Award winning jewellery designer Monica Vinader came to Manchester to unveil her new counter in Selfridges Exchange Square in their shiny new beauty and accessories hall and Manchester’s Finest was invited to interview her personally.
The first thing I notice about Monica is that she is beautiful and warm and without question incredibly inspiring. Monica’s designs are worn by some of the most famous celebrities around the world, from Claudia Schiffer to Olivia Palermo and Kelly Brook. Also a winner of the prestigious Jewellery Brand of the Year Award in 2009, she is incredibly grounded and honest.
Monica Vinader is probably most well known for her Fiji and Rio friendship bracelets and has just launched a special edition Fiji bracelet for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity. Her designs all have a ‘one of a kind’ quality and her collections are inspired by her multicultural background and love of travel.
MF: What was the driving force behind starting your own brand? It must have been a tough decision versus joining an established name?
MV: It is hard to start up on your own, out of college I did actually join another business and ended up in jewellery by accident. After leaving art school after 4 years I joined a small jewelers and started drawing and designing. It was a small business where I got to design and do PR and really learnt a lot of what I do now.
I then went off and did something completely different for 17 years in Mexico and Argentina and it was during those years I started designing and making my own things and I think from then I really knew I wanted my own brand. I always knew that I wanted to do that on my own and I saw a gap in the market and thought that maybe I might be that gap!
I felt there was a gap for really beautiful, well made things that I could afford, I guess I felt a bit frustrated that all of the beautiful jewellery I liked was gold and diamonds and was so expensive or they were just too cheap and badly made and I felt there could be an in between that wasn’t safe, that could still be beautiful and well made where materials were still important, real craftsmanship, real stones. And my sister saw this, she believed in me, she eventually joined me 3 years ago and helped me make this happen. Until 5/6 years ago I was still living abroad so until then and until her I didn’t really start doing this properly. It’s really hard to start your own business and I couldn’t have done this without her, her knowledge, her support.
As a creative unless you have another side that balances all of that out its very difficult, it’s very hard to be creative and be entrepreneurial at the same time. We both took a lot of risks which I just don’t think we would ever take again, in hindsight I’m glad we did it but it was really scary.
MF: What was the first piece you created or when was the first time you really thought “this is me, this is what I was meant to do”?
MV: Actually I don’t feel like I’m destined to creative beautiful jewellery only, I’ve always felt that I’m meant to create and I think I would design a chair, a table. In fact I’m very fussy and I would probably design a lot of what’s around me if I could.
I’m quite opinionated about things that are 3 dimensional. I would quite like to design a lot of things. It’s more the design process that really interests me. Right from when I was tiny I would make models of things, I loved minatures.
There has never really been one piece of jewellery that really made me feel that way but I’ve always known I’m meant to be doing something in 3D, sculptural and not really flat. Who knows what I could be designing next!
MF: Do you have a favourite piece?
MV: Oh yes, a piece from my next collection. I’m absolutely coveting a pair of lace earings and I still haven’t got a pair myself which makes me quite nervous. They are beautiful and we launch them in January.
The other thing I need this side of Christmas is one of our nugget bracelets!
I’m already working on AW12 so I frequently forget the pieces I need to order for myself!
MF: Which of your personality traits do you think comes through most in your work?
MV: I think the part of me that reflects most in my jewellery is that I’m pretty pragmatic, I’m a no nonsense, quite direct person, I don’t skirt around, very direct, very see-is-what-you-get. I think when you see the jewellery you see the spontaneity.
I don’t think it’s an overtly fussy collection. It’s easy to understand. It’s easy to see the beauty in it. I’m not trying to change the world or be something that I’m not, it’s not contrived. It is what it is. I design in a very honest way, I’m about what I love. If I don’t love, it doesn’t go in.
MF: Whats next for the Monica Vinader brand? Any collaborations? I read recently that you ‘collaborated’ on the furniture in your new store on South Molton Street in London.
MV: I kind of collaborated with the architects, it was very much a process of them putting my vision through their aesthetics so I guess in that sense I collaborated a lot with the store as a whole, it was very much a labour of love for us all – the husband and wife architect team and myself. It was a very collaborative process. We’ve ended up with a really beautiful store that reflects my personality and I couldn’t have done that without their talent.
We do also have a really exciting collaboration coming next year, a small range, a collection of bangles and stacking rings with a Spanish blogger based in London, Gala Gonzalez. We’ve just finished the prototypes and she hasn’t even seen them yet, it is of course very me but also very her. It’s been very interesting working with someone else creatively as I usually work very much on my own but we’re very excited, she’s a great girl!
Monica Vinader is available in Selfridges Exchange Square and Selfridges Trafford Centre as well as online at www.monicavinader.com
Thank you to both Monica Vinader and Tyler Psarras her Press Manager for their time and for inviting us to do the interview.