The trendsetting TV star and style adviser, Rosie Fortescue, is not only a famous fashion influencer, but a first-class luxury jeweler, with fashion royalty including American businesswoman Olivia Palermo, the Kardashian clan, and actress/model Amy Jackson all big fans of her brand.
The über-stylish former ‘Made in Chelsea’ star chats with Angela Sara West about her phenomenally-successful AtFashionForte blog, her role as an ambassador for Jo Malone London and Victoria’s Secret, her favorite London and LA hangouts, shooting for Sotheby’s, and her luxury jewelry brand, which is fast becoming a celebrity fave.
Born and bred in London’s affluent Chelsea, reality TV star and acclaimed fashion blogger-turned-jeweler, Rosie Fortescue, was always set to shine. With her enviable, trendsetting fashion sense, she has been a go-to for style advice and inspiration for years, having fallen in love with fashion and jewelry at a very young age. “I’ve always adored contemporary art and fashion photography and have been a magpie for as long as I can remember!” she tells me.
Rosie’s sparkling career started whilst on our screens in the BAFTA-winning TV show, ‘Made in Chelsea’, aired on E4 and Esquire Network, which saw her hobnobbing with the heirs and heiresses of the Chelsea social set, the fun-loving 20-something residents of West London and the South West areas of the capital, Belgravia, King’s Road and Knightsbridge. Since bringing her fashion blog into the media limelight in 2011 as one of the original cast members of the popular reality TV show, the style starlet has seen her blog bloom and says one of the most exciting parts of appearing on ‘MIC’ was the amazing opportunities that presented themselves during her seven years on the hit show and beyond. “Whether it’s meeting really inspirational people, going to premieres or the fashion blog that I’ve been able to create, I’m so grateful to have been given these opportunities off the back of the show, and its viewers have been really great in supporting all of us as we launch products and collaborations.”
An enviable work ethic
Along with her twin sister, Lily, Rosie went to prestigious Downe House, an all-girls boarding school in Berkshire which Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, also briefly attended, and where other alumni include actress, Miranda Hart, and model, Sophie Dahl. Rosie went on to study a History of Arts degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, before various work placements at contemporary London galleries.
The twins’ parents instilled a strong work ethic in both Rosie and her sister. “It’s great to have a sister who is creative because we bounce ideas off each other,” says Rosie. They’ve both built their own fashion empires, with Rosie setting up her highly-successful, trend-setting blog, AtFashionForte, all about her love of fashion, style, and art, in 2011 while still finishing her degree, which coincided with her beginning filming for ‘Made in Chelsea’. With her passion for fashion and photography, she started focusing on self-styled street style for her blog and began partnering with well-known brands, from Valentino and Heidi Klein to the more affordable, such as JustFab Clothing. She opened her wardrobe to ‘Made In Chelsea’ viewers, posting pictures of the outfits she wore on the show on her blog, seeing AtFashionForte evolve into an authoritative one-stop-shop for fashion advice. It’s also led to coveted collaborations with desirable fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Bicester Village, Huawei, and Jo Malone London.
Style & the city – FROW at Fashion Week
A familiar face at London Fashion Week, Rosie’s frequently spotted in a front-row seat with the fash pack, alongside other famous faces such as Amber Le Bon and Olivia Palermo, one of Rosie’s style icons. “Olivia always looks incredible – she’s the perfect mix of chic and adventurous. I also admire Victoria’s Secret model, Miranda Kerr, who is a super-busy mother and yet always looks effortlessly chic.”
Always on point herself, Rosie’s own fashion style is tailored and structured. She enjoys playing around with fabrics, textures, and styles. “At the moment, I am obsessed with my friends’ brand, we are LEONE. It’s super easy to wear, so chic and elegant, and perfect for both day and night. I love wearing a great-fitting pair of jeans – my current favorite brand is AGOLDE – and a great blouse or shirt. I’m also re-inventing what I already have in my wardrobe – I feel like a new belt or accessory can totally transform an outfit!”
