18 Oct 2019
Rosie Fortescue chats with Angela Sara West about her hugely-popular fashion blog, and her own highly successful jewellery brand, which is fast becoming a celebrity fave!
Trendsetting TV star and style adviser, Rosie Fortescue, is not only a famous fashion influencer, but a first-class luxury jeweller, with fashion royalty including American businesswoman Olivia Palermo, the Kardashian clan, and actress/model Amy Jackson all big fans of her brand.
Born and bred in London’s affluent Chelsea, reality TV star and acclaimed fashion blogger-turned- jeweller, Rosie Fortescue, was always set to shine. With her enviable, trendsetting fashion sense, she has been a go-to for fashion and style advice and inspiration for years, having fallen in love with fashion and jewellery at a very young age. “I’ve always adored contemporary art and fashion photography and have been a magpie for as long as I can remember!” she tells me.
Rosie’s sparkling career started while on our screens in E4’s BAFTA-winning TV show, ‘Made in Chelsea’, which saw her hobnobbing with the heirs and heiresses of the Chelsea social set, the fun-loving 20-something residents of West London and South West areas of London’s Belgravia, King’s Road and Knightsbridge. Since bringing her fashion blog into the media limelight in 2011 as one of the original cast members of the popular reality TV show, the style starlet has seen her blog bloom and says one of the most exciting parts of appearing on ‘MIC’ was the amazing opportunities that presented themselves during her seven years on the hit show and beyond. “Whether it’s meeting really inspirational people, going to premieres or the fashion blog that I’ve been able to create, I’m so grateful to have been given these opportunities off the back of the show, and its viewers have really been great in supporting all of us as we launch products and collaborations.”
An enviable work ethic
Along with her twin sister, Lily, Rosie went to prestigious Downe House in Hampshire, an all-girls boarding school in Berkshire which Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, also briefly attended, and where other alumni include actress, Miranda Hart, and model, Sophie Dahl. Rosie went on to study a History of Art degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, before various work placements at contemporary London galleries.
The twins’ parents instilled a strong work ethic in both Rosie and her sister. “It’s great to have a sister who is creative because we bounce ideas off each other,” says Rosie. They’ve both built their own fashion empires, with Rosie setting up her highly successful, trend-setting blog, AtFashionForte, all about her love of fashion, style and art, in 2011 while still finishing her degree, which coincided with her beginning filming for ‘Made in Chelsea’. With her passion for fashion and photography, she started focusing on self-styled street style for her blog and began partnering with well-known brands, from Valentino and Heidi Klein, to the more affordable, such as JustFab Clothing.
She opened her wardrobe to ‘Made In Chelsea’ viewers, posting pictures of the outfits she wore on the show on her blog, seeing AtFashionForte evolve into an authoritative one-stop-shop for fashion advice. It’s also led to coveted collaborations, with desirable fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands including Victoria’s Secret, Bicester Village, Huawei and Jo Malone London.
A jewellery star is born
One of Rosie’s very first memories is trying on her mother’s jewellery, and she’s been fascinated with the shiny stuff ever since. As a child, she dreamed of crafting her own delicate pieces, leading to a collaboration on a collection with luxury British jewellery brand, Laura Gravestock, in 2013. “The Dreamy collection comprised delicate 18ct gold, silver and black rhodium-plated pieces, scattered with dainty four-point star motifs, with the hand-scribed word ‘Dreamy’.” Following the success of her first foray into the scintillating craft, she went solo in 2015, launching her own eponymous jewellery line, R F Jewellery.
Rosie is on mission to make luxury jewellery affordable and accessible to all. “I love being creative and want my brand to be worn by all jewellery lovers who like to experiment with their jewels,” she says. “I really wanted to start my own jewellery brand and work for myself, so launching R F Jewellery was my childhood dream come true!” Self-funded with earnings she made from the TV show, Rosie has worked relentlessly to create collections that are affordable, fun and playful. “My mum always advised me to do what I love, so I’d then love what I do – and it’s true!” she explains. “So, I thought, I’ll save up the money that I’ve made from ‘Made in Chelsea’ and will start my jewellery business. I work all hours for my brand but, because I love it so much, I hardly notice.”
Describing her jewellery style as “simple, colourful and elegant,” her own taste in jewellery inspires her stunning pieces. “I wanted to create pieces that I wanted to wear – great quality jewellery but at a more affordable price, that you can wear every day and which will last for years.” Her first collection, comprising 38 pieces including stacking rings, delicate bracelets with multicoloured gemstones and ear jackets, proved a big hit with influential luxury retailers Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, along with super-cool luxury lingerie/swimwear/resort wear and jewellery boutique, Rumpus Resort in Cheshire.
