Protagonist, Sustainability, and the Future of Fashion, with Alexandra Mor
From December 10-13, 2018, Alexandra Mor is the Creative Director for Protagonist, a Vogue and Christie’s event. We sat down with her to learn more about the project, as well as discuss her beautiful, sustainable jewelry collection.
As Creative Director of the Protagonist, the Vogue + Christie’s event, can you tell us about the vision for this event? What other artists will be exhibiting in the Protagonist this December?
AM: I am honored to be leading this years’ Protagonists as Creative Director and am so thrilled Christie’s has joined us on our mission to make a difference and inspire others to do the same, within the world of collecting and fine jewelry. For the 2018 edition, a select group of fourteen international fine jewelry designers will take last year’s theme – sustainability – one step further. In the 2017 edition, the designers were asked to create pieces of fine jewelry using the tagua seed, the botanical alternative to elephant ivory. For the current edition, the designers will tackle the wider issue of responsible sourcing, which entails using natural (non-synthetic) materials like sustainable woods, ethically mined gemstones, eco-farmed pearls, leather alternatives, and recycled precious metals.
After the event, the collection will be available for purchase on the sustainable luxury e-commerce site, Fashionkind.com.
Tell us about Space for Giants. Why have you chosen this charity to donate 10% of Protagonist sales to?
AM: Every year we choose a non-for-profit organization to help support. We have been following Space For Giants’ dedication and hard work. As an international conservation organization their work helps protect the great landscapes that Africa’s wildlife – specifically the elephants’ needs to thrive. Accountability for the environment, the living species, and for indigenous peoples, is the way forward to ensure the future of our planet and of generations to come. Jewelry is created to be both beautiful both in appearance and in purpose, and is a brilliant reminder of what we hold most precious. We were inspired to help support SFG’s cause, which is very much in line with the protagonist cause. Each designer is committed to donating 10% of the sales of the piece of jewelry presented at the event to Space For Giants.
To you personally, what is sustainability, and broadly what do think are the jewelry designer and consumer roles in participating in sustainable action and discussion?
AM: To me, sustainability is preservation of our environment, indigenous cultures, and craftsmanship. Sustainability is not a trend, it is a way of life, a way of being and is deeply crucial to the future of our planet. As a designer, collaborating with like-minded entrepreneurs and creatives, who care about the world around them and are committed to making a change in this world, is critical. Designers are more than just creative people. We are the new activists.
Last year I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at two conferences (with ASJRA and IAC) regarding your Tagua Nut jewelry collection. Now you are revolutionizing by creating 3D printed material! Since these fine jewelry pieces are no longer limited by the size of the Tagua nut, are there any ambitious projects (dimension-wise) that you will be creating in 3D?
AM: We are still working on refining the combination and perfecting the balance between the tagua and the mixed bonding materials to make it look perfect and be the correct composition to print and carve. I am hoping that by the end of 2019 we will have the right composition.
Tell me about the Muzo Emerald Mine and why you chose to collaborate with them on a new capsule collection in your line.
AM: Muzo is a Columbian mine at the forefront of social and environmental commitment. They are committed day after day to improving the living conditions of the miners, their family and the local community. When they approached me about collaborating, I was thrilled to support an organization that shares my same beliefs.
If you could style anyone in Alexandra Mor jewelry, who would it be and what would you put on her or him?
AM: I am inspired by people who have devoted their life to change and are pioneers in their commitment. Jane Goodall and Michelle Obama have inspired me with the way they have dedicated their life’s work to people and to the environment and animals. Each of them is unwavering in her beliefs and dedication. Nothing would honor me more than to see Jane and Michelle in Alexandra Mor jewelry.
Is there a jewelry exhibition you enjoyed recently or are looking forward to in the near future? What about it has caught your interest?
AM: The current ‘Jewelry The Body Transformed’ exhibit at the Met Museum explores the understanding that jewelry is attached to a personal narrative and has a historical context. It questions the place of jewelry in our world and its influence on the individual. I love the exploration of The Transcendent Body that focuses on how jewelry is used to traverse the temporal and spiritual realms and jewelry’s capacity to channel the spiritual well-being of the wearer. I relate to it in my bespoke work process where my collector joins me in the vision to create memorable and customized pieces. The key to high jewelry and the bespoke process is creating a piece that embodies the individuality of the collector. It is exciting to see that the Met is exhibiting a more personal aspect of jewelry, showcasing pieces from ancient times through today and sharing the practice of creating and wearing jewelry.
You have been honored with a number of awards, including Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award 2013, and Town & Country’s Innovator of the Year 2018…as an industry leader in innovation and design, what do you think will be a challenge to fashion in 2019, and how do you think it should be handled by media, creators, and influencers/leaders going into the new year?
AM: Being an influencer in fashion, in my case a jewelry designer, is more than an aesthetic expression. It is about the potential of changing how people relate to themselves and the world around them. Today more than any other time I feel people are looking for a change, people want authenticity and a genuine voice that cares and sees them for who they are. With all the turmoil and hardship we are experiencing in the world today, I am still optimistic. Perhaps it is these events that makes us realize that change is a necessity. They say we grow stronger and clearer through our pain, and so whether it is an individual or a nation, the waking up is the same. In my case, I have decided to use my voice to lead and inspire the fine jewelry industry to take the necessary steps to care for our planet and its people through grace and education. It doesn’t matter what we choose to do, what matters is that what we choose will make a difference.
An inspiration that “walks the walk” in the industry, with sustainability at the forefront, don’t miss stopping by the Christie’s New York event. To learn more about Alexandra and her work, visit her online here.