DBMS DESIGNER TALK: NINA KASTENS
Nina, just over three years ago you founded your label of the same name. What would be your advice to other young designers who also want to take the leap into self-employment?
Just do it! If you’ve been dreaming about starting out for yourself for a long time, then you owe it to yourself to give it a go. That’s how it was for me; I had dreamt of starting my own label for a long time. Though five years ago I really wouldn’t have thought that I’d end up creating a jewellery label. I actually discovered and developed my passion for jewellery design and craftsmanship while I was doing my Master’s degree in Business Administration.
For the start-up phase, my advice to young designers is to take your time. There are so many things you have to think through properly, and that takes time. For me, everything moved along really quickly, which was great, but some things had to be reviewed and reworked afterwards.
In New York, you completed a goldsmith’s apprenticeship at the prestigious jewellery trade school ‘Studio Jewelers Ltd’. To what extent has the city shaped and influenced you and your label?
Since I finished the apprenticeship 3 years ago, I go back to the city for a few months a year to develop my new collections. The cultural and aesthetic diversity of New York is very impressive and inspires me to come up with new designs every day. There are countless exhibitions to visit, not to mention the architecture, the fashion, etc. It’s also easier for me to work there, because all the suppliers and stone dealers etc. are located around two streets. Everything is just so much more flexible and you can also work much quicker on a project without interrupting the creative process.
Last year, you launched your Fine Jewellery line. What led you to take this step?
Gold has a really special impact on me. It has a wonderfully radiant power, even when it’s not combined with diamonds. I have wanted to work with this material for a long time. Especially since I often create custom-made items like wedding and engagement rings for customers, the step towards a small Fine Jewellery line felt like a natural progression. There are few clean, modern but timeless collections in the Fine Jewellery segment. And that’s precisely where I am positioning myself. Fewer, but more valuable pieces. I think this ‘trend’ is also catching on in jewellery.
How do you approach the actual creative and creation process?
As I mentioned, I always go to New York for a few months a year. I have to be detached from day-to-day office life, which my assistants then take care of. Only there I can focus 100% on coming up with ideas and designs. I usually collect a lot of sketches and magazine cuttings in my sketchbook throughout the course of the year. These can be of shapes, structures or objects from interior design. I sort these ideas and delve into the respective shapes. I do some research, visit museums, etc.
Upon request, you can even create your pieces using organic gold. What exactly does this entail?
In general, recycling materials is an important part of my entire production process. Leftover metals are melted and recycled. My metal supplier is a certified member of the ‘Responsible Jewellery Council’ and is therefore committed to complying with all ethical, social and environmental processing methods. The ‘organic gold’ is made of 100% recycled gold, which means that no new gold needs to be mined.
The style icon Emma Watson loves wearing your creations, so much so that she has asked to set up a long-term cooperation…
This cooperation came about through my PR agency in London. Stylists are always making requests for celebrities, and that’s how Emma Watson started wearing my jewellery. She liked it so much that we talked about a longer-term cooperation. She was particularly interested in the origins of and production processes involved in making the jewellery, since fair conditions are very important to her. I’m curious to see which pieces she will wear.
As part of the BERLINER MODE SALON you presented your ‘The Face’ collection, which is not only beautiful, but also reflects the Zeitgeist. What inspired you to create this collection in particular and what inspires you in general?
THE FACE forms part of my new PURE collection, which will be launched in October. Sculptures and works of art by Hans Arp inspired this collection, in which I have depicted shapes from nature in a very minimalistic way. THE FACE is also a minimalised representation in the form of a one-line drawing. The inspiration behind this collection came from interior design.
Photocredit: Nina Kastens
Graphic Design: NOWADAYS.de