SKQ The Luxury Edition - Issue 14

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Welcome to issue 14


This month’s theme of luxury raised a lot of questions as we discussed the topics we’d like to take a closer look at. Not only is the definition of luxury changing – as we discover in our ‘Fresh look at luxury’ piece, the idea of luxury means different things to different people. For me as a parent to still relatively young children, sitting in peace, drinking a cup of tea feels like an almost unobtainable luxury!

For our luxury issue, therefore, we have tried to look beyond the normal, expected luxury industries, focusing instead on those people who can give us a slightly alternative view on the subject.

SK Client, DJ and events business owner, Chris Baxter tells us about his love of vinyl and how it opened up a lifetime spent working in the British music industry. Doing what you love every day is something that most people can only ever really dream of. Making that a reality feels like a luxury no money can buy.

We’ve spoken to bespoke fine jewellery designer, Octavia Norrish and Director of the architect’s firm Charlton Brown, Chris Pask about how they help others inject a bit of luxury into their lives in unexpected ways. We’ve also got a fascinating insight piece by Creative Director, Daren Cook on what art really is and of course, Kunle gives us his own unique take on the luxury of time and memory making.

We hope you enjoy this latest issue and as always, the SK Team is here for you.

We encourage you to share our magazine with those you think may find it useful.

If you have any feedback or would like to contribute to our next issue of SKQ, send Jenny an email at

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SKQ issue 14 | 3 Contents 04 Outlook from Kunle 06 In conversation with...Chris Pask 08 Tailormade Jewellery: The Ultimate Luxury 10 There is a story behind every piece of vinyl in my collection 12 A fresh look at the changing face of luxury 14 What is Art?


Time & Luxury

Luxury. At its core, it means a state of great comfort or elegance.

For many of us, though, luxury can mean many things. Owning a designer bag, a vintage watch, spending time travelling around the Caribbean islands on a yacht. Or it could simply be spending more time on our pastimes and interests; spending more time with our nearest and dearest.

For me, time really is the true luxury. When it comes to time, we can’t get it back. When it’s gone, it’s gone, so you have to make it count. And there’s no doubt that being able to create wonderful memories with the time that I have is important for my mind and body.

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“Time and tide does not wait for any human.”

This Summer, I have already enjoyed a holiday in Menorca (fortunately for Mrs O there was no cricket on at the MCC ground), attending the RHS Flower Show Charity Gala Preview and watching Australia beat India in the cricket nal at the Oval.

Here's the thing though. Our brain is wired to remember bad news. There is a part of our brain called the amygdala. The amygdala on the left hemisphere of our brain deals with positive and negative stimulus. The one on the right only processes negative events and ignores happy experiences (our friends at 7im wrote an article all about this on our website not long ago).

It basically means you have to have twice as many good experiences to balance out the bad. Yet another reason to plan and use your time wisely, spend it doing the things you love and with the people you love.

What’s more, good memories last forever. The joy, the happiness, the mind and body bene ts you get from them are not just in the moment, they stay with you and you can revisit them when times get tough. It’s your memory bank – I’d say that makes it the most reliable, valuable, useful bank around (and I know a lot about banks!).

in your memory bank. The monies we have can provide the means to do this. Money is not the end goal, it’s what allows us to do the things that we want to do and our memories add the “why” to what we do. If you invest in your time, invest in your memories, you will always reap the rewards. What a luxury.

Reward your mind with wonderful memories. Be kind to your mind.

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In conversation with...

Chris Pask, Director at the award winning London architect’s firm, Charlton Brown.

As an experienced architect who specialises in high quality residential design, Chris is perfectly placed to give us an insight into what really elevates a home and helps create a space that is truly special.

SKQ: From an architectural perspective, what are the things that really help make a building into a successful home?

