The next in my 'Designer Spotlight' series sees me talking to the incredible Alice Menter, queen of up-cycling. With her unique eye for design and signature style, Alice crafts beautiful statement jewellery out of every day nuts, bolts and washers and dips them into luxurious golds and silvers to create truly striking, stand-out pieces. Alice Menter's designs have always been a firm favourite amongst the Apache Rose customers since we launched 2.5 years ago. Here we delve a little deeper into her story and find out what inspires her work.
Where do you draw inspiration for your designs from?
I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned glamour and am fascinated by tribal body decoration and adornment. I’m particularly drawn to surface pattern so my eyes will linger on intricate textures and geometric designs such as vintage beadwork and chainmail. Fashion designers such as Jonathan Saunders and Paco Rabanne - who use pattern in their fabric and cut - get my heart racing too.
How important is it to be ethically minded in today's fashion world?
I think it’s essential. Upcycling has been at the core of my design process for some time now and I’m glad to see that’s a growing trend. I believe sourcing materials and labour responsibly is especially important and, as such, each piece of Alice Menter jewellery is handmade in Bristol using materials sourced in the UK. I’m very keen to support the UK jewellery industry!
How did you get in to jewellery design?
I dabbled in jewellery making in my late teens, but my heart was always set on working in interior or fashion design. I went to check out a fashion degree course at Middlesex University but chanced upon the Contemporary Jewellery Design course, got very excited by what people were doing there and enrolled on that instead. I absolutely loved it and graduated with First Class honours. Whilst I was there I enjoyed an inspiring research trip to Thailand and work experience doing large-scale metalwork (forging and welding) and working with incredible, contemporary jeweller, Diana Porter – all things that made a real impression on me and my design process. After leaving university, I worked on my jewellery as a sideline to my day job, but took the plunge to make it my career and launched my label in 2011.
What does the future hold for Alice Menter?
In the past I’ve made some bespoke pieces using nuts, washers, suede and lycra that explore the boundary between jewellery and clothing. I really enjoyed the process and so I’d love to collaborate with a fashion designer some day to create some larger, more structured pieces for the catwalk.