Now a credible jeweller, gifting for bloggers and celebrities was a big push for her second collection, which was heavily influenced by her own personal style and loves, resulting in A-list attention. “I sent Kendall and Kylie Jenner my hand cuffs!” Rosie reveals. “That was incredibly exciting!”
Mix’n’match your metals
Rosie’s bang-on-trend jewellery brand has become such big news that she’s gone on to release several subsequent ranges, celebrating each launch at prestigious venues, including Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair, where her pieces were beautifully displayed with Maison de Fleurs’ fabulous flowers. Her third fashion-forward collection, launched at premium womenswear trade show, Scoop, held at the iconic Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, offered a bold range of geometric designs, inspired by Rosie’s love of angles and architecture, and a slightly more vintage vibe than her earlier pieces. “They all have a timeless elegance, but this collection was a little chunkier and more statement,” she says.
Alongside cuffs and Heartbeat earrings, the range included single-band rings with a vintage feel, “inspired by one of my mother’s rings which I used to try on as a child.” All of the rings can be stacked - Rosie believes “the more the merrier” - and her silver rings have proven so phenomenally popular that she’s since introduced them in rose gold, too.
Bejewel your body!
A big fan of body jewellery, she adores designing her beautiful body chains. “I introduced body chains just before Christmas and love wearing them all year- round… over a bikini or under a low-cut dress!”
The Chelsea jeweller just launched her latest jewellery collection at the end of May. Epitomising the edginess of her brand, the range is, of course, totally Insta-worthy, and is rainbow and star heaven. “I introduced emerald cut stones into this new collection, which I love as they look so expensive and chic. The rings and earrings have been such a huge success. Of course, the rainbow stones are a huge eyecatcher, too! I also introduced a new style of hand cuff with three stars, which is super cute and a great addition to the brand.”
Quality, quality, quality…
Rosie’s collections speak for themselves. She uses a variety of stones which suit different skin tones and also uses sparkling Swarovski diamond stones to add a little dazzle. Tried and tested by Rosie, she says the quality of her jewellery is “amazing”, and she spent an entire summer dripping in jewellery, wearing her pieces every day to ensure that they wouldn’t tarnish. She says the quality, combined with her price point and style, form her company’s USP. “The quality was really important to me. I wanted to create affordable luxury jewellery which looks a million dollars, but won’t break the bank, and that lasts.” The busy businesswoman wants to keep her brand accessible and makes it clear that jewellery in her new collection is pricier than previous pieces purely due to the products’ weights.
A ‘hot 100’ professional jeweller
With her gorgeous ranges stocked in high-end stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, she’s also secured luxury department store, Fortnum & Mason as another supplier. Prestigious awards, meanwhile, have seen the jewellery star scoop a Professional Jeweller Hot 100 accolade, while her pieces have featured in numerous publications, from ‘Luxury London’, ‘The Sunday Times Style’ and ‘The Telegraph’s Stella’ magazine, to ‘Professional Jeweller’, ‘Grazia’ and ‘Red magazine’.
A top blogger taking the world by storm
Rosie is signed to top management agency, Storm. “They are great to work with and really see my vision of where I want to go in the future.” The CEO of both AtFashionForte and Rosie Fortescue Jewellery says there have been many challenges to starting up and running her own businesses. “The long hours and working solo have been demanding at times.” Having initially had help from her mum, Rosie retains full ownership and control of her business herself although, due to demand, she says she’s reached the stage where she can no longer be a one-woman band. “I have an intern now, who started recently, but I’m still posting orders every day at the post office, on top of everything else!”
When it comes to design and fashion blogging and sharing, she says she likes to show what’s relatable and has worked with numerous brands on her fashion blog. “I love to know what people like (and don’t like). I don’t have so much time at the moment for my blog as my jewellery business has taken over, but I really like to share everything about running a business, too. The highs AND the lows!”
She says every day is a learning curve. “My factory still makes mistakes, or there are delays at customs, suddenly leaving me unexpectedly out of stock… But I’ve learnt to understand that some things are unpredictable and out of my control, so I need to relax and let them happen, rather than stress over the details.”
Her successful brand keeps her so busy that she works around-the-clock. “I can’t just switch off and work 9-5 - I need to always be working with my business, promoting my jewellery brand, replying to Instagram comments, and so on. But, thankfully, I truly love what I do and don’t mind late nights in the office or weekends on my laptop because I am determined to make my jewellery brand a huge success!”