A jewelry star is born
One of Rosie’s very first memories is trying on her mother’s jewelry, and she’s been fascinated with the shiny stuff ever since. As a child, she dreamed of crafting her own delicate pieces, leading to a collaboration on a collection with the luxury British jewelry brand, Laura Gravestock, in 2013. “The Dreamy collection comprised delicate 18ct gold, silver and black rhodium-plated pieces, scattered with dainty four-point star motifs, with the hand-scribed word ‘Dreamy’.” Following the success of her first foray into the scintillating craft, she went solo in 2015, launching her own eponymous jewelry line, Rosie Fortescue Jewellery.
Rosie is on a mission to make luxury jewelry affordable and accessible to all. “I love being creative and want my brand to be worn by all jewelry/lovers who like to experiment with their jewels,” she says. “I really wanted to start my own jewelry brand and work for myself, so launching RF Jewelry was my childhood dream come true!” Self-funded with earnings she made from the TV show, Rosie has worked relentlessly to create collections that are affordable, playful and fun. “My mum always advised me to do what I love, so I’d then love what I do – and it’s true!” she reveals. “So, I thought, I’ll save up the money that I’ve made from ‘Made in Chelsea’ and will start my jewelry business. I work all hours for my brand but, because I love it so much, I hardly notice.”
Describing her jewelry style as “simple, colorful and elegant,” her own taste in jewelry inspires her stunning pieces. “I wanted to create pieces that I wanted to wear – great-quality jewelry, but at a more affordable price, that you can wear every day and which will last for years.” Her first collection, comprising 38 pieces including stacking rings, delicate bracelets with multicolored gemstones and ear jackets, proved a big hit with influential luxury retailers Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, along with super-cool luxury lingerie/swimwear/resort wear and jewelry boutique, Rumpus Resort in Cheshire. Now a credible jeweler, gifting for bloggers and celebrities was a big push for her second collection, which was heavily influenced by her own personal style and loves, resulting in A-list attention. “I sent Kendall and Kylie Jenner my handcuffs!” Rosie reveals. “That was incredibly exciting!”
Mix’n’match your metals
Rosie’s bang-on-trend jewelry brand has become such big news that she’s gone on to release several subsequent ranges, celebrating each launch at prestigious venues, including Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair, where her pieces were beautifully displayed with Maison de Fleurs’ fabulous flowers. Her third fashion-forward collection, launched at a premium women-swear trade show, Scoop, held at the iconic Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, offered a bold range of geometric designs, inspired by Rosie’s love of angles and architecture, and a slightly more vintage vibe than her earlier pieces. “They all have a timeless elegance, but this collection was a little chunkier and more statement,” she says.
Alongside cuffs and Heartbeat earrings, the range included single-band rings with a vintage feel. “It was inspired by one of my mother’s rings which I used to try on as a child.” All of the rings can be stacked – Rosie believes “the more the merrier!” – and her silver rings have proven so phenomenally popular that she’s since introduced them in rose gold, too.
Bejewel your body!
A big fan of body jewelry, she adores designing her beautiful body chains. “I introduced body chains just before last Christmas and love wearing them all-year-round… over a bikini or under a low-cut dress!”
The Chelsea jeweler launched her latest collection this spring. Epitomizing the edginess of her brand, the range is, of course, totally Insta-worthy, and is rainbow and star heaven. “I introduced emerald cut stones into this new collection, which I love as they look so expensive and chic. The rings and earrings have been such a huge success. Of course, the rainbow stones are a huge eyecatcher, too! I also introduced a new style of handcuff with three stars, which is super cute and a great addition to the brand.”
