Keum Jin was born and raised in South Korea. Since the age of seven she has been drawing intensely. She has studied at London College of Fashion. Nolja is a playful jewellery brand she created, where all her experiences and influences come together to form something unique. The Korean term Nolja (놀자) means “come play”. Her goal is that the joy of the process is reflected in the finished pieces. All products are handmade using 925 sterling silver and a collection of different gems.
How did you start your accessory brand? What are your sources of inspiration?
I lived in London for nine years and later moved to Zürich to settle with my family. I started struggling with not enough variety of colours being used in Switzerland. I realized I needed more colours and inspiring shapes in my life, so I started to lift myself up by creating colorful and playful jewellery designs for me and my surroundings, to brighten up people’s lives and to create positive energy. I am very passionate about the art of designing and making jewellery. Nolja is a creative that is inspired by Korean culture, all the way from kimchi to k-pop.
We would love to hear about your studio/making time and how you connect with your clients.
My studio is in the old town of Zürich, where I’m surrounded by boutiques, art galleries, design- and jewellery shops. I like the creative atmosphere of the old town. Whenever I’m in my studio however I am fully focused on whatever piece I’m currently doing. As each piece I create is unique, I look at them as my babies. Each piece has a story behind it and it is kind of hard for me to let the jewellery go. That is why I like to connect with my clients, so I know who will be wearing the design in the world out there.
What's your proudest moment in your accessory designer career? What makes you a happy artist?
My happiest moments are whenever I see somebody wear my jewellery and I can see the joy in their eyes. Once I see that sparkle, I know why I chose this profession.
What is your dream project? If there are no limitations, what would you like to create?
I would love to make a charity project, where my jewellery can be used without borders. So people who can’t usually afford to buy jewellery can wear them and feel great about it. Any woman deserves to be beautiful and feel alive by decorating herself with nice jewellery.
What's your accessory styling advice for your clients?
Life is colourful. Don’t stick to what you like or what you usually wear. Be open to new colours and new thoughts to be playful in your life. It gives you new energy.
What skills are necessary to be a successful designer? Do you have any tips for the aspiring artists who want to start their own accessory brand?
It sounds very simple and corny, but always do what you love to do. Don’t do it for the money. Once you put all your love and passion into your designs and be consistent the success will follow eventually.
Which of your designs is your favourite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
One of my favorite designs is my “99 Luftballons” Bangle, made of lots of small silver balloons. I really like circular shapes as they are more harmonious for me than squares and triangles. The energy of being round I like. The shape has been in my mind for a few years. It’s something that reflects a unity and something, which is ongoing and furthermore creates a warmth without tension.
Tell us one secret that not many designers or customers know about accessory making.
Some people might wear jewelleries as a means simply to decorate themselves. To me wearing jewellery is also healing, it has a therapeutic side. I use gems, which each have different meanings and are said to have a therapeutic character. Most of the gems have their own colours, I try to add playful designs to make people special on that day that they are wearing my jewellery.
Do you have anything else you would like to let The Accessory Circle readers and customers know about you and your brand?
I would like to let you know that my designs are influenced by different cultures. Depending on the day that I make it, it might be inspired by a good Soho London vibe, the wild Swiss mountains or a busy street of Gangnam in Seoul. These are all different sides of me, which are reflected in my art.
London Accessory Week Team