International Women's Day: Dinny Hall

Q&A with Dinny Hall, founder of Dinny Hall.

Tell us about your role and your business... 
At heart, Im a jewellery designer and that’s what I love to do the most, but I am also the chief strategist, head of production, store designer, HR and general dogs body! In truth,Im a kind of creative CEO and I could do none of it without my wonderful team.

What inspired you to choose your career?  
I was a born designer. By the time I was six I was finding Cartier broaches in jumble sales, by the time I was eight I was creating interior designs of houses - from paintings on the wall to where all the clothes would be living in the house too. I had an eye for detail, butdidnt love sewing so fashion wasnt for me. It wasn’t until I went to art school that I realised I wanted to work with jewellery - working with metal clinched the deal.

I left Central Saint Martins in the early 1980s when there was a genuine hotbed of creativity going on in London. This clustering of talent gave me the confidence to believe that I could simply set up a jewellery design business without any formal business knowledge at all - just an understanding of my own creativity, determination, and no fear of extreme hard work. There were influential people who believed in me and helped me along the way and, once I started designing jewellery for the fashion designer Rifat Ozbek, there was no looking back.

What challenges have you faced along the way? 
Ive been through every conceivable up and down during my 35 years in business - including two global recessions and single mother-hood - somehow weathering these storms. The landscape is constantly changing, no more so than now. Its like sailing a beautiful big boat at times - with clear waters and sunny skies life is good, other times, along comes a storm and you just have to ride it out. You need a lot of hutzpah.

What motivates you? 
I have real creativity and a desire to sit, draw and design, but underneath it all lies an ambition and a drive that powers me forward. This keeps me young at heart.

Who or what women inspire you? 
Women who inspired my work - I was first inspired by amazing women who were not just style icons but were brave and talented women such as Josephine Baker, Nancy Cunard or Lee Miller.

Do you have any advice for other women looking to get into the same field? 
Nowadays I think its really important to try to work for a designer or brand to see what its really like. You need to be able to perform an all-singing and all-dancing show – literally. Never stop being creative and reinventing, never believe that one has arrived at a point where success is yours, because success is fleeting.

What does International Women’s Day and this year's theme Choose to Challenge mean to you?   

International Women’s Day has become increasingly important to me over recent years when I realised how far we still have to go on a global level. Choose to Challenge is a crucial theme - especially this year. COVID-19 has had an untold impact and it is said we are currently experiencing the biggest setback in gender equality for a generation. We must strive now, more than ever to rally momentum.

This year our Suffragette Collection in support of Womens Aid takes centre stage. With domestic abuse on the rise over lockdown, our support has never been more important. Were proud to have helped WomenAid fund a live chat help line to support women in precarious situations, but there is still much to do, together.

Where is your favourite place / what is your favourite thing to do in Marylebone Village? 
The Wallace Collection which is amazing - they have the best collection of armour ever and I love the way that porcelain is shown in those extremely OTT Rococo rooms. Then, for a total foodie like me, a trip to Marylebone Village isnt complete without a visit to La Fromagerie and Delamina, as well as a stay at The Durrants and a drink at their bar – one of my favourite London hotels.


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