhere and anywhere, on the beach, in the gym, with friends having breakfast… it becomes a part of you.”
For more info visit sophiebillebrahe.com