Alexandra Mor: How to Build a Conscious Brand

In Israel she admired “hand-made”, in New York the goldsmith art, in Bali sustainable life and design. This is Alexandra Mor's journey

What does exactly mean a “conscious & meaningful luxury brand”? 
The Alexandra Mor brand is a reflection of my own personal journey, not only of my design development but also, and maybe more so, of my consciousness. I always say that “I happen to be a jewelry designer.” Now more than ever, this saying feels true to me. Running a sustainable brand is not exclusive to the materials. In order for the Alexandra Mor brand to stay relevant, I personally need to evolve. That required much personal work and the development of awareness and patience. My brand became a platform for sharing heart-centered and meaningful experiences. This was not aimed to be a marketing campaign, and was done with genuine relationships, and by seeing people for who they are and not relating to them as means to an end. This level of consciousness brings real transparency and was right for me. With these values I aim to sup- port the environment and connect to and preserve indigenous craftsmanship.

A memory about your childhood in Israel...
My childhood in Israel was one of simplicity and freedom. My mom worked out of a small atelier in our home, and she made all my clothing until I was a teenager. Each piece she would make for me became an unforgettable experience. We would look through Burda and other fashion magazines for inspiration, and then walk to the store for fabric and other necessary parts. I would wake in the early morning to the smell of the ironing pad and know that my mother was up all night, creating a special piece for me for an event. The smell of raw fabric, vapor and steam coming from the ironing board touched all my senses and tapped into an endless world of creativity. Growing up in this environment greatly enhanced my appreciation and passion for bespoke. My later experience in the film industry taught me about the aesthetics and flow of visual storytelling, creative teamwork and the ability to manifest and create something out of an idea.

It was in 2004 that you found your passion for jewelry. How did it happen?
In the beginning of 2004, during my first pregnancy, my husband, Alon and I decided to take a jewelry bench class together. The moment I sat on the bench—and it was all hands on, soldering, filing the metal—I felt completely at home. It brought back memories of my mother’s atelier, and it felt like a spiritual birth. I very slowly and deliberately built my collection from that point.

Would you share with us a memory about the launch of your first collection at Phillips de Pury in New York in 2010?
In the Spring of 2010, I went to visit a pre-auction presentation at Phillips. One of the salespeople, Carmela Manoli, a dear friend of the brand and a savvy sales woman, approached me and asked me whose pieces I was wearing. This is how it all started. Carmela introduced me to Nazgol Jahan, the jewelry buyer, who gave me my first and most generous opportunity. Nazgol selected 5 pieces from my collection, which at the time only included 12 pieces.

What did you learn while working a decade in NYC?
One of the biggest influences on my work has been living and working in New York City. A city with harmonious juxtapositions, raw simplicity and the impermanence of random ripped-out posters and graffiti. To me, New York City serves as a daily reminder for one's personal liberation from dogmas and doubts. It celebrates freedom of the mind and of the authentic soul. New York’s inhabitants represent its unyielding heart, imperfections and humanity. The NYC street that played a big role in the development of my brand is on West 47th Street in the Diamond District. Similar to all people who leave their signatures and tags on the NYC walls and streets, 47th Street is too made of many different layers. It is made of a community of craftsmen, polishers, setters, gem dealers, finding shops, cutters, and diamond dealers. These are the people that gave me the opportunity to realize my creative vision and share it with collectors who enjoy wearing my art.

Why did you decide to move to the island of Bali, in 2016?
I was hungry from a change from the frenetic pace of New York. I gave my children the opportunity to go to the Green School, an amazing school focused on creating the world's sustainable leaders of tomorrow. It was in Bali that I found the space to focus on new ideas centered around the preservation and celebration of the natural world and its rich cultures of people. One of the most profound moments that transformed me both personally and professionally was the discovery of Tagua seed, the botanical alternative to elephant ivory. I set out to create a capsule collection, incorporating traditional and handcrafted Balinese workmanship and heritage with wild-harvested Tagua seeds. Each piece in the collection is carved by a master Balinese carver and was influenced by Balinese art and culture. The Padmasana, or Lotus flower, is the representation of the cosmos. In Buddhism, the lotus symbolizes purity of AM the body, speech, and mind. The Mala necklace was inspired by my passion and personal journey into Buddhist studies and practices. The teachings of Balinese life philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, a concept where reaching spiritual and physical well-being is realized through harmonious relationships, have become an important underlying factor for this collection and for my approach to design.

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