Chronicle of a Collab

Photo: Liam Rhys Jones

So a little while ago now, I did a collaboration with Sarah from Monster Alphabets (amazing Perth fashion label, you must check it out if you haven’t heard of it) to create a pair of earrings to complement her Fourth Wall collection that was being released. This is a little story of how it all came about. 🙂

I’ve known Sarah for many years and we even worked in the same office for a time, when she was just starting out with Monster Alphabets and I was living my previous life as a full-time Commercial Interior Designer.  Sarah was renting one of the rooms in our studio, it was always so great to sticky beak into her room and see what she was working on.

I’ve always admired Sarah and her passion for design and her beautiful architectural design. Having graduated in Architecture before moving to study and graduate fashion in Tokyo, her love of architecture and detail for construction is always evident in her pieces and I think because of our backgrounds, we have a lot in common in regard to strong designs and accentuated lines and shapes.

We caught up for a coffee one day, as we do on occasion, and started talking about doing some kind of collaboration together in the near future. A little while later, when Sarah was putting together her new Collection called ‘Fourth Wall’, she got in touch about collaborating on a pair of earrings for the collection, which of course I jumped at the chance. We organised a design session catch up in a Café over coffee … keeping it casual and relaxed as we do. :p

The process was so much fun. Sarah already had some ideas in mind so we started talking about them and extrapolated the concepts through sketching and even some inspo googling. We landed on the idea of an abstracted, exploded view of a shipping knot (don’t ask me what led up to us arriving at that point, but we both loved the idea). We looked at many different types of shipping knots and found the slip knot, which we thought was perfect to play around with. Expanding the structure of the slip knot and sharpening the ‘loops’, resulted in an abstract star shape which worked so well with the concept of Fourth Wall. Sarah came up with the name ‘Corroded Knot for the design.

As the collection was about “breaking beyond the constructed reality”, this whimsical take on an expanded slip knot seemed so fitting as it looked at the construction of an item and pulled it apart to create something new and unexpected.

After I got home to my studio, I was so excited to start playing around with prototypes for the design.  I made a few different designs with varying proportions to find the final design I felt was perfect. I made up a mock-up and sent photos through on Messenger to Sarah for her comments.. luckily, she loved it. After making the design in silver, we both agreed that the knot needed to have an oxidised (blackened) finish. The beautiful dark grey finish, accentuates and plays with shape and shadow and as most of Sarah’s items are black, or at least dark fabric, it fitted perfectly.

I then ended up making a smaller brass version with a hammered texture finish, as I thought the shape sat beautifully as a smaller piece and the brass would make it a little softer in overall effect. The smaller size really changes the feel of the piece and the hammered texture gives an extra detail to the already interesting shapes and angles.

I really enjoy wearing both the brass and oxidised earrings .. I save the larger oxidised corroded knots for when I want to make more of a statement (day or night) and wear the smaller brass knots during the day with a simple, minimalist style outfit.

One of the most fun parts of the collaboration with Sarah was when she invited me to the photo shoot for the new collection as a helper (oh yes! I love doing that stuff!). This was also my first time at a proper professional photo shoot… She had amazing people involved and it was such a fun and inspiring day.

I love that the corroded knots are a little outside the box for you me berlin. They’ve received a lot of love and I’m so glad I have this design to share with such a good friend.

Oh, and I’m sure this won’t be the last collab we’ll do together, so keep your eyes peeled for more in the future.

You can find both the large oxidised version and smaller brass version in our online shop and also at Varga Girl in Leederville and selected stockists.

Thanks for reading my little story, I hope you enjoyed it and I also hope you love the earrings as much as Sarah and I do. 🙂

ilka x