To kick off the new year we speak to Anissa Kermiche - engineer turned jewellery designer, she creates designs that reflect the powerful and funny women around her. Originating from Paris, Anissa currently works from her studio in London.
Hi Anissa, can you tell us what you’ve been up to at the moment?
It is all work related, I am setting up a new office as my baby company is growing and more people are joining the team. I am also working on some new exciting projects with my current retailers. It is this time of the year where I have to gather all my thoughts, try to disconnect from the business side of things and come up with exciting designs. I find the duality of my job quite challenging, running a business, making sure the ends meet, and still managing to let my brain dream and expect it to deliver imaginative ideas – it’s not the easiest!
With your jewellery collection launching in the beginning of 2016 – what has the past year been like for you?
It has been a truly overwhelming year. I didn’t expect the brand to take off so fast and the amount of things I learned beats any class I took in the past. There is nothing better than a real business experience. My year was like a Christmas rom com, from laughter to tears! 2016 was the year where stress and I kept each other company, where I had to face several challenges and deadlines to make sure I was keeping the big retailers I work with happy. It was also the most flattering year ever for my career - I would be lying if I didn't think this year was absolute madness. Seeing my pieces in Vogue, The Telegraph and the New York Times; receiving invitations from some of the most prestigious jewellery editors to talk about my brand - in my craziest dreams I hadn't expected this.
I have always sketched jewellery at the office when I worked as an engineer for a big consulting company; my documents were full of drawings already. But I was struck with an ennui that led me to turn to the world of jewelry. I completed jewelry design courses at Central Saint Martins then went onto Holts Academy in order to learn how to turn my designs to reality. I left university with plenty of ideas but didn't really know where to start in order to actually make a product from thin air! I started to seriously design this collection straight after I graduated from 3D computer aided design two years ago, I never imagined it would go that far! I wanted to start my own business and I wanted to see all the sketches I had in my mind take shape and be worn.
I grew up in Paris in a Franco-Algerian culture. The area where I grew up was a window to the world, a crazy melting pot. The fusion of cultures, social strata and environment really opened my eyes to the world. My upbringing was extremely strict, my mother wanted me to be an academic and it fostered a rebellious side that I only dared to express years later, which materialises in many of my jewellery designs. This certainly explains my Body Language line, made of naked female body parts. My style has defined itself over time, addressing my strict upbringing and subsequent rebellion. I can say that after three decades I am now proud to create pieces that empower women and celebrate femininity.
Which would be your favorite item from the current Preen Line collection?
The Elise dress and Neva top – worn with sneakers to dress the look down.
How was your New Year?
I spent the New Year in Tulum like the year before and like I will the upcoming one. It was an absolute dream. I had some friends working with a music label who threw a party in Tulum with Nicolas Jaar playing. We drove there without any expectations but we had the best party ever, when the sun started to rise, we discovered that the jungle where we spent the whole night was actually on the beach and hundreds of white birds were quietly swimming. Everyone rushed to the water, got undressed and swam with them. I will never forget that night! I hate being cliché and wish I could say I'm not heading back to the same place for the third year in a row, but that’s just how good this white sand paradise is. Only in Tulum do I ever manage to truly switch off (potentially because there is literally no reception anywhere). What makes it so special is the carefree barefoot-only spirit, the fact it’s very rustic and quaint, and the Mexican cuisine.
What’s your plans for 2017, any resolutions?
I quit making resolutions as I never ever stick to them. As much as I would love to be a disciplined character, I guess I fit the mould of a creative mind: I tend to think outside of the box and setting rules constrains me. There is one thing I want to make sure I will do though: spending more time with my friends once more, as I slightly neglected them in 2016 because of work. My plans are to keep developing my company and make sure the business side will be solid enough to support its survival. I am gradually learning aspects of the business I never expected to be confronted with, like setting up the processes, best practices, hiring people and training them, keeping my teams motivated. It is so many jobs in one. Designing has become a minor part of it and I hope I will get back to being creative as soon as possible. I am currently working on designing an object line. I already sell my jewellery at the Conran Shop and I would love to work more closely with them.
What three songs are on your playlist at the moment?
Good life, Inner City
Waltz of The Flowers, The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
Tourbillon, Jeanne Moreau
Check out the gorgeous Anissa on Instagram @anissakermiche
Photography by the amazing @evaksalvi