Chris Pask (CP): The layout and overall flow of a home is really important and can make the difference between a house that looks great, and one that feels like a home. And as well as meeting the aesthetic requirements, the house needs to work perfectly for its residents. It should respond to their individual needs and how they want to interact in the space. I also feel, it needs to have a sense of character, ideally one that resonates with its occupiers and has some kind of meaning to them.

As a practice, we always strive to understand our clients on a personal level –understanding their likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests. This allows us to design a space that we know will resonate with them, rather than a soulless – albeit beautiful – house.

SKQ: What are the smaller details that add a real sense of quality to a home?

CP: Ironmongery is key. O en the smaller details like door handles, get overlooked, but these finishing touches can make all the difference. Lighting too of course - a home that is beautifully illuminated adds an additional nod to quality. And finally, artwork. Investing in art that will stand the test of time is a good way to elevate a space. You can also experiment with different types of artwork, from canvases, to sculpture, to ceramics and light installations.

SKQ: What are the things that people should consider to get the most out of their design and renovations?

CP: The more a client is prepared to invest at an early stage in terms of what makes them tick, how they live now and how they and their wider family are likely to live in the future makes a profound difference to the ease of the process and the actual result. It

is incumbent on us to draw this out of the client, a key role in establishing the brief on any of our projects.

In terms of specifics, people o en fail to consider the seemingly unrelated disciplines of acoustics and lighting when contemplating design. The profound difference that can be made to the perception of space by the unseen comfort or harshness of the quality of sound is rooted in technicalities but ultimately makes the distinction between homely and unwelcoming. So fabrics, furnishings and irregular room shapes and surfaces make a substantial difference but there is also the option of using hidden techniques to improve the situation.

Lighting, be it the quality of colour rendering or colour temperature, makes a huge and underestimated difference to the atmosphere. People o en know this but frequently forget that flexibility is key depending on how a space will be used.

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SKQ: What small things can people do to really elevate a space?

CP: Experiment with different textures. A room that is all one texture can o en feel bland and uninspiring. Small things like adding a throw to the sofa and layering with cushions can make a big difference. And be sure to dress the space. Beyond the furniture, think about the additional layering items you can introduce to elevate it. Things like coffee table books, candles and interesting ‘objets’ will give any space a li .

SKQ: What does luxury mean to you?

To your clients?

CP: True modern day luxury is, we believe, defined by individuality, uniqueness, genuine comfort and true quality in terms of cra , which is based on design, material and execution.

Our clients are increasingly drawn to a curated eclecticism that individualises a home. Meanwhile, true sustainability can be created through providing furniture, spaces and architecture that will be cherished throughout a lifetime and for generations rather than until the winds of fashion turn to blow in another direction.

SKQ: Have you seen a shi in what people want from their homes when it comes to high end properties?

CP: Tastes are continually evolving, however I think we have seen a few interesting new trends emerging over recent years. There has undoubtedly been a shi away from the highly polished and formal interiors we saw in the boom years, post-recession. Now, luxury is more understated, concerned with cra smanship, longevity and sustainability. Our clients are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint and understand the impact that their home and its contents might have.

I think we are also seeing a greater appreciation for older properties. New builds certainly reigned supreme in the days of One Hyde Park, but there has been a notable shi towards period properties, homes that tell a story and can be brought back to life through sensitive restorations, to offer the best of both worlds – a beautiful historic home designed to the highest standards of contemporary living.

London remains the UHNW capital of the world and caters for a full range of discerning tastes, we pride ourselves on a truly bespoke service that tailors the design to the individual context of client and property.

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It’s perhaps no surprise that, as a designer of bespoke jewellery, she takes this view. But there is something to be said for her take on what constitutes a true piece of high end jewellery. There is so much jewellery out there to buy, some of which costs unimaginable amounts of money, but surely true luxury comes from making a piece that is entirely yours, that is absolutely one of a kind. You really can’t get more exclusive than that.

And buying bespoke is about so much more than the end product. It’s about the experience, the craftsmanship and creating a piece that is completely tailored to you.

