Go­ing for ( 14k) gold

> This prac­ti­cal pair is set­ting things straight in the fash­ion ac­ces­sory seg­ment

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FASHION - BY RACHEL LAW

PRAC­TI­CAL and pretty don’t typ­i­cally ex­ist side by side. But there’s a new kid on the jewellery block prov­ing oth­er­wise. The Straits Fin­ery (TSF)’s Amira Ya­haya and Foo Chia Ch­ern are bridg­ing a gap in the lo­cal mar­ket that’s torn be­tween ex­treme ends of the jewellery spec­trum – posh ver­sus cos­tume ac­ces­sories – by in­tro­duc­ing min­i­mal­ist rings, ear­rings and neck­laces made with the un­pop­u­lar 14-carat gold.

Un­pop­u­lar here at least, as most Malaysians would de­mand for 22k or at least 18k gold for its in­vest­ment value. How­ever high­er­carat gold does not fit the bill for Amira and Foo as it is softer and yel­lower. 14k gold, on the other hand, is able to ful­fill TSF’s de­sign philoso­phies, possess­ing Forbes.

In a sign of her longevity in the in­dus­try, Moss re­cently mod­elled for Calvin Klein – more than two decades af­ter she was first pho­tographed for the com­pany.

She shot to fame in the 1990s and was swiftly la­belled the epit­ome of “heroin chic” – a fash­ion trend blamed for glam­or­is­ing drugs and anorexia.

De­spite a string of scan­dals – in­clud­ing pho­to­graphs al­legedly show­ing her tak­ing co­caine – Moss’s im­age has sur­vived each episode un­scathed.

She is adored by fash­ion bible Vogue, adorn­ing its cover dozens of times and serv­ing as con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor for Bri­tish Vogue in 2014.

While mod­el­ling for the world’s ma­jor fash­ion houses such as Ver­sace and Yves Saint Lau­rent, Moss has also signed up with high street make-up brand Rim­mel and col­lab­o­rated with Top­shop. the abil­ity to en­dure daily wear and tear, while ex­ud­ing a mod­ern aes­thetic that goes with any getup, what­ever the oc­ca­sion. “The colour is very mel­low for 14k, but what makes it es­pe­cially good for our jewellery is that it’s ex­tremely hardy be­cause it’s only 58% gold and the rest is al­loy. They won’t bend even though our pieces are so fine,” ex­plained Foo, who’s the de­sign lead. Chim­ing in on 14k gold’s dura­bil­ity, co-founder Amira said, “We have a cus­tomer who doesn’t take her ring off when she’s wash­ing the dishes! And the ring’s OK be­cause it doesn’t get in the way nor does it tar­nish, and it’s so flat that it sits com­fort­ably against the skin.” This Novem­ber, TSF (www.thes­traits­fin­ery.com) will be un­veil­ing a new batch of na­ture-in­flu­enced de­signs to com­ple­ment its Essentials and Luna Col­lec­tions. theSun met the ar­tic­u­late and prag­matic duo over cof­fee to un­earth their in­spi­ra­tion and vi­sion for this five-month-old start-up.

Why, of all pos­si­bil­i­ties, did you choose to ex­plore jewellery? Amira: We’ve al­ways loved ac­ces­sories and jewellery, but they’re not nec­es­sar­ily wear­able ev­ery­day. As one ma­tures, you try and stream­line your looks. Al­most ev­ery­one has a go-to uni­form or out­fit, but not so much with jewellery. Foo: Real jewellery here is very in­ac­ces­si­ble in terms of pric­ing, and be­cause there’s lots of di­a­monds and pre­cious stones, you don’t feel par­tic­u­larly safe wear­ing them. You also don’t want to bling up when you go to the of­fice. A: Pro­fes­sional women gen­er­ally don’t want to be os­ten­ta­tious. It’s al­ready tough in the work­place, why do you want to make dress­ing up com­pli­cated? Even tai tais don’t want be showy on a day-to-day ba­sis, so they end up buy­ing cos­tume or high-end jewellery. There’s no mid­dle ground.

Tell us about The Straits Fin­ery’s ap­proach to ringstack­ing. F: Stack­ing rings has al­ways been pop­u­lar, but I’ve also found that a lot of rings don’t really stack – you wear it on one fin­ger, then a midi ring on an­other. So we wanted to make it pos­si­ble with a co­he­sive de­sign in­stead of hap­haz­ard stack­ing.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing process was a big learn­ing curve be­cause the gold- and sil­ver­smiths had to craft the rings so that they fit ex­actly – in mil­lime­tres – with three other pieces. It was chal­leng­ing as op­posed to mak­ing a sin­gle ring. A: You can ei­ther wear them sep­a­rately, or stack them which­ever way you want to. It gives ver­sa­til­ity to the wearer to change her look through­out the day.

How has the re­cep­tion been to­wards TSF’s min­i­mal­ist ap­proach to jewellery? A: I’ve been told that we de­sign with prac­ti­cal­ity, which strangely has led a lot of men to un­der­stand the con­cept and pick it up eas­ily. I’ve had male friends who have point-blank said, “I’ll never buy my wife jewellery but I might con­sider yours be­cause it has a prac­ti­cal, func­tional value as op­posed to just be­ing... fluff.” F: When we’re at bazaars, men would be the ones drag­ging their girl­friends and wives to see our jewellery. To them, it’s LEGO for women and it’s easy to un­der­stand be­cause it’s not com­pli­cated with di­a­monds.

The pric­ing is also ac­ces­si­ble, so it’s an easy pur­chase and they can buy an­other next time to match the first.

Lastly, how about a teaser for TSF’s up­com­ing col­lec­tion? A: It’s in­spired by the short breaks you take out of the city – it’s not even trav­els to far­away lands. Ch­ern and I found the same shapes and themes when she went to the beach and I went cav­ing, and we de­cided those are lovely to work with. F: There’s a pat­tern through­out na­ture. I don’t think we strayed too far from the cur­rent col­lec­tions so it’s more or less seam­less. The whole idea is still be able to mix and match be­tween col­lec­tions. A: And about styling with ease, but do­ing it with a cer­tain el­e­ment of your­self. We’re ad­ding more ear­rings this time, as we started out fo­cus­ing on stack­ing rings.


Amira (left) is a free­lance mar­ket re­searcher, while Foo is a mother of one and a for­mer copy­writer.

Kate Moss.

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