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Meet ASMI - Living Jewelry

ASMI is a contemporary jewelry brand based in St. Petersburg, Russia and beloved by fashion influencers for its unexpected use of textiles, chains, beads, resin, and tassels. The resulting pieces are iconic, sometimes ironic, and always irresistible.

What's your name?

Alyona Smirnova.

 

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg!

 

Describe your signature design style in five words.

Concise, graphic, ironic, imaginative, tactile.

  

What's your biggest source of inspiration?

When you are immersed in the process of creation, inspiration comes from everywhere. My imagination awakens even when I'm at a fabrics store. Paintings, graphics, modern sculptural forms, and the urban environment are also my muses. 

 

Do you think true innovation in fashion is still possible?

If we are talking about technology, then yes, of course. Recently, there have been so many innovations in materials and production technologies. It is all very exciting. That being said, I want materials like wool and silk to stick around. I think these traditional fabrics have unique and indispensable personalities.

 

What role does the commercial aspect play for you? Does it limit your creativity?

Of course the commercial aspect is important because we need to make sales at the end of the day. However, I do not feel that this limits me. On the contrary, it encourages me to continue to invent something new. For example, I'm now preparing a series of jewelry for the exhibition in the Ethnographic Museum, an opportunity to realize something that existed only on paper so far. 

 

What other art forms inspire your collections?

I adore modern ballet. It can be a real miracle. Your breathing pauses as you feel an inseparable connection to the dancers. You are transfixed, afraid to move. One of my latest favorites was the Maribor (Slovenia) troupe who danced to the music of Philip Glass. Modern ballet has it all - design, world-class artistry, motion graphics, and of course, intellect.

 

 

Do you thrive off of spontaneity or careful planning?

I only manage to follow plans when there is a strict project deadline.

 

How do you deal with creative blocks?

When I'm not in the mood or if I haven't had enough sleep, I feel that it's better not to do anything. That being said, my appetite for creativity often comes once I've started to work. I am occasionally paralyzed by the fear that I'll run out of ideas, but this fear always passes. 

 

Do you prioritize aesthetics or functionality?

For me this isn't a choice. Aesthetics and functionality need to go hand in hand. In terms of jewelry, comfort is of course very important. I wear ASMI jewelry daily and I want others to be able to do so as well. The aesthetics of our pieces is what makes them unique, but this is definitely a constantly evolving concept, and it has to be tailored personally to each wearer.

 

Are your designs connected with or inspired by your heritage?

For me, there is no strong tie. However, I like it when people see something and relate our pieces to their own background.

  

Did you undergo a formal design education?

Yes, I studied graphic design as well as the theory of fashion. Now I combine those two fields in my work!

 

Do you gravitate more toward designing for men or women?

ASMI is not like other jewelry brands - we don't unequivocally emphasize femininity. Rather, we emphasize one's unique mind and fantasies. I have made bracelets and necklaces that embellish a man's primitive masculinity and strength, but this hasn't been emphasized per se - it exists only in my working processes.

 

 

What first made you passionate about fashion?

My mother is an excellent seamstress, which triggered my early interest. I've always adored wandering around shopping for textiles and flipping through magazines. I remember the very first issue of Harper's Bazaar in Russia in '96 with Sharon Stone on the cover. Eventually I went to an art school because I wanted to become a fashion designer. 

 

Once you’ve mastered a certain style, is it difficult to continue evolving it?

There is a fine line here. I do think it's important to preserve one's identity, but it's also essential to surprise customers by inventing fresh things. Striking this balance can be quite difficult. Unfortunately, not all ideas can be implemented in a single collection or project.

  

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?

Tomorrow I'd go to Singapore because just this morning a friend sent me an exciting video about their new airport terminal, complete with a strange forest and waterfall under the main dome.

 

 

What is your favorite film?

It's impossible for me to pick one favorite, but the first that comes to my mind is the French film "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Julian Schnabel (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon).

 

What's your favorite month or season?

Spring, but honestly, there is a charm in every season. Surprisingly, in the summer, I always feel a little sad. In St. Petersburg summer is very short, which reminds me of the transience of life. Melancholy rises. Because of this, many people like to make extensive summer plans so as not to miss anything.

  

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I think about what to cook for breakfast.

  

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I'd like to connect a 3D printer to my imagination.

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Check out ASMI's new collections here.

Test

  • Mixed Media Pendant - Orange
    Mixed Media Pendant - Orange
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $110
    Sale price
    $110
  • Rubber Drop Earrings
    Rubber Drop Earrings
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $110
    Sale price
    $110
  • Mixed Media Pendant - Jade
    Mixed Media Pendant - Jade
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $110
    Sale price
    $110
  • Resin Circle Bracelet
    Resin Circle Bracelet
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $125
    Sale price
    $125
  • Pearl Comet Necklace
    Pearl Comet Necklace
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $160
    Sale price
    $160
  • Resin Circle Necklace
    Resin Circle Necklace
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $195
    Sale price
    $195
  • Sculpted Tube Necklace
    Sculpted Tube Necklace
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $145
    Sale price
    $145
  • Resin Flower Brooch
    Resin Flower Brooch
    Vendor
    Asmi
    Regular price
    $115
    Sale price
    $115

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