It’s all in the detail

“People are often surprised by the level of detail and involvement that goes into creating a single piece of jewellery. It is a luxury having true craftsmen and women involved, to have so many people giving their time and expertise to create this one piece just for you,” says Octavia.

In Octavia’s studio, it can take as many as eight different craftsmen, all based in the UK, to work on a single piece of jewellery. There are people who specialise in stone sourcing, setting, engraving and even polishing. They are all experts in their fields and are incredibly passionate about what they do. It is the opposite of some of the high end, designer pieces out there, which cost a lot but are ultimately churned out in a factory setting and in comparatively high numbers. Here, you spend as much or as little as you want and each piece is completely unique, handcrafted by people who really care.

For Octavia, it is the finer details that make a piece truly high end and the fact that every little detail is properly considered and thought through – the proportions of the

setting must perfectly suit the chosen stone (something that is so often misjudged on off the shelf pieces), the clasps, the right chain to make a pendant sing.

“The little accents make all the difference. It’s in the details where the true craftsmanship comes in and what makes a piece feel like a true indulgence. Every detail is as it should be and it is just right for the person. This is when people want to wear a piece of jewellery for years to come,” she says.

“We also often add small, secret details that only the person wearing it knows about. Hidden initials in the metalwork itself or personal messages engraved on the inside of a ring, for example. It can be romantic, sentimental or even cheeky. There’s just something so magical about knowing it’s there when no one else has clue.”

The joy of giving jewellery a new lease of life

It is undoubtedly a real pleasure to work with people at happy times in their lives, such as engagements and weddings. But there is another side to her jewellery making. “I am always thrilled to be involved in those exciting and happy moments. But it is also a real honour to be there at more vulnerable, even sad times, especially when we are remodelling a piece. Perhaps it is after a divorce or it’s an heirloom after someone has passed away.”

When it comes to repurposing, the design process has to move gently, as each piece can have a lot of sentimental value attached to it. It can take time to find the right balance between modern updates and maintaining that emotional connection. People often do not want to completely lose the feel of the piece, which is why Octavia

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“No one needs a piece of fine jewellery. So make sure it is an expression of you, of what you love and is something that no one else has,” exclaims Octavia Norrish, owner of Octavia Jewellery in London.

often incorporates a nod to the original detailing to link it back. For example, if there is millgrain (a fine beading style) on the original piece, this can be incorporated into the new design. If it is a really beautifully made vintage piece, however, Octavia will not take it apart.

“Having granny’s brooch in a safe or knicker drawer and bringing it out just once a year to look at is just so sad. These pieces of jewellery should either be worn and enjoyed as they are or repurposed, they shouldn’t be kept away out of sight.”

“People are often surprised by just how wonderful it is to have their expression of an heirloom. And if you do it well, it can look very different but still retain that sense of emotional connection. But equally, repurposing can sometimes mean a total transformation, after a divorce for example. It can become a very powerful symbol of a new start.”

Diamonds are forever…and for every day

Whichever approach you take – designing a brand new piece of jewellery or redesigning an inherited piece - you need to make it right for your style and this is particularly true when it comes to diamonds and precious stones. Most people see diamonds as only for special occasions, but Octavia disagrees. She wholehearted believes that when you create a piece in a style that suits you, that fits in with your lifestyle, you make it right for the everyday, even if there are diamonds.

“You should enjoy your diamonds and your stones. But to do this, the design has to be right – there is no point in having a large, high set diamond ring, if you have anything vaguely practical to do during your day. It will just get in the way and you won’t wear it.”

“Get the design right, though and you won’t want to ever take it off. That’s how it should be. You should wear your jewellery whenever and wherever you want to – with a white T-shirt and jeans, if you want to. It gives you a little sense of luxury every day, which is what everyone wants really. Why save it for a special occasion? No, that’s just such a waste!” Diamonds every day, who wouldn’t want that?


