Friend of Svenklas : Suhani Parekh
Kendall Jenner wears MISHO’s Mini Flow hoops to an NBA game
Jewellery designer Suhani Parekh’s cult fashion brand and minimalist sculptural jewellery label MISHO has a celebrity following like no other. Her jewellery pieces have been spotted on Kendall Jenner on various occasions and it’s a feat not many international brands, let alone Indian, can boast of. MISHO’s roster of other star-studded fashion icons includes names like Rihanna, Natalie Dormer, Deepika Padukone, Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian West.
Trained as a sculptor at the Goldsmiths University in London, Suhani’s transition into jewellery came about after realising the pieces she was making during her course looked better worn on the body than mounted on a plinth. MISHO’s jewellery is sculpted as modern architecture for the body. The pieces are characterised by clean lines, architectural forms and simplified geometric shapes with a strong emphasis on material and form. MISHO’s jewellery is available on shelves of hallowed retailers like LuisaViaRoma, Matches Fashion, Farfetch and Selfridges.
Suhani earned Forbes 30 Under 30 tag in the fashion category in 2018 and has won Vogue Paris Design Award for the best earrings, Grazia Young Fashion Award, Harper’s Bazaar Jewellery Designer of the Year and Elle Style Award. We were lucky enough to take a moment of Suhani’s time to get behind-the-scenes look into the rise and rise of MISHO.
Can you tell us a little about your journey as a jewellery designer and what led you to launch your own label Misho?
I went to an Art School in London where I studied sculpture and I was working with metal and stuff. When I moved back, I was still making sculpture. Infact even when I was in Art School, I made a couple of pieces to be worn on the body. And sometimes when I would just go out and wear one of those things, people would say great things about it. Gradually I started making those pieces a little more wearable and then wear them out for fun. I took up silversmithing and realized this is something I would experiment with. I made the size of the sculpture smaller and that was the first collection which organically turned into Misho.
What in Misho’s work are you most proud of and what is your vision for Misho?
I feel that we’ve come a long way in terms of way design is perceived. Misho was one of the most amazing moments for me because as you know, contemporary design is now well received but this was not the case a few years ago. Even now, the fashion community appreciates it but the general aesthetic is not necessarily as common in India.
I remember I had done a super experimental earring with one of the craftsmen I worked with. We made it and I wore it to the studio one day, and he told me that when we were making it, it was completely crazy but it looks amazing now that I see it on you. That was an amazing moment because design is evolving in India. It’s a great space to be in and be part of this generation of designers who are starting to make a difference.
Anne Hathaway in MISHO’s Chunky Chain hoops on Buzzfeed
"Design is evolving in India. It’s a great space to be in and be part of this generation of designers who are starting to make a difference."
Your pieces are the exact opposite of what most people think about “Indian Jewellery”. Tell us where this aesthetic stems from?
I don’t think of the pieces as jewellery, I think of them as sculpture. The whole idea is that it’s wearable sculpture. I design the pieces like I would design my sculptures and slowly we strip it down to make it a little more comfortable and wearable. So the process is never let me design an earring, the process is let me design an object and from that object I think about how does it translate and what can we do with it.
How was the collaboration with Rihanna born?
That was basically you know we were approached to send pieces for a cover story shoot for Vogue Arabia. We were very fortunate because the piece got selected.
"I don’t think of the pieces as jewellery, I think of them as sculpture. The whole idea is that it’s wearable sculpture."
What is your design process and how do you strike a balance between creativity and commercial viability?
I really feel like when we design, we don’t think of commercials. Like I said, we prototype, we think of sculpture where making objects would slowly get strip down into pieces of jewellery. I don’t think in terms of commercial viability but more in terms of wearability. I feel like because it’s beautiful as an object, I still want people to wear it. If it’s a super statement piece, you should be able to wear it for 6-7 hours without feeling uncomfortable. For example, if it’s a piece for everyday, you should be able to wear it through the day and not feel like I want to take these hoops off. We get amazing feedback on how the pieces look so bold, look so sculptural but when they lift it up - it’s so light. So I feel like it’s more comfort that something we make sure to design.
Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer wearing MISHO’s Textured Hoops
How do you think fashion and jewellery is perceived in our country?
I think it’s perceived very well. A lot of people are interested in it and a lot of people are happy to invest in it. A few years ago, people would only invest in designer pieces, wedding or bridal but in the last 2-3 years, we’ve seen a major shift and people are very happy to invest in Indian design for everyday wear as well. I don’t think we are quite there yet but this is really the beginning of the movement and I am very happy to be a part of it.
"A few years ago, people would only invest in designer pieces but in the last 2-3 years, we’ve seen a major shift and people are very happy to invest in Indian design for everyday wear as well. This is really the beginning of the movement and I am very happy to be a part of it."
Kareena Kapoor Khan in MISHO’s Mini Interrupted hoops
Is there any particular style, technique, ideology or design principle that influences and inspires your creations?
A lot of different things, like I am really inspired by travel. I like the collections to constantly evolve. While there should be a common language, I really don’t like when one thing looks exactly like the other. I love the collections to evolve and the inspiration for each of the collection is quite distinct and different. So that definitely is a principle for me like evolution in terms of how we design. And there are other influences like art movements like Bauhaus ideology where you work with geometric forms and Japanese minimalism that I think are deeply ingrained in our practice.
MISHO’s 22-ct gold plated sterling silver Epta Ear Cuff from its Alchemy collection
Katana Cut Through earrings, handcrafted in sterling silver
With phenomenal success now achieved at the international level, what are your goals for the future? Do you have dreams you haven’t realized yet?
I feel like that always, where you constantly want to push and strive for something better. We definitely want to be part of the movement where you see great contemporary Indian design on an International forefront. For me it’s about design where I want to put more into every collection and do as much as we can and push the limits of what we can do with the materials we work with.
What are you working on next for Misho?
We are working on a new collection of jewellery which will be out in October and yeah that’s what we’re doing right now.
Where can we find about what you’re upto with MISHO?
We are on Instagram @misho_designs