Chal­leng­ing con­ven­tions, ex­plor­ing new ma­te­ri­als and push­ing the bound­aries of de­sign, Leyla Ab­dol­lahi is mak­ing her own unique mark on the jew­elry in­dus­try.

Leyla Ab­dol­lahi – the de­signer be­hind the jew­elry la­bel of the same name – is re­cod­ing the very el­e­ments of history, myth and na­ture to bring forth cre­ations so pow­er­ful, dark and se­duc­tive, yet in­cred­i­bly sub­tle, to cap­ti­vate eyes that value pure, el­e­vated aes­thet­ics. Born and raised with both Eastern and Western in#uences, Leyla is able to strike an out­stand­ing bal­ance be­tween prac­ti­cal­ity and unique beauty, giv­ing so­phis­ti­cated women the chance to tell sto­ries of ev­ery­day life, un­til the day these pieces be­come heir­looms to pass through the gen­er­a­tions. U: What can you tell us about your­self? LA: I’m a cre­ative per­son & with a great love for art, travel, mu­sic, fash­ion and an­i­mals. I es­pe­cially love liv­ing in Lon­don and the in­spi­ra­tion it gives me ev­ery day. U: Who has sup­ported you through­out your jour­ney? LA: I think I’m not alone when I say this, but I am for­ever in­debted to my adorable par­ents and my amaz­ing friends for their sup­port and en­cour­age­ment. U: Your items evoke a sense of myth, history and na­ture. Can you elab­o­rate on that? LA: I am inspired by history, myth and na­ture, so the work ob­vi­ously re#ects that. How­ever, I do tend to have mo­ments when cre­ativ­ity just #ows, and that in­spi­ra­tion can come from a myr­iad of sources. U: What and when was the !rst piece/col­lec­tion that put your name on the scene? LA: My grad­u­a­tion col­lec­tion ‘Lace’, from Cen­tral Saint Martin’s Univer­sity of the Arts, Lon­don in 2005. U: How is a con­cept or a de­sign trig­gered in your head? LA: When I see some­thing, or feel a cer­tain emo­tion, I start to play around with var­i­ous ideas in my head. Once it starts to make sense, ideas slowly evolve into con­cepts, which then turn to dra$ sketches, which then turn to draw­ings, etc… "e process is on-go­ing, so there’s never an im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion. It takes time and goes through many changes be­fore ac­tu­ally be­ing !nal­ized. U: Walk us through the de­sign process. LA: Ev­ery­thing starts with in­spi­ra­tion, fol­lowed by con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing an idea based on that in­spi­ra­tion. "is is then fol­lowed by re­search and idea de­vel­op­ment. Once that’s all set, we start with the !nal de­sign. U: Where do you source your ma­te­ri­als #om?

LA: It all de­pends on the col­lec­tion, de­sign and color com­bi­na­tions, which al­low me to choose the right source for my gem­stones. "e list is quite ex­ten­sive, so it can vary ac­cord­ingly. U: As an award-win­ning de­signer, how do you see the aes­thet­ics of your brand evolv­ing in the fu­ture? LA: "at’s an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. We de­sign­ers can be chal­leng­ing. By that I mean, we are con­stantly in a state of in­ner tur­moil – ideas, con­cepts, de­signs, aes­thet­ics are all in a con­stant state of #ux. "ere­fore, it is hard to de!ne the evo­lu­tion of a brand aes­thetic in fu­ture terms, ex­cept that it will al­ways be evolv­ing and im­prov­ing; con­cep­tu­ally, aes­thet­i­cally or oth­er­wise. U: Does a woman’s jew­elry box re%ect her char­ac­ter? LA: Again, this an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. In my opin­ion, ev­ery piece of jew­elry ex­presses the wearer’s per­son­al­ity, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily de!ne a per­son’s char­ac­ter. A jew­elry box may con­tain heir­looms and gi$s, which when bought were for a com­pletely di'er­ent in­di­vid­ual, or cer­tainly based on that in­di­vid­ual’s per­sonal taste. "ere­fore, the present owner of these items will wear these in a di'er­ent way to when it was when orig­i­nally ac­quired or bought. U: From your ex­pe­ri­ence, what’s the di$er­ence be­tween Mid­dle Eastern and Western clients? LA: To me, cul­tural and so­ci­etal tra­di­tions play a part in how jew­elry is de­signed and ac­quired. Ul­ti­mately, there isn’t much di'er­ence as all women love jew­elry! U: When can we ex­pect to see your cre­ations in the Mid­dle East? LA: My jew­elry is al­ready avail­able in Dubai. "is is my !rst ap­pear­ance in the Mid­dle East, which hope­fully will be fol­lowed by many oth­ers in the com­ing fu­ture. U: What’s your dream col­lab­o­ra­tion? LA: "ere are so many ideas that it’s hard to de!ne some­thing in par­tic­u­lar. But I’d love to do some­thing with fash­ion, mu­sic, !lms and art in gen­eral. U: What would you be if you weren’t a jew­elry de­signer? LA: I love art, so it’s fairly easy & I would be an artist. U: What’s the most beau­ti­ful place you’ve ever been to? LA: It’s hard to say, as there are so many beau­ti­ful places in this world! How­ever, I have re­cently vis­ited San­torini, and it was amaz­ing. U: Do you have any piece of ad­vice for young de­sign­ers who have ven­tured into the world of jew­elry de­sign? LA: Chal­lenge your­self con­stantly. Do not be afraid of fail­ure. An unswerv­ing ded­i­ca­tion to the cre­ative and artis­tic process is es­sen­tial, as it’s not al­ways plain sail­ing. How­ever, the most im­por­tant bit of ad­vice I once picked up was to “en­joy the jour­ney”, and re­main pos­i­tive at all times.


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