Yuki Barton is a former Ryerson Fashion Communications student who now works as an E-Commerce Assistant at budding Vancouver-based brand Oak + Fort and pursues her passion of designing and handcrafting jewelry on the side.
Thanks to an art metal course in high school, Yuki developed a fondness for metalworking and hand-sculpting pieces because of the endless possibilities that exist to create something sentimental, something extravagant, or anything in between. After high school, Yuki continued with her design experience as an assistant to Jenny Bird during her education at Ryerson; helping the Toronto designer with sample development and the creation of prototypes for upcoming collections. Here, she gained a sense of how a self-built business works, setting the stage for one day launching her own line of jewelry designs.
Yuki’s sources of inspiration vary depending on the style she’s into at a given time- currently, it’s minimalism, and so she’s digging into interior design and architectural structures to translate those clean lines and shapes into her own designs. Yuki has developed a signature aesthetic embodied by adding rough touches to her designs for a hand made feel, as well as using sterling silver with a brushed or even a dark, tarnished finish. Her inclusion of raw crystals with organic shapes and an unpolished finish to the mix further amplifies the unique character of each piece.
The aim of Yuki’s final year capstone during her time at Ryerson was to create a contemporary jewelry collection with historical and cultural meaning. She incorporated ancient symbols and shapes into simple, clean designs. The culture she looked into was that of the Ancient Egyptians, who placed a lot of value on their jewelry and were also the pioneers to developing many jewelry-making techniques that are still used today. Each piece from Yuki’s collection represented a different symbol or meaning, and was created using the ancient wax casting technique while silver, one of their most valued materials, was used to create the final product. Often taking between 3-7 hours to create one piece, she ended up with a 7-piece collection and several orders placed by visitors to the Mass Exodus exhibit where she debuted her line.