It started with a pair of pliers, a bunch of discarded necklaces and one summer vacation. One Luv, the quirky accessories label by Sydney-born designer Dina Ochwada, is now celebrating its 10-year anniversary.
“I struggled to find really unique quality jewellery without paying an arm and a leg for it so I started making my own stuff to wear,” Ochwada tells X-Press. “People would always comment on my jewellery and soon I was taking custom orders from strangers off the street. That’s when I realised the problem I had initially faced was a common one and there was a huge gap in the market, so I started One Luv to fill that gap.”
The brand has since erupted worldwide – appearing locally in magazines such as Frankie, Culture, Marie Claire and Shop Til You Drop; globally, in Scout, Nonverbal and Verve. It’s also stocked in Asia, Europe, America and online.
“I guess when I started the label, it was all very light-hearted – I remember stringing miniature dolls on string at one point,” Ochwada says.
“But the brand has really matured over time. Although I still ensure that my collections are fun and playful – much like my personality – the quality of materials used and the craftsmanship has really developed over that time. What used to be a fun necklace people would see in a market and wear for a week or month is now a beautiful keepsake that people see in stores and treasure for a lifetime.”
The designer says her collections are unfettered by passing trends.
“I believe inspiration and creativity is drawn from one’s experience,” she says. “Each one of my collections reflects a particular time in my life, whether it be a place, a person, or experience I had. A lot of the pieces are actually named after places and people that have inspired me at some point in my life.”
And Ochwada is plenty inspired, having lived on five different continents in the past five years.
“Work has allowed me the freedom to roam,” she says. “I have been so lucky to have always had really incredible staff as part of the One Luv team, people that I can really depend on that have allowed me the freedom to travel and be inspired from people and places all over the world.”
Ochwada’s travel adventures stirred her to create One Luv Luv’s All campaign (set up in support of the Books for Africa Foundation), where for every piece of One Luv jewellery sold, a book is sent to a child in need.
“Having lived in Rwanda and actually having some of One Luv’s collections inspired in that country, it only felt natural to have OLLA’s first initiative focused there,” Ochwada says.
Her latest design, Hope Floats, is a pendant with beautifully cut crystals floating inside it. Ochwada says it can open and close so you can put whatever you wish inside its glass chamber.
“It’s a piece that encapsulates the elegance of high fashion jewellery by providing a pendant that acts as a guardian for the treasures inside it.”