INTERVIEW: ERIN WAHED OF BANDE DES QUATRES

Erin Wahed is the owner and designer of our newest favorite jewelry line Bande Des Quatres. Get to know her a little bit better, and check out her amazing pieces here. Everything is made to order, 4-6 weeks.

Erin Wahed for a Style by the Smile feature taken by Sunny Facer

Where are you from? What is your relationship with New York like? I was born in Montreal.  I have been in New York for the past 6 years and I love it.  I left Montreal when I was 18 to come here to go to NYU and it has truly become my home.

 

You work in creative direction right? (correct me) How did you get your start with jewelry and what relations do you find between your work and your creations? With my mother being a jeweler, I have been around it my entire life, but never thought that I would find myself being apart of the jewelry world.  I tried to make pieces in her studio when I was little and never managed to have the right level of patience to complete the actual construction.  Little did I know that one-day we would design a piece together that would ultimately lead to the jumping off point for Bande des Quatres.

Bande des Quatres is my second full time job.  My first full time job is working as a Project Manager at a design firm for two partners and their respective creative teams.  I love it there.  The ability to be surrounded by such creative people on a daily basis only inspires me more.

I would say that the relationship between my studies and my creations are definitely more closely linked.  I studied photography at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and became heavily influenced by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s theory of experimentation.  He pushed the boundaries of photography within the Bauhaus movement.  We try to do the same with Bande des Quatres.  For us, it is all about the illusion, making people question and think about how these pieces of jewelry are made and how they are staying on the body.  It is about the relationship between the floating shapes, lines and the body.

 

I know your family is also in the jewelry business, how has that influenced or shaped you and your collection? My mother has been an active working jeweler since she was 15 years old.  I am heavily inspired by her pieces and the way in which she creates.  Her modern and minimal sensibility with her collection Janis Kerman Design definitely guides the Bande des Quatres aesthetic.

Most don’t know that my father’s family was also once in the jewelry business.  Their factory created mass produced gold jewelery, a very different approach than my mother’s one of a kind and limited series studio production.

Having both of their expertise, my mother with her the talented goldsmithing, and my father with his knowledge of production and business, has been essential to shaping the company that Bande des Quatres has become.

 

What have been the best and worst parts of being a small business owner? The best part of being a small business owner is turning nothing into something and watching hard work pay off and become recognized.  The worst part is deciding when it is time to relinquish full control and find help, because there are only so many hours in the day and only so much one person can do.

 

Where do you find inspiration everyday? And how are you sharing / making that accessible to others? Through social media? Which ones? I am inspired on a daily basis by the abundance of visuals I find on Tumblr and Pinterest, but they are not necessarily what I look to when designing my collections.

Every collection is based on a theme/movement.  The first, being the Bauhaus, the second, Architects and the third and new collection which will be released in January/February is Photographers.  The choice to base my first collection on the Bauhaus came directly from the work I was exploring in my last year at NYU.  The Architects collection spawn from the architectural element within the Bauhaus and my desire to explore 3-dimensional shapes and engineering within jewelry.  Our newest collection, is inspired by photographers who work in a very experimental 2-dimensional way.  This photography blog I Heart Photograph (http://iheartphotograph.blogspot.com/), has been a great source of inspiration for this new collection in terms of discovering new contemporary abstract photographers.

 

How do you feel OAK fits your design aesthetic? Is it a New York thing…fashion…etc? My first time walking into OAK, I was immediately drawn to the store’s aesthetic.  The minimal essence of the clothes and design of the store matches my design sensibility perfectly.  Bande des Quatres is all about illusion and positive negative space like many of the asymmetric designs at OAK.

My personal style was definitely born in New York and is as a result of being exposed to brands such as OAK, Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Maison Martin Magiela, Y-3.

 

What are some of your vices? Working out, bubble tea, shoes.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Pay close attention to detail, it pays off.  I recall my mother teaching me this when I used to make Bristol board presentations in grade school.  I was taught to never cut without drawing a straight line with a ruler before taking scissors to paper.  As menial and frustrating as it was, because of my lack of patience, it did look much better in the end.

With Bande des Quatres, we spend as much time finishing the pieces through, sandblasting, oxidizing, scratching, as physically making them.  This attention to detail is what makes Bande des Quatres so unique and special.

 

Interview by Mellany Sanchez.

Tags:

INTERVIEW: JEN STILWELL OF ALL HANDS

NEW THINGS: CINZIA ARAIA FOOTWEAR