There is art in every piece of jewelry that you see and when it comes to Akansha Sethi, she draws inspiration from the little things in life that she comes across. Graduating from Goldsmiths, University of London, Akansha was able to channel her creativity into the making of her jewelry and with the help of her final year project titled, ‘The Power of Narrative’ she was able to develop and structure her design.
Alongside her studies, Akansha has spent months in India learning about gemstones and how to handcraft jewelry, which led to the creation of exclusive jewelry pieces for herself and her friends and family. Using both, gold and silver, she is able to create unique pieces. At the same time, taking inspiration from her travels, she always incorporates them in her design, building a personal connection to each piece. Talking to Meaww, Akansha shares her experience working at London Fashion Week.
1. How was your experience working for the London Fashion Week?
It was an honor to be part of such a prestigious event within the first year of launching ‘AS by Akansha Sethi’. London Fashion Week was the ideal platform for myself as a new designer because it allowed me to meet some of the most influential people in the fashion industry and showcase the first three collections. The feedback for all three collections was positive, this has aided me in the creation of the upcoming collections.
2. Is there any incident from behind the curtains that you find memorable?
Two hours before the end of the show all the jewelry designers were asked to move their stands closer to the red carpet in the middle of the room, as the director of the British Fashion Council and an influencer were coming to visit the show. It was a wonderful surprise to see Her Majesty the Queen walk into the Designer Showrooms. She had specifically asked to see the jewelry and hat designers before presenting the award at the final catwalk. It was a delightful experience to show my pieces in person to The Queen and explain the ethos and narrative behind the designs.
3. Who has been the biggest motivation in your life?
My parents passion for art has exposed me to the world of design from an early age. This ranged from jewelry, artifacts, and paintings. I have been able to travel the world and see different art forms with them sparking my interest in art and design. Their support has allowed me to bring to life my jewelry sketches and start the brand ‘AS by Akansha Sethi’, which initially just seemed like a dream. They have always motivated me to do better and guided me to follow through with my ideas, which at the time I didn’t think was possible.
4. What were some of the challenges you faced when you started fresh in your career and how did you cross them?
Explaining the different elements in the first two collections was very challenging, a variety of models and sketches were made to test out how each part would fit together and transform from a brooch to a pendant and a pair of earrings. For example ‘The Deco collection’ due to its multiple functions required a number of trials before the final piece could be manufactured. I had to make sure that all the individual pieces were aesthetically pleasing and when to put together blended harmoniously with each other to create a unique and complete design.
5. What inspires your design?
My design philosophy is to gain as many experiences as possible from my travels around the world and reinterpret my memories into wearable art forms. I seek inspiration from the places I have traveled to and by studying art movements, which have shaped my understanding of design. For example, The Bougainvillea collection was inspired by my last trip to Jaipur. Buildings in the city were festooned by brightly colored bougainvillea flowers creating swathes of undulating pink and orange. I have captured that moment by representing the shape of the windows and latticework of Hawa Mahal with branches of bougainvillea flowers.
6. Which is your favorite jewelry from your collections and why?
I have a personal connection to each collection I have designed so far, which makes it difficult to pick a favorite, however, ‘The Rose Collection is very special to me. The process of making the earrings is just as natural and unique as the real rose petals used, which makes each piece extraordinary. Each petal has been embellished with a detachable hand carved Rose Quartz or Ruby stud, to complement the character or the color of the petal.
7. Would you say that your heritage and culture has inspired your designs? If yes, in what ways?
The collections have been designed to capture my Indian heritage and British upbringing. Each design captures a memory that has significance in my life. For example ‘The Deco Collection’ was inspired by my ancestral home in Indore (Central India) and from our heirloom photographs of my grandparents, who have lived the art deco period.
8. What are the other projects you can tease us with?
As a woman who truly loves jewelry, I love wearing and designing rings. The next collection is a series of adjustable rings, which combine my Indian heritage with a western twist.