At just 23, Raipur-born Sonam Sakhuja has already worked with global fashion powerhouse Blumarine. Add to it, a string of impressive creative collaborations with Italian jewellery labels Falcinelli and Chevalier Project, and you have a promising new talent to watch out for. The Rome-based Jewellery Design graduate is currently working on timepieces for Italian watchmaker Verdastro and Litas, squeezing out time to work on mini projects with friends.
We recently caught up with the high-achiever to talk about all things design, her love for jewellery and of course, Blumarine. Here’s the illustration, called ‘Happily Equal’, which she made exclusively for ELLE.
ELLE: What attracted you to jewellery design particularly, as compared to clothing and other accessories?
Sonam Sakhuja: I developed an interest in product design while pursuing my four-year course in Fashion Design at SOFT, Pune. I felt the urge to complete a look with extra props, jewellery, even contemporary shoots – whatever added value to the look!
I’d always find it easier to make my own products rather than buying them. So as soon as I finished college, I knew my calling and started with jewellery. But I don’t restrict myself as a designer: I create anything and everything I’d need to make a “look” talk loudly.
ELLE: What inspires you?
SS: Emotions. I incorporate my true self and thoughts into a project. Sometimes, when I am intrigued by something, I make that my project – that becomes my inspiration.
ELLE: How did Blumarine happen?
SS: My academy (Accademia di Costume e di Moda, Rome) collaborated with Blumarine for a semester, to evaluate our work by the end. As they came across mine, they wanted me to produce more things for the collection (which I had proposed earlier!). Eventually, a couple of months later, I got a call from them. They were planning to use my ‘B’ earring for the Spring-Summer ’19 show. Later, the earrings were available for sale worldwide. It was unbelievable. I am looking to continue this association.
ELLE: What was the experience like?
SS: It all happened too fast to really sit down and observe it. But it was a great push for me to open up to luxury design houses like Blumarine, at such an early point in life.
ELLE: Tell us more about the inspiration behind the ‘B’ earrings.
SS: The “B” is actually the golden ribbon forming the logo of Blumarine. The idea was to be classic and yet have something that would sell well. The root of inspiration was that stage in a woman’s life, when she transforms from a girl into a woman. When she is confused and confident about a dozen issues, contemplating on whether to open up or keep it within. The collection was hence, named ‘Blossom Of Pleasure’.
ELLE: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
SS: I have a very flexible aesthetic where I experiment a lot. Emotion is a constant in all of the changes I go through.
I don’t think I can name my design aesthetic yet.
ELLE: Your favourite piece ever?
SS: I don’t have a favourite yet. Though I’m working on a cheek piece, that I’m most excited about so far.
ELLE: The jewellery labels currently on your radar.
SS: Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and House of Malakai (HOM).
ELLE: Your favourite Indian and international designers.
SS: My favourites change like billboards, haha. I am always moved by the experimentations of the UK-based hand embroidery artist James Merry and self-taught multi-disciplinary artist Malakai. I also love Misho by Suhani Parekh and Roma Narsinghani from India. I like how effortless Suhani’s work is – her less is loud and I like that. And I absolutely love whoever does the show jewellery for Gucci (possibly Sara Nozza). More than their commercial collection, I love what goes-on on the ramp: the storytelling, the ‘look at me’-ness, stunning!
ELLE: Your muse?
SS: My Father.
ELLE: Who is the woman you design for?
SS: I don’t design just for women. I design for whoever wants to be looked at and talked about.
ELLE: Is launching your own label on the cards?
SS: Yes, of course, for survival purposes. Before that, I want a lot of experience and experiment with materials and aesthetics in general. Possibly, I also see myself working as a Fashion Artefact Designer. (laughs)