Rosie says she put her “heart and soul” into her new collection. “It really has been worth the multiple changes to samples to get everything just right. I instantly forgot about all the stress when the reception from customers was so great. I couldn’t be happier!” Her bestselling pieces? “The Heartbeat range is a bestseller for sure. It’s super versatile, from day to night, and easy to wear, whilst being a statement piece at the same time. The Huggy hoops are very popular, too.”
Quality, quality, quality…
Rosie’s collections speak for themselves. She uses a variety of stones which suit different skin tones and also uses sparkling Swarovski diamond stones to add a little dazzle. Tried and tested by Rosie, she says the quality of her jewelry is “amazing”, and she spent an entire summer dripping in jewelry, wearing her pieces every day to ensure that they wouldn’t tarnish. She says the quality, combined with her price point and style, form her company’s USP. “The quality was really important to me. I wanted to create affordable luxury jewelry which looks a million dollars, but won’t break the bank, and which lasts.” The busy businesswoman wants to keep her brand accessible and makes it clear that jewelry in her new collection is pricier than previous pieces purely due to the products’ weights.
A ‘Hot 100’ professional jeweler
With her gorgeous ranges stocked in high-end stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, she’s also secured luxury department store, Fortnum & Mason, as another supplier. Prestigious awards, meanwhile, have seen the jewelry star scoop a Professional Jeweler Hot 100 accolade, while her pieces have featured in numerous publications, from ‘Luxury London’, ‘The Sunday Times Style’ and ‘The Telegraph’s Stella’ magazine, to ‘Professional Jeweler’, ‘Grazia’ and ‘Red’ magazine.
Celebrity fans wearing RFJ
RF Jewelry is fast becoming THE jewelry brand for celebs and influencers. Her handcuffs, Heartbeat rings and Huggy hoops have garnered the attention of recognized fashion royalty, including Rosie’s style icon, Olivia Palermo. “I’d always said that if I could have one person wear my jewelry, it would be her, and then my friend sent me an article in the ‘Daily Mail’, showing Olivia wearing my Heartbeat handcuff – I literally cried when I saw it!!”
Other fashionable fans include the British-born Indian film actress (and Rosie’s friend) Amy Jackson, and English singer/songwriter, Ella Eyre, well-known for her collaborations with Rudimental. Fellow influencer, Niomi Smart, and presenter/DJ and another ex-‘MIC’ star, Ashley James (who formed the DJ duo, Bittersweet DJs, with model and BFF Charlotte De Carle, providing the beats for brands such as Dior, Clinique, Jimmy Choo and Coca Cola alongside Nick Grimshaw, as well as for Heidi Klum’s clothing launch in London) also particularly adore Rosie’s hot-off-the-press new pieces.
A top blogger taking the world by storm…
Rosie is signed to top management agency, Storm. “They are great to work with and really see my vision of where I want to go in the future.” The CEO of both AtFashionForte and Rosie Fortescue Jewelry says there have been many challenges to starting up and running her own businesses. “The long hours and working solo have been demanding at times.” Having initially had help from her mum, Rosie retains full ownership and control of her business herself, although due to demand, she says she’s reached the stage where she can no longer be a one-woman band. “I have an intern now, who started recently, but I’m still posting orders every day at the post office, on top of everything else!”
When it comes to design and fashion blogging and sharing, she says she likes to show what’s relatable and has worked with numerous brands on her fashion blog. “I love to know what people like (and don’t like). I don’t have so much time at the moment for my blog as my jewelry business has taken over, but I really like to share everything about running a business, too. The highs AND the lows!”
She says every day is a learning curve. “My factory still makes mistakes, or there are delays at customs, suddenly leaving me unexpectedly out of stock… But I’ve learned to understand that some things are unpredictable and out of my control, so I need to relax and let them happen, rather than stress over the details.”
Her successful brand keeps her so busy that she works around-the-clock. “I can’t just switch off and work 9-5 – I need to always be working with my business, promoting my jewelry brand, replying to Instagram comments and so on. But, thankfully, I truly love what I do and don’t mind late nights in the office or weekends on my laptop because I am determined to make my jewelry brand a huge success!”
