jewelry out of the DIY-business
Last weekend I had the honor to be featured on one of the most popular Newspaper Supplements of Antwerp and I'm really proud to share it with you here too!
De Markt of Gazet van Antwerpen sent a team over at my studio a few weeks back, to interview me and see where all of AR.M's products are being made. We discussed about several issues - from where I source my materials, my relationship with sustainability and what jewelry making means to me, to why I decided to build my career in Antwerp.
It is a quite lengthy interview and I have to admit I enjoyed my conversation with Emilie a lot!
For those of you who can't read Dutch, here's the translation:
Greek-Dutch Jewelry Designer Feels at Home in Antwerp
The studio of the Greek-Dutch jewelry designer, Anna Rosa Moschouti, lies hidden in a garage in the Seefhoek neighborhood of Antwerp. Her creative space is full of light, in contrast with the generally "gray" neighborhood.
"Antwerp is the place where I officially started my professional parcours as a jewelry designer" says Anna Rosa. "I studied architecture in Greece. During my studies I started making jewelry as a hobby for me, my friends -and later on- friends of friends."
"By the end of 2013 I had opened my first online shop on Etsy and literally 30 minutes after I had my first sale from someone in Australia. I found that super-weird since I hadn't marketed my product at all."
After her graduation, Anna Rosa moved to the Netherlands, her mother's country. She started working as an architect but she kept making jewelry in her small attic-room in Rotterdam.
"After a while I felt quite exhausted by doing both jobs. When my boyfriend found a job in Brussels though I felt the need to make a choice. I remember sitting on the train on my way back from Brussels and it hit me; I will quit architecture to pursue jewelry 100%."
Love at first sight
The couple looked for a place to live together in Belgium.
"I don't like Brussels" says Anna Rosa. "But Antwerp was a love at first sight. I chose this city based on my gut feeling. I feel like home here. And I got the chance to be part of a Pop-Up shop in Grand Bazar quite fast after I moved here. And now I got selected to be part of De Nieuwe Natie, a temporary shop experience on one of the busiest streets of the city. From January until March I will run my own shop in the Stadsfeestzaal (shopping centre)."
"The Design and Fashion scene in Antwerp really inspire me. The Designers here are open to share knowledge and I find that really valuable. That's the only way to make good collaborations happen. My motto is: Community over competition. And my values are: Integrity and authenticity."
"You can see through the design of my jewelry that I'm an architect. You can understand it from my material choices. Most of the materials I use can be found in hardware stores. Like the copper pipes that are originally used in pluming. I polish and lacquer them in my studio in order to create a jewelry piece out of them."
"As an architect I missed the hands-on making process. I spent too many hours in front of my laptop, designing digitally. I don't like the idea of working hard on something that might not be built or might need years to be completed. I wanted to make my hands dirty through making something for my self."
A Ring that became a Pendant
Anna Rosa finds inspirations even on the things she sees on the street. Sometimes a design comes to life out of actually doing; one of her best-seller necklaces was intially going to be a ring.
"Sometimes I have an idea and I really don't know how to implement it. Then I ask around, usually the employees at the hardware stores or other designers, and everyone is willing to help if you ask nicely and without being competitive. I strongly believe that people need to ask for help more often and without being ashamed of it. We find solutions easier when we collaborate."
"I want to stay connected with my initial drive to make jewelry; my love for craftsmanship. But of course I also want to evolve and offer new things. I have just launched a new earring collection that is made from laser-cut metal; a completely new technique for my brand. I want to experiment with new things and in the future I'd like to design home and lifestyle objects too. For example vases or other accessories."
More Art that Fashion
"I am not obsessed with sustainability, but I find it very important to do things with integrity. I always try to support small businesses: I buy my materials only from small European companies, even if it affects the price. It is quite often higher than buying in bulk from large companies overseas. I also try to use organic cotton as much as possible and recycled copper pipes"
"When it comes to Seasons; I recently started following the pace of the fashion industry and I offer new designs every season. I do this mostly for the shops I collaborate with. But I always keep old designs available. I feel than accessories and jewelry in particular, are quite season-less. For me it's less about Fashion and more about Design."
The collections of Anna Rosa are available on her webshop and through a variety of other selling points in Belgium and abroad.
"In the future I'd like to sell more through my webshop and Pop-Ups. I really love the direct contact with my customers. When it comes to my wholesale; I'd like to collaborate more with Museums and Galleries. I feel more "home" in the design-world than in the fashion-world."
Article by Emilie Lachaert | Photography for GvA by Kioni Papadopoulos | Cover Photography for AR.M + Lookbook by Lichtwaas