Learn all about the incredible brand and the pieces that are inspired by antiquity, art & nature in the every day.

Symbols of Authority is a Black-owned and women-led, independent, small business specializing in everyday statement jewellery. This is an inspirational brand whose pieces are inspired by antiquity and art.

Isoken is the brand’s founder and today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with her about her journey and Symbol of Authority’s first collection.

As a Black-owned and women-led jewellery brand, talk to us about your journey to founding Symbols of Authority.

Our first collection took about 18 months to develop and with COVID almost another 8 months to create. It was a real labour of love, but we enjoyed every second of it. Figuring out how to pay homage to such an intrinsic part of our heritage without losing its essence was a challenge we relished. 

How are the pieces we can shop from Symbols of Authority inspired by antiquity and art?

The Kingdom + Culture collection is inspired by three main motifs – the death masks of one of the most important female political figures in Bini history (a West African Kingdom that prospered from the 1200s to the 1800s C.E. and is still considered one of the most powerful and advanced pre-colonial kingdoms in the world); the leopard which is a symbol prevalent in Bini art as it also signifies the Oba or King and the Ceremonial Swords carried by the Oba (the Eben and Ada) – the literal symbols of authority of the office.

This collection, with its traditional symbols and modern interpretation of historical themes, invites you to explore and discover the culture of the Bini kingdom and by extension the venerated Benin Bronzes which were looted by the British in 1897.

Can you tell us a little bit about the brand’s first collection- the Kingdom and Culture collection- and the pieces offered?

The Kingdom & Culture collection is deeply rooted in the idea that we can be both modern and traditional – offering stylized takes on traditional symbols. We believe that this not only gives people who want to flaunt their heritage and cultural identity in a modern way but also people who are interested in history, art history a chance to connect and participate in the culture in a small but meaningful way. 

There are 12 pieces and three main ‘stories’ – featuring each motif previously mentioned. Each piece is cast in brass and micron plated in 14-24K gold. Some of our more intricate pieces like the Bonoselulu, Ruyi x Idia and the Arese x SOA also feature hammering and miniature etching for some truly next-level detailing, I really love this collection and I hope our audience will as well!

How do you develop the designs for your latest launches?

We start by thinking of what we want to say with each collection, and then we start really digging into the how of that – whether that’s research or archives, parables, or even stories (there’s a lot of oral storytelling in our cultures). For example, we have a collection coming up that features some stories about Yoruba Orishas and some modern-day wedding tales as well. 

What’s next for Symbols of Authority?

Honestly – we are neck-deep in pushing this collection and designing the next couple! We have our first BFCM this year so that’s exciting. Also looking into some designer collaborations with some other Black-owned brands so very very excited about that!

Check out symbolsofauthority.com for more information and to shop the brand’s collection.

In honour of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the brand is also offering HOLR readers a special discount of 15% off with the code THANKYOUHOLR – happy shopping!

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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