A fashionable influencer
“I really enjoy the creative side of blogging – the styling part for my street-style blog, putting different outfits together, playing around with various styles and experimenting with different fashions,” she explains. “I also love the creative side of putting the posts together using Polyvore, for example, to create a collage of images, playing with color palettes and looking at an image in a variety of ways. The imagery is what really inspires me.”
The designer loves discovering new brands and bloggers on Instagram from all over the world. She frequently focuses on self-styled street style and presenting new brands and trends. “Alongside showing people how I like to style things, I love introducing brands to my readers.” From Dior dresses, to boohoo sunnies, she enjoys promoting both established high-end and brand-new brands alike on her social media channels and advises others doing the same to find an alliance which will work well for you. “I’ve always thought VERY carefully about collaborations and affiliate schemes before joining forces.”
“I like to show my day-to-day life with my Instagram stories, too,” she says. “It’s not such a curated page as some are, just what I feel like showing and what’s going on in my life. I also have the Rosie Fortescue Jewelry page, which is much more curated and prettier, and I take more time to really think about what I am posting!” she explains.
Rosie boasts an impressive fanbase – with close to a whopping 500k followers on her fashion page on Instagram, her following has rapidly grown, while having racked up Twitter followers a-go-go, too, nearly 300k fashion fans on the tweeting channel are also avidly awaiting her next post. The hard-working designer’s dedicated RF Jewelry Instagram page, meanwhile, has already captivated over 50k followers. “I constantly show how I wear and style jewelry. Whether it’s mixing the metals, or mixing old with new collections, I like to show how my style changes from day-to-day.”
Rosie the ambassador
Having successfully made waves in the fashion world, Rosie works as an ambassador for numerous high-end brands. Last year saw her in The Big Apple for Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show. “As one of their ambassadors, it was such an honor to go to New York for the show! Victoria’s Secret has the best underwear and sportswear and I got lots more gym kit to keep motivated in the gym before a big trip to Bali!”
She also enjoys her ambassadorial role for one of her fave high-end British brands. “I absolutely love being an ambassador for Jo Malone London. It’s such an honor to be associated with a brand that I totally adore and admire.” She attends many events for the company and adores fragrance combining with their gorgeous scents. “I love to combine my Jo Malone London colognes together as it allows me to create the most heavenly combination that is completely personal to me.” She says the brand’s candles inspire her work. “I’ll light a beautiful Peony & Blush Suede candle and work through my ideas… It’s how I feel most inspired!”
Luxury London haunts
Alongside her passion for fashion and love of crafting jewelry, Rosie’s other pursuits include visiting art galleries, socializing and partying, holidaying and training, in between building on her fashion and jewelry empires.
Refined Rosie’s favorite London hangouts include a certain very grand café-restaurant in Piccadilly. ”The Wolesley is one of my all-time favorites for any time of day. The interiors are divine and it’s forever been a tradition for my family on our birthdays.” She also recommends stopping by Columbia Road Flower Market for some fragrant floral décor for the home. “It’s my Sunday ritual for buying flowers for the week ahead. The vibe and atmosphere there are not to be missed.” Come Sunday afternoon, she says there’s nothing she loves more than tucking in to a tasty Spaghetti Vongole at La Famiglia in Chelsea, the renowned restaurant created by Alvaro Maccioni, known as ‘the godfather of Italian chefs’ in the UK, whose eateries enjoy A-list appeal – everyone from Gregory Peck, Brigitte Bardot and Princess Margaret to famous footballers have enjoyed his culinary delights. “It’s my go-to comfort food after a busy weekend designing new pieces of jewelry!”