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For me, music is like a treasure chest of lyrical dialogue. Lyrics are stories of love, adventure and situations. I find myself reflecting on lyrics of songs every day in life. With a strong family and supportive friends, you just have to believe in yourself and in my case, believe in the music and everything starts to fall into place.

I grew up in Hornsey, North London in the 1980s. I embraced New York Hip Hop culture and was a dedicated DJ and graffiti artist. In those days, in my mind, you only had four life choices to make - rap, breakdance, Graffiti or be a DJ. During this time, collecting records was a lifestyle and from an early age, I fell in love with music and records.

In these early years, I really started to fall in love with vinyl. I used to be fascinated by the amount of interesting information that an album would have printed on it, from the spine to the inner sleeve and cover. I also loved the fact that new records were sealed. You had to unseal them, which felt like opening a present on Christmas day. I’ve always had a personal connection to every record I’ve ever bought and there is a story behind every piece of vinyl in my collection.

Back then, all DJing was done on vinyl. Rare records were highly valued and sort a er, we also had something amazing that we do not have now - local record shops. We didn’t have to go to the West End to buy records. The first record shop I bought my first record from was Sunshine Records in Turnpike Lane run by a guy called H.

Through secondary school years, I started buying soul music and DJing became a full-time career path. I didn’t know at this stage it would be my first business, I was just buying as many records as I could afford with whatever pocket money and odd job money I could get my hands on. We all had week by week record shop buying routines. These patterns were influenced by iconic DJs who would o en be behind the counter working at the shop. A normal week would always start with Trevor ‘Madhatter’ Nelson’s late night show on Kiss FM. I would listen to the show and hit the record shops and vinyl mail order companies the following morning, which was mainly rare groove and funk at the time, carefully timing my visits to the days when new US imports would arrive as American Soul and Hip Hop was in its golden era.

At the time, I was a member of the Soul II Soul sound system, led by Jazzie B MBE, who hosted the legendary Sunday night sessions at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden whilst also building the Soul II Soul brand at the Camden HQ. Being around the DJs and promotors encouraged and heavily influenced my weekly buying routine. At the Camden HQ, records bought were played, listened to and approved of by the funky dreads, Daddy Harvey, HB, Jazzie Q and Jazzie B. Harvey would ask me to help with the sound, which sparked my passion for the music equipment. Sunday Nights were amazing and Trevor Nelson and Jazzie B became my musical godfathers. A lot of the music I bought back in the day was based around the selection these guys were playing in the clubs and had a massive influence on my music taste. There are so many other DJs who made me understand the importance of vinyl records and DJing rare grooves, boogie, funk and disco which became the core of my record collection. DJs such as Des Parks and Norman Jay especially but also Nicky Holloway, Judge Jules, Pete Tong and Bobby and Steve.

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“I’ve always had a personal connection to every record I’ve ever bought
“Sunday Nights were amazing and Trevor Nelson and Jazzie B became my musical godfathers

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to inherit lots of personal record collections, including my Mum’s Dub and Reggae collection. She also had lots of rare white labels and albums a er working for Caroline Records (part of Virgin Records) which I managed to get my hands on. Collecting vinyl records allows you to go through various styles and genres. At times, I would become obsessed with 7-inch records, to the extent that I would want to play a whole DJ set from just 7 inches. In the 90s, I was buying every rap album I could get my hands on. Tupac, Snoop Dog, B.I.G, Wu-Tang. I also have a large selection of classic artist albums from the 60s and I tried to collect and buy most of the Beatles albums, and really enjoyed buying movie soundtracks on vinyl as well. In those days, you would buy a whole album just for one track, then discover the album was full of gems.

