Q&A // MEET AFRA AMBA
Afra de boer (29) AFRA AMBA
What is it you do?
“I have a jewellery label for which I create everything by myself. My story started four years ago when I actually was looking for some jewellery for myself. However, I could not find anything that matched my personality; I love simplicity and powerful shapes. At that moment I started to create my own designs. At first, I gave my designs to my friends and they were really enthusiastic about them. Therefore, I decided to start my own label. With my jewellery I dare the wearer to cross a personal border by wearing a lot of jewellery at the same time. I am absolutely an advocate of the statement ‘more is more’.”
Did you follow a specific education to be able to realise your designs?
“I did not follow an education to become a goldsmith or anything, but I do come from a very artistic family, thus creativity flows through my blood. However, there was someone who taught me all the basic skills and the rest I practically learned all of this by myself. The reason for me not to receive an official education in jewellery is the length of these programmes. That means I would only have finished my education by now.”
How long does your label exist at this moment?
“My label is 1,5 years old. 1,5 years ago, my web shop went online. Before the official launch of my web shop I spend a lot of time on markets promoting and selling my jewellery.”
How would you describe the style of your brand?
“My designs are tough, powerful, as well as gracious and feminine, but minimalism is leading. The materials of the jewellery are mostly gold and silver. I am a big fan of gold. It is quite an expensive material to work with, but my label is more developed now and I can afford myself to work with gold as well. So nice!”
What does your private jewellery box look like?
“There are so many items in there and all is gold! The jewellery is spread throughout the entire house; some are hanging, some laid down, and others are on display.”
What is the best reaction to your jewellery so far?
“When people say “because of your jewellery I have pierced some extra holes in my ear”.”
How many times did you get your ear pierced?
“Eight times on the left side, and six on the right, so you can sum both ears up. I am sorry, I have dyscalculia myself haha. So, fourteen it is, that is quite a lot!”
Which emotion do you wish to give to the wearer of your jewellery?
“Power! And also a bit of glamour, but I am not a very big fan of glamour. I mean more the feeling of glamour, rather than the look of it. I want the wearers of my jewellery to feel like “wow, I have two big clumps of gold hanging on my ears.” The powerful shapes of my jewellery are intended to give you a vigorous feeling.”
Aside from jewellery, do you have a specific tic with clothing?
“I feel best when I have my Nikes on. Therefore, I wear them ridiculously often. I always end up putting them on again.”
Is there an earring or jewellery piece that forms the leitmotif for your collection?
“Yes, there is the BE loved earring. It is my trademark as well as my bestseller. It has the shape of a triangle, which refers to my brand name with four a’s in it. So, there is a returning pattern of the triangle shape.”
What have you learned from the fashion industry so far?
“It sounds quite cliché, but I have learned to stay true to myself and that I should only be inspired by others until a certain level. I need to focus on the things that make me happy. Even when people say that you should do certain things differently, my advice; do not differ from your own vision. For example, I really love the black oxidised silver items with gold on it. It does not sell very well, yet I want to keep it in my collection for the people that do feel the same way like me and think it is really cool. So, stay true to yourself”
If it was up to you, how would you see the fashion industry change in the next ten years?
“I am a huge advocate of handmade products and imperfection. I hope this will get a greater emphasis in the industry. It would be cool if my own brand could function as an inspiration for others to do the same.”
Which fashion advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
“Back when I was the age of 14-15, I used to dress quite lowbrow. Fake nails, fake lashes, name it! I even was a fan of Paris Hilton, that already says enough! Maybe I should have toned it down a bit and realise that it was okay just to wear Nikes and dress a bit more Tomboy”. Everyone remembers that adolescent period where you think that everything you do is supercool, but in reality it is not.”