Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Anissa Kermiche – Photos by Paola Vivas for The Style Line
London-based jewelry designer Anissa Kermiche is
making a statement in more ways than one. With her unwavering mission to design for modern, dynamic and all around sharp women, Anissa has been able to call upon her professional experiences and love of travel to create inspired pieces that champion the wearer no matter their life and style. While her distinct point of view as a designer has resonated with us, there’s also something to be said for how deeply thoughtful Anissa’s approach to her work truly is. As she stated in our interview below, “When I look back, the pieces I create are a transcript and a story of my life.”
Speaking more to this idea and with our penchant for storytelling (and love of great design) we were thrilled to have the opportunity to experience a day-in-the-life of this promising designer. Upon meeting Anissa we were instantly swooning over her gorgeous design studio where we spent some time to find out what she’s learned from this endeavor so far – so without giving too much away read on to meet Anissa Kermiche who discusses taking creative chances, modernity and personal style.
My name is Anissa Kermiche and I launched my eponymous jewelry brand roughly a year ago.
I must say for the past two years my passion, which became my job, in turn pretty much became my whole life. Starting a business really takes over the rest if you truly take it seriously; there is always something more to do, something better to think about. I use the spare time I do have to attend design exhibitions here and there to keep connected to the international design conversation. My next trip will be to Salone de Mobile in Milan – always a must-visit. That naturally feeds into what I do for a living but it also feeds my aesthetic and creative self, allowing me to view the world in a different way.
I’m also a huge fan of music and travel to hear my favorite artists either in London or abroad during festival season.
Family is also very important to me; I just became an aunt 6 months ago! However much I travel they will always be at the core of my value system.
London is one of the epicenters of independent design – especially in jewelry it seems! How has the city inspired your approach to/furthered all of your endeavors thus far?
London is such a smorgasbord of culture, history and experience that it creates a sense of liberation which you don’t feel creatively in the same way in Paris, my hometown. You can truly express yourself here and no one bats an eyelid and for someone like me who is inherently rebellious that is such a relief. I feel like I’ve been able to realize my creative vision to its fullest extent in London – and to push my own boundaries.
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With a nod to your academic background and initial pursuits what specific elements of your education have translated into the making of your eponymous brand and what has been the most interesting synergy between computer science and jewelry design?
My background in project management has given my business structure, no doubt. Also my understanding of technical engineering and training in CAD means I can 3D print my samples which I truly believe enables me to create original sculptural shapes which I’d never have been able to fully realize without my background.
I left my job with a head that was bursting with ideas but I didn’t know how to turn a sketch into a physical product and didn’t know how to start the full production process. I started to really knuckle down and seriously design my first collection straight after graduating from 3D computer-aided design, though I never imagined that it would go this far. I was driven by a desire to kick-start my own business and see all of my sketches and ideas take shape and be worn.
We love how much character is infused within each piece. What are some of your most unexpected sources of creative inspiration and what do you hope to add to the modern woman’s wardrobe?
It’s hard to point towards a precise source of inspiration. When I started designing, I covered an entire room with magazine clippings, art, postcards and poems, and I would write on whiteboards and step back to take it all in. I think when I processed all of the information and visuals in front of me, the first outlines of the collection were born as jewelry pieces in my mind.
When I look back, the pieces I create are a transcript and a story of my life. The Body Language pieces speak for themselves and represent a rebellious side while the other geometrical pieces are highly influenced by my mathematical background. Some of the pieces portray elegance and femininity which I learnt from my time in France.
I am always seeking to add a bit of excitement to a jewelry box, I find the jewelry world quite rusty.
What piece or style do you think best embodies what you’re trying to accomplish with the brand and what piece has had the deepest effect on you as a designer?
The Corne de Gazelle choker’s physical shape combines all of the elements that matter to me: the circle is the symbol of femininity, the pearls bring elegance and timelessness and the parallelism between the chains are a geometrical statement. The piece as a whole has become my signature piece from my collections.
With the above in mind, modernity is something we’re seeing a lot of within this new wave of fashion and lifestyle brands and it’s also something we talk about in our stories as it pertains to some of the world’s bigger conversations. In your mind who is the Anissa Kermiche woman and what makes her modern?
To be honest, in designing the first collection I undertook a somewhat selfish approach. I had a precise image in my mind of what I wanted to wear, but I couldn’t really find such pieces anywhere, so I started designing my own. I was lucky in finding that my designs resonated with other women. The women that I design for all have one thing in common – chic with a twist. The Anissa Kermiche woman has an eye for detail, is curious and tolerant, but most importantly does not take herself too seriously.
My pieces are a tribute to all of the strong women I see around me, to self-acceptance, diversity and open-mindedness. What’s really important to me however is seeing that my pieces are being worn and loved – whether it’s by a mother who picks a classic mother of pearl signet ring or a fashionista who wants to upgrade her outfit with a pair of statement earrings.
How would you advise the next generation of jewelry designers, makers, etc. to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
Simply DARE. Trust your guts. When I designed the Body Language line, naked body parts, pubis, boobs, my manufacturers laughed at me. They said it would never sell. Now it is at the Conran Shop, the ultimate designer shopping destination, and the range has appeared in magazines like the NY Times, Vogue and W magazine. Nevertheless, always keep in mind that this is a business and there is a validity and reality to market and trends.
As important as it is to believe in your own style and personal taste, it sometimes isn’t everyone else’s so if you decide to invest time, money and your heart in a creation that will be seen by the public (and probably criticized), you have to be 300% convinced that it is fresh, unseen, exceptional. Ask the closest people around you, and wear your prototypes to see if the people notice them; it is great to get validation right from the start. As much as you can, avoid looking at other designers’ work. In order to find your own signature, it is important to be blind to what already exists. Just look around you and seek inspiration in everything else you see, and beyond visual shapes, let situations move you and encounters influence you! London offers so many beautiful opportunities!