Sociable Rosie loves nothing more than throwing intimate dinner parties, but when dining out, the party girl says Berners Tavern for dinner with friends is “divine”. “The steak and the mac‘n’cheese are BEYOND incredible!” She’ll then head to Annabel’s, a luxurious private members’ club in Mayfair which has long been a playground for royalty, supermodels and film stars including Elizabeth Taylor and Kate Moss, for drinks with the Chelsea social set. Rosie says you can’t beat London in the summer months. “I love cycling around Hyde Park, taking in the fresh air. And, if the weather’s good, taking a rowing boat out on the Serpentine is super-fun!”
Getting the look…
Super-stylish Rosie never looks anything less than pristine. Her go-to hairdresser and make-up artist? “Clo and Flo in South Kensington is the best hair salon EVER. Flo, one of the owners, is literally the absolute best at blow drying my hair – I could never trust anyone else! I get my make-up done for events by Tom Ford, whom I love, at Harrods or Selfridges.”
Her beauty and diet tips? “Drink lots of water. It makes me feel awake, alive and does wonder for my skin.” She has a couple of beauty must-haves. “Emma Hardie Moringa Cleanser is my total dream for using at night with a hot cloth, and Advanced Night Repair by Estée Lauder in the evening.”
As for exercise, as a huge fitness fan, she trains around four times a week. A member of the Core Collective gym on Kensington High Street, she’s also a fan of Kobox. “I go to the gym for stress relief… ‘phone free, I can just completely switch off my mind, body, and soul.”
The reality star and blogger-turned-jewelry designer finds inspiration anytime, anyplace, anywhere. “I can be inspired by anything when I’m out and about. I always keep my eyes open to inspiration in my surroundings and can be influenced by anything from the color of a flower for a stone color, or architecture for angles for my designs.” Her creative process when it comes to designing jewelry? “Sometimes, something pops into my head at a random time of the day (or night!) and I either draw it or write a description down on my ‘phone,” she says. “I don’t tend to design to trends or even look out for them. It can be hard to not be influenced by others, so I just stick to designing what I like. I also design by collection, rather than season, as it enables me to launch when I am ready, not when I have to.”
Rosie on the road…
The Fortescue twins are socialite sisters who enjoy a glitzy ’n’ glamorous lifestyle, traveling prolifically and attending prestigious and glittering events all around the world, including the Cannes Film Festival and partying with famous friends, such as The Martinez Brothers, on the ‘White Isle’, Ibiza. From doing yoga in the Maldives to trips to India for a friend’s wedding straight from London Fashion Week, Rosie and her sister often travel together and summer months are frequently spent with the family in the south of France, where her parents rent a house in Provence every year.
Fresh from her annual trip to the sparkling French Riviera this July into August, she celebrated friend and fellow former ‘Made In Chelsea’ star Millie Mackintosh’s 30th birthday back in the UK at Retreat East, a lavish private members farm and spa in Suffolk, alongside Millie’s husband and former ‘MIC’ star Hugo Taylor, Spencer Matthews (also from the show and now brother-in-law to Pippa Middleton – the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister) and Spencer’s wife Vogue Williams, who all partied the night away at the birthday girl’s fun 70’s festival-themed bash.
Jetsetting for jewelry…
With her passion for travel, this gifted jeweler is something of a jet setter and, through her blogging, is often invited on press trips abroad. Rosie recently attended a press trip to Paris. “I then spent a day in the city on my own doing some jewelry store research. I’ve been speaking with Galeries Lafayette and hope to have some exciting news soon!” The upmarket department stores in the fashionable French capital and beyond boast the biggest names in luxury jewelry houses, including Bvlgari, Cartier, De Beers, and Dior.
Rosie recommends a stopover at one of the city’s most prestigious pitstops. “I stayed at Le Bristol, which truly is the most incredible hotel, with the best food and service.” Earlier this year, she enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Milan. “I was literally there for 24 hours for a dinner with San Pellegrino. I love traveling, but got straight back to London and then worked until very late that same night.”