A er college, I had the opportunity to work in Washington DC, USA, for a small independent record label called Hitmaker Records. The owner of the record label, Norma, invited me to her house to stay with them for a few days and when I asked where she lived, to my amazement she said, ‘Rock Creek Park’, the title of one of my favourite songs by the Blackbyrds. Norma gave me so many records, significantly contributing to my collection. Most of my Roy Ayers albums came from her, as well as signed copies of James Brown and Lonnie Liston Smith albums that I will never part with. At the end of the trip, I came home with more than 500 records. It was the first time I had to go through ‘goods to declare’ at an airport and pay duty for records.

With all of this musical energy, I started my first business, a DJ agency called Sounds Good to Me. I had 10 amazing DJs and we specialised in corporate event DJing. We were working for event organisers and early party planners in a fast evolving events industry, which eventually led me into a love for event production and technical equipment. We had contracts at embassies in London, I was a BBC contractor as a DJ for many years - this was a big deal as a young black DJ and business owner - and we worked at London’s top hotels as mobile DJs. We played for celebrities like Graham Norton, Father Ted, Lenny Henry and The Eastenders cast. Every year we would do the Top of the Pops awards a er party and I travelled across Europe, DJing at private parties and weddings.

I must pay tribute to Elliot, a school friend who was o en by my side behind the decks as he introduced me to mixing and DJing in the early years.

I set up Rockit Event Production in 2007 a er working for years in the events industry. I started small and have grown the business into a recognised, reliable AV, sound and lighting hire and technical event production company. Some of our clients include H&M, Somerset House, PlayStation, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Spotify, Google and Tommy Hilfiger to name just a few. My office has a backdrop of vinyl which brings a smile to my face every day. I o en dig out records that have cherished memories attached and go and play them in the office.

During COVID, I decided to sell a selection of records that I felt I could part with. I set up a record store on Discogs called Groove Gem Records and finally became a seller. There is something special about shipping records to Japan, Europe and across the UK, that gives me great satisfaction. Selling your music to other people that value your records is great, but it’s also hard sometimes to part with a record that has a lot of history and memories. But the music is always there Trevor Nelson once said during a radio show: “Believe in yourself, believe in the music, and the music will believe in you. Hearing is believing”. Words that I will never forget...

“I o en dig out records that have cherished memories attached and go and play them in the office
“You would buy a whole album just for one track, then discover the album was full of gems
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A fresh look at the changing face of luxury

Whether you see luxury goods as a sound investment or not, there’s a fundamental shi happening in the way we define what luxury is. Yes, the idea of what is a luxury will be different for different people, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure will always ring true. But there’s no denying that, as an industry, the luxury market has always been about extravagance, exclusivity, expense.

And certainly for the past three decades this has been borne out. Whether it was the rise of the designer brand in the 90s or the craze for ‘bling’ in the early 2000s, with every celebrity dripping in gold and diamonds, the music scene littered with references to aspirational luxury items. More recently, we’ve watched as the superrich buy up yachts, multi-million dollar mansions, super cars and private jets. This opulence was a lifestyle that people just couldn’t get enough of. Until now.

There are significant trends coming through that are starting to give the idea of luxury a brand new identity. An identity that feels much more inclusive versus its previous iterations, driven by the younger generations now beginning to wield their considerable spending power. They may have been born in the 1980s and 90s, but they are too young to have been fundamentally influenced by the ‘yuppy’ years.

Indeed, earlier this year, Fortune Magazine wrote that “The luxury market is undergoing a radical transformation as it adapts to the growing spending power of Gen Z. Along with Millennials, these consumers accounted “for the entire growth of the luxury market in 2022,” according to Bain & Company, and are predicted to represent 70% of luxury spending by 2025.”

These younger consumers are challenging the long standing view of what luxury is and demanding something completely new. They are looking

beyond the traditional ideals of status, wealth, prestige and embracing a completely different set of values that are borne out of sustainability, inclusivity, transparency and even a move towards a more circular economy. Brands and businesses in the luxury markets are having to pivot. They’re having to do an about turn and almost completely reinvent themselves to satisfy this desire for a new kind of luxury.

