For every village or town on the cusp of a vast wilderness, there’s a story about a long forgotten emaciated explorer weakly limping back to town craving a taste of modern comfort. Scosha Woolridge didn’t exactly paddle through the Verrazano Narrows in a hastily constructed pile of driftwood upon her arrival in New York, but she certainly felt like that kind of wayward Quixote. Four years and five continents after embarking on a self-commissioned journey of the world, here she was in dreadlocks, on Greene Street, in Manhattan. What to do next?
At some point, it becomes hard to distinguish between the jewelry line SCOSHA and its designer, Scosha Woolridge. Many designers cite epiphanies or lifelong dreams and sacrifices, which all seem part of an inevitable equation. I did A to get to B, and arrive at C. Scosha seems to have evolved as much from the varied experiences of Ms. Woolridge’s travels as from any concrete plan. But that’s not to say this is some nouveau-hippy experiment.
Growing up in Sydney, Woolridge’s entrepreneurial instincts took root early. “When I was a little kid,” remembers Woolridge over an afternoon beer, “I used to hold puppet shows and make kids pay five cents to watch. I used to cut flowers out of peoples’ gardens and try to sell them back to them.”
Woolridge didn’t end up opening a community theater but these capitalist instincts would serve her well. After studying art and sculpture at university, Woolridge was offered a solo show at a local gallery. Feeling that she had to see the world first, she turned it down. “I guess I just freaked out a little bit and said it’s time to go,” recalls Woolridge. “I always knew that I was going to leave, even when I was young, and I didn’t ever think I was going to come back.”
There her aforementioned travels began. Consequentially, so did her jewelry design. “I’m really bad at relaxing so I’ve always got to be doing something or making something,” explains Woolridge. “So I was always making things and trading them. No tools, just made with my hands—it ended up being little things you would wear, bits and pieces.”
The end of her travels took her to Brazil, where she found a market, literally, for her goods. “There was a night market where I started selling my stuff,” she recalls. “These bracelets would take eight hours to make and tourists would buy them for ten bucks. I thought, man I could sell these and make money—real money.”
With the thought of actually making a living from her hands, and missing the modern art world just a bit, she decided to head north. “I’d been living like a hippy, we stayed in caves and attended rainbow festivals.” Arriving in New York provided Woolridge with an inspiring excitement and a bit of culture shock.
Along with a few bumps in the road, Scosha began to unconsciously formulate a brand identity. Much of that early DNA is what you see with the collection of today. Scosha is a self-described tomboy, so it’s no surprise that each piece has a unisex feel. Reclaimed metals, fabrics, and textiles dominate the collection. Yet it defies the notion of the granola bohemian that’s often connected with the genre. It’s modern and sophisticated, perfectly suitable for the ex-bohemian world traveler who now prefers the comforts of a hotel room.
“This isn’t jewelry, this is more like clothing,” Woolridge says. “You don’t have to take it on and off. I have a lot of people that I’ve convinced to wear jewelry. Well, not convinced, just put it on them and they don’t take it off.” Woolridge’s exclusive collaboration with Man of the World won’t take much convincing. Scosha has sourced fly wire—out of production since the end of World War II—from used fishermen’s reels to produce a fine, elegant bracelet.
It fits with the general layout of her collection and the direction she looks to take it. As she describes her latest collection, “I started making things that were a little bit bigger, a little more expensive so you could buy one nice piece. It just wasn’t as disposable. A little more thought-out, crafted and designed.” You can be sure it will be something that you won’t want to take off.
Shop our exclusive range of SCOSHA x Man of the World collab bracelets by clicking here.
Words by Jared Flint
Photography by Ricky Chapman