Hi, welcome to Wara Designs!” beams Caroline Daoulas as I hop out of the taxi and get into a studio set among greenery with subtle colors assuring a relaxing atmosphere, at 6 pm on a Monday afternoon. “I’ve been on the road since leaving earlier that day”. “You must be thirsty,” says Caroline, wearing a top coming from Libé, a pair of trousers made of bamboo fabric paired with black glitter Swedish Sandals bought in Paris. “Hell yes”! “Come in and have a glass of wine, some cheese, and crackers”. And just like that, I’m sold. Refresh, fashionable and gourmet. I think we’re going to be good friends Caroline!
Bliss Saigon: Caroline, What drew you to jewelry?
Caroline Daoulas: I have always loved the creative process of making, transforming and repurposing whether for my wardrobe or for my deco. Jewellery seemed to be the perfect medium as it involves artisanal skills as well as creativity. It is extremely satisfying to be able to make unique pieces that reflect some aspects of my skills, my personality, and my tastes. It is also truly exciting to know someone else will then wear it in their own way and express their own creativity.
BS: What’s your jewelry philosophy?
Caroline Daoulas: My values are to always be authentic whether in the designs or in the craftsmanship. I believe that creating products that are irreplaceable is the positive answer to a disposable world. It brings more satisfaction to own something truly unique, made with love and that helps keep the beautiful art of craftsmanship. Loved accessories last longer.
Left: The Wave Collection – Silver Set – Right: The Geometrics Collection – Brass
BS: As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Caroline Daoulas: Inspiration comes from all around nature, art, objects. I also love reinterpreting traditional craftsmanship from around the world. The world is rich with cultures that are an infinite source of inspiration. But in any case, geometry and clean lines are always a priority. The goal is to be original and simple at the same time. I want a piece that is going to make a statement keeping in mind that less is more.
BS: What type of woman did you have in mind when designing the line?
Caroline Daoulas: A woman who wants to express herself whether timidly or boldly. Women who buy WARA DESIGNS are really different in terms of age, origins, style, tastes, and personalities and I am really proud of this. My ambition is to offer unique pieces for unique women. There are trends in jewelry obviously but it does not seem to impose itself as strongly as in clothes for instance. So this is really the area where we can be ourselves, free and unique. Jewellery is wearable art. It reveals a little bit of oneself.
BS: When you get dressed in the morning, do you think of accessories first or last? Do you feel naked when you don’t have jewelry on?
Caroline Daoulas: There are exceptions but the choice of clothes usually comes first. And the accessories are the elements making me go from “it’s nice” to “Yes! This is what I meant!” It’s a little bit like seasoning a dish: all the best ingredients can be there but if the seasoning and the spices are not right, the result will not be satisfying. In that sense, I feel a little bit incomplete if I don’t wear jewelry. In any case, I have a couple of rings I never take off.
“Blue Reaction on copper”
Alchimie Analogue Collection: Bronze and Copper take on all shades of colours as a reaction to their environment. This collection is an attempt to capture and reproduce this alchemy to create unique patterns and colours.
“Reaction on copper – playing with fire”
Magia del Fuego Collection: This collection explores the influence of fire on copper and bronze. This unique process offers infinite possibilities of colours and patterns influenced by the preparation of the metal and the intensity and length of its exposure to the fire.
Bliss Saigon: How do you like to wear your favorite pieces?
Caroline Daoulas: On a super plain simple outfit so the piece really stands out. And never all at once.
BS: What’s it like to see someone on the street wearing one of your creations?
Caroline Daoulas: It’s awesome! and I love to see how that person incorporates the piece in her own style.
BS: Who are your favorite designers?
Caroline Daoulas: There are too many to name them all. Art Smith’s designs are timeless (he was a jeweler from the mid 20th century). Out of all the contemporary designers I admire, I can name Ute Decker, Emma Ware, John Moore, Emilie Bliguet. I really like Scandinavian jewelry designers in general.
BS: What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created and what made it so special?
Caroline Daoulas: A large silver necklace, quite sculptural, with volumes but not too imposing. It was particularly special because it required a lot of time and was very technically challenging. But what I loved the most was that it evolved a lot while making it. At one point, I saw a potential change in the design as it was starting to take shape. Then, I made a technical mistake that nearly made me cry but instead of starting again, I slightly adapted the design and it ended up enhancing the whole look of the piece. This is why making and designing go together for me, they are both parts of the creating process.
Right: Hammers. Every piece of WARA DESIGNS is handmade, one piece at a time. The metal is shaped, forged. Left: Melting silver
BS: What are your favorite materials to work with?
Caroline Daoulas: Silver. My first love.
BS: For a brand like yours that values design and craft, was it difficult to find the right partners to make it scalable whilst preserving quality?
Caroline Daoulas: It is challenging. I have met a lot of great designers who I collaborate with. They have very different products but a similar vision. And I choose to sell in shops that value craftsmanship and quality. It is really important to partner with people who share your values. And I am always open to new ideas, opportunities, and collaborations.
BS: How does Vietnam inspire you?
Caroline Daoulas: In so many ways! Its dynamism has brought me so much energy. The constant evolution and change are very inspiring. Everything is possible.
BS: What is your next challenge?
Caroline Daoulas: Time! At the moment I handle all sides of the business: production and everything else (sales, pictures, website, social media…). Going forward, I intend to keep the focus on the design and the quality of the production, so the challenge will be to decide on the best way to reduce the time I spend on other aspects of the business (recruit staff, outsource, partnership…).
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