We recently sat down with jewelry designer Sumit Sawhney of Apala to talk about his newest collection, Heavenly Treasures! Founded by Sawhney in 2006, Apala, which means “most beautiful”, is a vision created to bring an exclusive line of specially handcrafted silver jewelry. We love the unique flavor he brings to his pieces! Check out what he had to say:
1. What inspired you to create this collection?
As my collection name suggests “Heavenly Treasures”, this collection gives you a feel of a treasure from heaven. This collection is an eclectic mix of Spiritual, Tribal and the Royal charm. There is a spiritual force that gently guides me to create extraordinary pieces of fine art. That again reinforces me to connect with the inner spiritual guide that resides in the recesses of my heart.
2. How did it feel to have your piece be featured in the Coldplay music video?
It always a delight to have Sonam wear my creations, but this was a cherry on the cake! Felt accomplished!
3. What made you want to become a jewelry designer?
I belong to a family of designers. I grew up seeing the craftsmen and my mother, “Arti Sawhney” a renowned Furniture designer. A creative soul since my childhood, I really admired her work. As a child I loved to paint, something that I still crave to do in my free time. In the 10th grade I did Fashion Design and Merchandising from NIFT, Delhi along with my schooling. After class XIIth, I gained my technical skills in designing, manufacturing and grading of precious stones from JDTI and Gemological Institute of America respectively.
After that worked with some prestigious design jewellery houses and also graded diamonds for certain institutes. Also did some celebrity jewellery.
I always admired my mother’s art. The whole atmosphere added to my love affair with fine art and designing. As a kid I used to make some very fine carvings on chalk and bead them into jewellery pieces. I would ask countless questions about precious stones and jewellery styles from my mother. Over the years I realized that Jewellery is more of a craft, detailed work. After my education and technical training in jewellery and work experience with some prestigious jewellery firms/exporters my passion for jewellery grew many folds. It was then I decided to use the expertise learned over the years to create a jewellery brand of excellence, Apala.
Today, Apala is a big name in the fashion scene and I love the adrenalin rush I get out of creating one of its kind jewellery pieces.
4. Each piece is so unique, what is your main inspiration behind it?
Art is something I was born with. I don’t push too hard either to create things. Inspiration just flows naturally. The passion for creating new things that drives me totally and helps me break my own barriers while designing jewellery. I am very well traveled, I enjoy looking at World Architecture detailing, reading about Mythologies and cultures. I follow only pure inspiration no jewellery ornament references. Spiritual inclination also reinforces my creative process.
5. Can you tell us anything about any upcoming collections?
It is definitely thematised, my collections always have a story to tell. That would be a surprise!
6 .What is the most challenging part of jewelry design for you?
To think constantly out of the box. It is the passion for creating new things that drives me totally crazy and helps me break my own barriers while designing.
7. Who is the ideal person you’d love to see your designs on?
God has been kind that my jewellery has been worn by who’s who. It’s Hollywood what I am looking at now.
8. What advice would you give anyone interested in getting into jewelry design?
Women today have their own unique and strong personalities. One should be able to understand and cater to their sensibilities. To stay a class apart you have to update with the latest trends and keep experimenting to give something new and exciting to the wearer without any compromise on the quality and the finishes. Every piece should be dynamic & versatile with its unique individual character in terms of form, finish, texture and appeal. One should careful with the merchandise and handling of jewellery. One should be systematic and agile in stocking and handling of the jewellery/gemstones as well. Since one has to work with skilled craftsmen, one should motivate them to get the most out of their potential and not push them too much, otherwise it would result in compromise of the finish.
There is lots of competition in the market. One has to be like an eagle keeping a close watch on your business.
9. If you were to pick one word that encompasses your style, what would it be and why?
Maverick! Being free spirited in my design style is my biggest asset! I do not follow any rule book, I believe in originality!
10. If there was something you can change about the jewelry industry currently, what would it be and why?
Design plagiarism, stealing someone’s handwork can give one temporary happiness, but not consistency!
It happens at all levels, it’s your inner conscience and your work ethics which I don’t know why people want to part with for a short term gain.
We had a blast getting to know Sumit, make sure to catch a glimpse of their pieces in the new Coldplay music video!