Style Series: Jo Tory
NAJO’s founder on the evolution of style
We sat down with NAJO founder Jo Tory to snatch her thoughts on the role that style plays in personal satisfaction, self identity and everyday life. Jo Tory founder of Najo shares her views and secrets on style. With a thriving Australian business now running for 30 years. Jo explains what and how style plays a part in her own life and how it has affected her business throughout the years.
Q- Jo, as a designer, creative and founder in the grand scheme of things regarding personal taste/fashion/ likes and dislikes/ - what is style?
Style is the inner self expressing itself to the outer world. It does not rely on fashion and often can be quite the opposite. It has a very elusive quality that cannot be pinpointed. Style is a learning process as it evolves and changes over the years. Ultimately it’s an innate quality that surpasses fashionable trends. It is your own visual direction. You can’t buy style.
Q- It’s a word that gets bandied about a lot, but as a designer, creative and brand founder, can you give us your definition of ‘style’?
Style is the inner self expressing itself to the outer world. It’s a clichéd definition I know, but style doesn’t rely on fashion and more often swings in the opposite direction, away from trends and imitation. Personal style is about much more than visual representations. It’s imbued with your fundamental value system and born from a complex network of individual experiences, personal beliefs and mantras. Even your heredity feeds into your style. For these reasons, style is not only supremely unique but elusive. It’s a dynamic process, a state of being that evolves over time.Above all, it’s impossible to hijack, steal, copy, buy or sell authentic style.
Q- Where does your personal style come from?
Growing up in a creative household gave me an inherent interest in aesthetics. I was always poring over books of design in whatever genre. Travel opened my eyes to design direction that influenced me. I have always gravitated towards simplicity and harmony in design, this type of elegance appeals to me. Over the years my outlook has developed and refined whether it be in clothing, jewellery or furniture, but I will always love clean, uncluttered lines, this is my style.
Q- The ultimate design question is it form over function or function over form?
We all love exquisite things and beautifully designed pieces whether it be jewellery, fashion, architecture, furniture or cutlery. There are some designs that are destined to be a work of art and to be viewed only. I believe good design is about both form and function. A design must always have beauty and practicality at its core. As a designer/creative this is key for me and my team at Najo.
Q- What is the relationship between your personal style and your home?
I think the best homes reflect our inner selves – i.e. our ‘style’. Our values, experiences, memories and sense of beauty can all be identified in the choices we make. My home is full of examples of my love for art, colour, travel and global influences, as well as clean, modernist design.
Q- How else is NAJO style evolving?
Najo will never waiver from the clean, simple design direction that has been inherent since its inception. That fundamental aesthetic can be seen in our Signature Collection and these pieces are NAJO to the core. However, with our seasonal and capsule collections, we can have some fun by being more playful and experimental with our designs, create themes that are not necessarily the absolute Najo language but will always retain a harmonious aesthetic. This is how Najo evolves stylistically, we will never deviate from our vision but we do have room for flexibility and creative evolution.
Q- What about the relationship between your personal style and the signature NAJO style?
NAJO will never waiver from the clean, simple design direction that has been inherent since its inception. This fundamental aesthetic can be seen in our Signature Collection and these pieces are NAJO to the core.However, with our seasonal and capsule collections we have some fun by being more playful and experimental with our designs, creating themes that are not necessarily the absolute NAJO language, but will always retain a harmonious aesthetic.
This is how NAJO evolves stylistically as a brand – we will never deviate from our vision, but we do have room for flexibility and creative evolution.