Her travels hugely influence her designs and spring saw her blown away on her first-ever trip to beautiful Bali, where she stayed with her sister at the Nihi Sumba Spa Safari and enjoyed an “incredible time” at The Legian Bali, a multi-award winning hotel which is one of Asia’s leading resorts, along with the magical super zen hotel, Six Senses Uluwatu, where she relaxed at her own private pool and beach, adorned in a few of her fave R F Jewelry pieces, including her Star body chain. “It was paradise!” she says. “Hands down one of the best experiences of my life was horse riding on the beach at sunset. I had the most unbelievable stay in Indonesia…”
LA vibes with Poppy Delevingne
Last summer, Rosie visited Los Angeles for the first time, in her role as an ambassador for Jo Malone London. She enjoyed sensational stays at upscale hotels, including the Four Seasons in Beverley Hills. “I’m so lucky to travel with a brand that I totally adore and I was totally inspired by the way of life, especially in Venice.”
She says the Jo Malone London celebrations kicked off with dinner with model/Vogue ambassador and ‘Riviera’ actress Poppy Delevingne (Cara’s sister), who was launching her new Queen of Pop products in collaboration with Jo Malone on the roof terrace of the suite at West Hollywood’s iconic Sunset Strip haunt, Chateau Marmont. “The location was truly superb… The most stunning setting to celebrate the start of an incredible few days!”
She also enjoyed a spot of shopping in Melrose. “Everywhere we turned there were pink walls and street art – the perfect Instagram backdrops, of course!” On launch day, they were taken to a very special location in West Hollywood in branded Jeeps. “We played with branded ducks to hook and win prizes, and even posed in the bath!” Following the launch and photoshoots, the rest of the day was for play in LA. “We took the Jeeps in groups with the girls and went to Poppy’s suggested favorite spots in LA. It was the best way to discover the city from someone who knows it so well!”
Los Angeles is another source of inspiration for the discerning designer. “I love the whole vibe of LA, but particularly Venice!” LA, you have my heart…” She had such an amazing time that she extended her stay and visited Venice again later last year. “I loved it so much that I just had to go back. And the scenery was so fantastic that I decided to shoot my new Rosie Fortescue Jewelry body chains there.” Rosie recently returned again to carry out the second shoot in Venice for her jewelry brand and to work on some new designs. “I spent the most amazing couple of months in LA this spring/summer, which is beyond exciting and inspiring. It truly is the place that inspires me the most and I have designed my next two collections! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to be able to go away and work at the same time.”
Shooting with Sotheby’s
She says the jewelry industry is constantly evolving and strengthening and she’s always on the look-out for alliances to offer something new. Rosie recently hooked up with Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles, for their Spring Gem Edit. “This was such a lovely photoshoot as I got to style myself and wear the most incredible jewels. Since I also did a degree in History of Art, it was an absolute honor to work with Sotheby’s.”
Top tips for a top business
The secret to her success? “Grafting and hard work. Owning a business is not easy, but I am determined to make mine successful. And her top business tips? “Do what you love and believe in yourself. Be passionate about something to stick with it and stay committed.”
Jewels on the horizon
Alongside researching and working on her next collections in LA, Rosie held exciting talks about taking her brand to the US and also experimented with a pop-up shop in Venice while she was there, showcasing her striking pieces. Having successfully launched her sparkling new line, the former reality TV star plans further pop-up shops and to exhibit at more fairs.
July saw Rosie launch her colorful mobile ‘phone case collaboration with KK Designs London, and there are more gems galore in store from this highly-successful jeweler. “I have lots in the pipeline, plus a couple of very exciting collaborations – watch this space!”
Rosie Fortescue Jewelry: www.rosiefortescuejewellery.com
Rosie’s fashion blog: www.atfashionforte.com
Follow Rosie on Instagram: @rosiefortescue / @rosiefortescuejewellery
Twitter: @RosieFortescue / @RFJewellery
© Angela Sara West 2019 www.angelasarawest.com