Jewellery Designer Maria Khan on Being Inspired by World Cultures [Diva in Focus]


Jewellery Designer Maria Khan on Being Inspired by World Cultures [Diva in Focus]Jewellery Designer Maria Khan on Being Inspired by World Cultures [Diva in Focus]
The jewellery designer takes inspiration from her travels

Pakistan-born, Hong Kong-based jewellery designer Maria Khan has a global clientele for her eponymous line of jewellery.  Her designs have always been influenced by her personal life experiences, making them as unique and global as herself. Raised in Pakistan, studied in London, married an Indian and now living in Hong Kong exposed her to various cultures that she has imbibed in her designs. Maria talks to about her globetrotting experiences, her design sensibility and the jewellery trends this season.

How did you begin your journey as a jewellery designer?
As soon as I finished my studies, I was already expecting my first child. Being the wife of an investment banker, I made a choice to be a stay-at-home mom, as my husband worked long hours. We were clear that kids will not be raised in nurseries or with nannies and that one of us had to spend time with them. When we moved to Hong Kong, I soon realised that working was a possibility for me; I must say that Hong Kong is the world’s most efficient city, soon becoming the hub for jewellery. I was drawn towards jewellery immediately, and design especially, since I had studied the subject from one of the best colleges in London.

What is the best thing about designing and creating jewellery?
The process of mixing multiple shapes, colours and creating unique designs is the part of designing which I enjoy the most. Taking inspiration from not only my environment but also travels and culture brings innovation to the forefront in my designs.

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How has your design sensibility evolved over the years?
Over the years, I have seen the demands change in an extensive manner. Knowing and understanding the audience, without losing my design sensibilities is what I've done best. Being born and raised in Karachi to an Arab-Turkish mother and Pakistani dad, studying in London and settling down in Hong Kong and being married to an Indian has exposed to me multiple cultures, which play a role in my inspiration. Recently I went to Vietnam and even managed to do a short trip to Sapa. These places inspired not only the design but also the colours and kind of stones I used.

Tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection has a very raw, earthy, rooted yet elegant feeling to it. I like to call it the Tribal Collection. As someone who is very used to the urban lifestyle and concrete settings, meeting and seeing tribal people was refreshing; their approach to life, mannerisms, simplicity, warmth, love was all very insightful. These memories have stayed with me forever and I have tried to showcase them to the world through my tribal collection. My colours are always inspired by it though white is my signature colour.

How would you sum up your own style quotient?
I like to mix and match my outfits with old and new; I loathe being 'labelled' from top to toe. I love to buy what pleases my eye, whether it's from Armani, from some vintage store in London, or from local designers in craft bazaars. I can’t see myself in the wrong pair of shoes, I have an absolute passion for shoes.

What has been your greatest influence?
I have been fortunate to be born in a family with such mixed heritage. The cultures and people that surround me are always my greatest influence. My creativity brings me back to my roots.

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What is the most meaningful piece of jewellery you own?
I was given a very special pendant by my father on my 13th birthday. It’s very special as he had designed it himself. It’s priceless for me, as he is no more with us.

Can you tell us about the latest jewellery trends of this season?
The coming season we will see lots of chains, charms, black and gold.

What are the most important things a woman should keep in mind before going jewellery shopping?
My advice to women would be to find your own style and what suits your silhouette. Don’t be scared to try a new style and do not blindly copy what you see on others. A nice necklace can bring life to a dull outfit, but if your outfit is embroidered or printed, keep accessories to a minimum. A lot of the time women end up looking like Christmas trees. Keep things simple, and remember, less is more!

Do you have any message for aspiring jewellery designers?
Firstly, each one needs to identify their own sense of style. Once you are confident about what you like, you can take up designing as a career.

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