Interview with Olga Kosica, the Creator of OfR Jewelry
When my friend first told me about OfR Jewelry, I immediately got curious. A brand that uses 3D printing to create jewels, draws inspiration from supernatural worlds, and plays with mysticism in its designs is sure an exciting find for any jewelry lover, and it certainly was for me. I wanted to know more. And that is when I reached out to Olga Kosica, the creator of the brand along with Rok Mar.
Despite coming from different backgrounds, Olga and Rok joined forces to establish their own jewelry line. Olga has a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London, while Rok completed Visual Communication studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. Together they founded a brand that gained international success. OfR Jewelry was shown at the Paris Fashion Week and received the Elle Style Award for the best accessory designer in 2014.
What particularly stands out with OfR is that despite being an ultra fashion-forward and high-tech brand, it somehow still manages to explore concepts relating to fantasy, dreams, and the occult worlds. To understand how do they do this and where the inspiration comes from, Olga lets us in and shares her creative journey.
Ileana: Could you tell us a bit about your beginnings…how did the idea of starting your own jewelry brand arise?
Olga: We were both living in Ljubljana but the idea of our collaboration was born in Barcelona, where we spent a few days together during our traveling. Exploring the city and its galleries and shops has led to the idea of collaboration.
Ileana: And speaking of collaboration, how does that work between you and Rok? Walk us through the process.
Olga: Our design process is quite similar to any other; the idea, research, sketches, choosing the best designs, and making them into 3D files. Complementing each other as two strong individuals while coming from completely different backgrounds; trying to bring new experience and passion in our daily design practice. Usually, we start with the same vision, and only in the process of designing and creating we learn about each other’s strengths and ideas and we try to explore this further.
Ileana: You mentioned 3D files. How do you work with 3D printing to create jewelry and which are the benefits of taking this approach?
Olga: Our first 3D print experience was a prototype we did for our “Inside Out” collection. The outcome was quite interesting. That is why we decided to get involved in technology more seriously. The benefits are many: changing size shapes on a click of the button, receiving finished product directly from the machine and no extra finishing needed, light flexible material, when you have 3D design drawn you can also decide in which material you want it to be printed, and a lot more.
Ileana: Despite the latest technologies used in your designs you are still able to include mysticism by making them vague and dreamy. In fact, one of your collections is called “Lucid Dream”. Where does your inspiration come from?
Olga: We like finding inspiration in things that are far from fashion. Each collection has its own story. “Lucid Dream” was inspired by Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and his statement “We are asleep. Our life is a dream. But we wake up, sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.”.
A big inspiration for our “Winter Garden” collection was the poetry of Pablo Neruda (Winter Garden) and nature itself. The collection was made in collaboration with China-based designer Masha Ma taking part in the official Paris Fashion Week schedule. We restricted our romanticist’s imagination to a few elements: icy roses, show drops, twigs, and leaves. The designs were interlacing complexity firmness, high-quality chords with myriad surface structures, employing a lightweight material (polyamide) by 3D printing technology on a Pro60 machine, with the technique of selective laser sintering, which means that earrings hand effortlessly, mapping natural shadows across the face. Rather than pieces of jewelry, the collection contains individual works of art; it evokes deep symbolism and psychological associations.
Ileana: Which phase do you value more, the thought process or the actual creation?
Olga: The process is divided between ideas, research, and drawing design on the computer. In this process you have to have a clear vision and insight into how the end product will look like. The spatial perspective is essential. When the 3D model is finally made and you can physically touch it, the outcome is always a bit of a surprise, in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way. For the concept or quality of craftsmanship, it is all about the concept. In this 3D technology, the rest is done by the machine. The trick is to use the technology and the machine that suit the design, the rest is easy and the outcome is perfection. With the constant development of this technology and newer and newer materials that can be used, it is on us to come up with better and better concepts.
Ileana: Do you believe in sustainable luxury?
Olga: The days of disposable luxury are over. In addition, those who are still spending will want to make sure their purchases contribute somehow towards greater environmental, economic, and social sustainability. While we firmly believe that a pair of earrings can really brighten someone’s day, we cannot argue against the production of jewelry as a somewhat frivolous expansion of energy. We do, however, take seriously reducing the impact of this frivolous business on the environment. We use the technology (3D printing) that lowers the energy costs of manufacturing and produces no leftovers. The entire unbind (corn starch-based) PLA filament is collected and re-used. Within this technology new things are developed every day. In the near future we will have sustainable plastic that could be recycled or biodegradable. Every part of the collection (jewelry, boxes, promo material, etc.) is manufactured in Slovenia, so there is very little carbon footprint.
Ileana: What is jewelry to you?
Olga: Jewelry is a result of quality, innovation, and construction.