I had the fabulous opportunity to interview the amazing jewelry designer and CFDA award winner
Sterling Silver 3" Fringe Handwoven Oval Bangle with hinge from the
Cosmic Samurai collection.
Who's Simon Alcantara and what inspired you to become a jewelry designer?
I was a classical ballet dancer and as a teenager still on scholarship at ballet school in NYC I learned how to make earrings from a ballerina friend and I became completely obsessed with taking apart vintage necklaces and making earrings and hair ornaments from the materials. Then I would sell them to all the ballerinas.
Who's your ideal customer?
A confident woman who does not want to look like everyone else.
What's your work process like? How do you go from inspiration to finished piece?
It varies, but currently I start with images and words that set up a certain mood that I'm trying to convey. Then I put together a playlist of songs that helps me get into that mood aurally and I listen to it over and over and over! Then the images of the pieces I want to create start to appear in my minds eye, I'll do a simple sketch so I don't forget it and start to create the pieces when I feel ready. Ballet training had a huge impact on me and that's why I am extremely visual and aural.
This is my inspiration board for the Joy Collection. All the images are from my own jewelry as well as ballerinas that inspired me. Then in the left hand corner is a picture of me water skiing in upstate NY and another picture at my friend's house in the South of France.
Learning that I am responsible for my own happiness and everyone else is responsible for their own happiness. It's like freedom from slavery.
Greatest fashion influence?
My mother. I grew up around a bunch of women obsessed with fashion and beauty and my mom was the one they all wanted to be like.
What advise would you give to young jewelry designers?
Be true to yourself. When designing don't over think, try not to think at all. Creativity does not come from the same place that "mind chatter" comes from. Creativity is your connection to your source. Mind chatter is your ego.
A phrase you use far more often:
You can't steal my peace. I use it mostly silently of course.
A city: Paris. I feel the most creative in Paris.
A book: Bushido by Inazo Nitobe. It's an essay on Samurai ethics.
A quote: "From every mountainside let freedom ring" Marting Luther King Jr.
Anything else you want to share with us?
Flow as much love as you can and be present. You never know when it's the last time you will see someone, be somewhere, hear or see something so soak up every nano second of it.
The necklace is from Cosmic Samurai Collection. Featured in Italian Vanity Fair November 2010 and the full credits are:
Photographer, Ian Van De’ Matt: Stylist: Vava Marevicheff Ignatenko.Fox fur vest, Simonetta Ravizza: Necklace, Simon Alcantara (Cosmic Samurai Collection):Top: Dolce and Gabbana .