[Mikara] As a person who loves accessories, I was lured into your website (via IG) to see the rest of your collection. What made you decide to become a jewelry designer?
[Angely] My journey to becoming a jewelry designer has been an unusual one. I was always the creative child growing up. I drew all the time. I learned about the difference between art and design while participating in a teen program with the Cooper-Hewitt. As an immigrant, I think that was pivotal in me becoming a designer because it opened my mind to careers I never knew existed. I ended up going to business school, where I also experimented with ceramics and digital fabrication, but it was an art course in jewelry that took my creativity to the next level. After graduating, I held jobs and internships in different industries, learned to work with glass, and then took jewelry courses in the evenings at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In 2016, I left my job and finally decided to study jewelry design full-time at FIT. It is around this time that I ended up assisting Jules Kim, the woman behind Bijules and the Bijules Incubator, a talent development program in NYC where I finished and released VERMILLION, my debut collection in partnership with New York City Jewelry Week (November 2018).
[Mikara] What gets you in the creative zone when you are creating new items?
[Angely] Pretty much anything. I see an usual flower, a loud color, and I’m already coming up with a floral form and the gemstone that would go in it. These days, I am mostly sourcing for gemstones and or objects and then designing around that piece. It’s a great way to stay creative. I also see alternative materials like vinyl, or plastic (which I’ve worked with in the past), and I’m already thinking of a larger-than-life piece I can do with that. I sketch on anything (i.e receipts, post-its, etc.) just to remember the idea until I get home, where I can draw in peace.
[Mikara] Coming from your experience, what is your favorite part about being a jewelry designer?
[Angely] My favorite part of being a jewelry designer is designing. It’s the most fun part as a I get to create something that still doesn’t exist in the world and figure out how it will be made. I absolutely love every minute of it.
[Mikara] What is the meaning fashion (to you)?
[Angely] To me, Fashion is an expression of who you are, how you feel, where you come from, and what you want to be.
[Mikara] Define the women wearing your jewelry in 3-5 words?
[Angely] Fierceless, Independent, and Determined.
They want to be seen and be heard.
[Mikara] How do you want women to feel when wearing your accessories?
[Angely] I want them to feel happy and confident. After all, they are wearing wearable art. That’s how I look at my work .
[Mikara] There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
1- Integrity and ethics over everything! Don’t design to follow trends, or because it’s what people want. One day people want blue, the next day they want red. You can’t keep up with that. Instead, stick to your intuition and your values.
2 – Go with the flow! I don’t follow seasons. I do what I feel is fitting to my vision in the present and at the moment where I find myself. I’ve had ideas for years, but now I am getting the opportunities to execute them. So patience is everything.
3- Focus! You need to focus and do the work. For anyone starting out, just start. The more you think about it, the longer it will take to happen. It’s not just putting pretty posts on Instagram and done! It’s so much more than that.
4- Educate yourself so you understand the scope of the work you are doing.
5- Create your collection so you can live off of the collection, not necessarily from the collection. What I mean by this is, that your work is so amazing that people want to commission you for a project, a brand wants to collaborate with you, or someone wants you to do their engagement ring. So focus on making a great body of work first.
6- Your present circumstances will not determined your future. Always remember that!
[Mikara] How has your brand evolved from 2 years ago?
[Angely] Two years ago I was a student. We had projects and deadlines, so there was no time to do anything else except for school breaks. Back then I was also doing very elaborate and editorial pieces. I am still doing those, but now that I know design, I am creating jewelry that can be worn in different ways (i.e an ear cuff that becomes a pendant, etc.) and pieces that can be worn everyday.
[Mikara] If there a celebrity/influencer you would love to be in your design, who would it be and Why?
[Angely] There are so many! However, I will leave this to the Universe to decide. I like when life surprises me and things happen when I least expect them.
[Mikara] Outside of fashion designing, what do you do for fun?
[Angely] Outside of designing jewelry, I love going to the MET. It’s literally my favorite museum, like a whole other world. I also love seeing dance performances, going to the theater (whenever possible), and watching super creative films. My life is not that interesting (laughs).
[Mikara] What is next for the brand Angely Martinez?
[Angely] I am going with the flow. Right now, I am working on 2 major projects. One is about antique carved stones and the other is a collaboration, among many other things. Exciting times ahead, so stay tuned!!!