But this shi may not actually be as challenging as some might expect. More o en than not, luxury items provide superior quality and greater cra manship. This makes them the ideal item for the second-hand market and for passing on as heirlooms, feeding perfectly into these new ideals.

Luxe Digital magazine highlighted this approach as one of its seven top trends for the luxury market for this year, stating that “the very essence (timelessness, enduring desirability, durability, and

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in some cases, scarcity) of luxury goods makes it particularly well-suited for the resale market….Increasingly, affluent consumers are seeing resale as a way to shop sustainably (and brands as a way to boost their sustainability credentials).”

Why buy new, when you can buy a vintage designer piece, a luxury item that allows you to also satisfy your ethical values? Rolex, for example, recently launched a certified pre-owned program, which achieves exactly this without the brand having to turn its back on its own values of quality and heritage.

In travel too, according to Luxury Travel Magazine’s key trends for 2023, sustainability is a top priority. “Travellers are increasingly committed to purposeful travel, and not just in a strictly ecological sense. They’re also seeking out companies and experiences that focus on “benefitting local people and the economy” and “preserving natural and cultural heritage.”

And while the trend towards so called ‘quiet luxury’ in the fashion world, defined by Vogue as ‘essentially a synonym for elevated basics’ has been dismissed by some as simply a form of private members club for the rich and famous. A kind of ‘if you know, you know’ situation. The reality is that it too is the opposite of overt opulence and of old school ‘bling’. It also allows so many more to get involved. You may not want to (or be able to) spend hundreds of pounds on a plain white designer T-shirt, but you could buy a beautiful so white organic cotton T-shirt that feels luxurious to you, allowing you to be a part of the movement.

There is no denying that the world of luxury is changing, that we are turning our backs on the traditional ideals of what luxury means and embracing a new order. One that is less about an ostentatious attempt to set ourselves apart from others and more about inclusivity and deep-felt, collective sense of responsibility and of doing better. Exciting times lie ahead as we settle into this new way of experiencing true luxury.

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What is Art?

Well, Andy Warhol said, “Art is anything you can get away with”. He was right, but to me, “Art is also whatever we, the viewer, decide it is” - an interesting thought in the context of this edition's theme.

When we think luxury, we usually think 'opulent' or 'expensive'. It's obvious why a superyacht is expensive, but when it comes to contemporary art, one man's masterpiece is another's junk. All art is subjective, but some artworks are more subjective than others. It's a theme I enjoy exploring in my own work.

Of course, art has been around since the beginning of us – it's been fundamental to the development of culture and civilisation. I'm not thinking so lo ily; what interests me is what I call 'Dinner Party Art' – the kind of work that engenders admiration and scorn in equal measure. The type of work that's worth a fortune at auction but inspires comments like 'I could've done that' or 'What's so clever about dots?' by the less enamoured party guest. There's nothing like divisive art to get a dinner party conversation flowing – especially if it says, 'I could've done that'.

Great art encourages discourse. Herbert Bayard Swope said, "I can't give you the recipe for success, but the recipe for failure is trying to please everyone". Quite.

If you put a signed football shirt in a frame, does that make it art? or a Pink Floyd drum skin? If a piece owns up to being fake, does that make it a work of art in its own right? It's not trying to deceive anyone.

Marcel Duchamp decided a urinal was art in 1917. It was - in fact, it's become an icon of 20th-century art. You might not like it, but you can't ignore it. The New York Society of Independent Artists didn't care much for it at the time. Still, imagine owning an original Duchamp!

In the context of luxury, art is art if we decide it is. If it appreciates in value or is appreciated aesthetically, then it's art. The more divisive, the better. Art

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whatever we
it is.
put in a frame.
Art is
"I can't give you the recipe for success, but the recipe for failure is trying to please everyone
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“In today's life, Luxury is Time and Space.”


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SKQ issue 14
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