An Ode to the Modern Woman

Showcasing her unique designs in Bahrain for the very first time, Egyptian jewellery designer Jude Benhalim’s architecture inspired pieces are a work of art in every form

July 23, 2017
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How did you dive into the world of designing? What was the high school project that inspired you to become a designer?

It was a school project that drew me into designing. As part of the IB program in High School, I had to complete a creative design project of my choice. Since jewellery was always a big interest of mine, I chose to make a debut collection of beaded jewellery and sold it at a bazar exhibition for charity. The event was a big success and everyone was very encouraging of my work, they were very impressed by the fact that I was only 17 at the time. I found myself really enjoying the design process, and seeing my sketches come to life was very rewarding. It was a big shift in my career plans, but that’s when I knew I should turn this project into a start up business.

Did you pursue you education in design while you were in university?

I studied filmmaking in the American University in Cairo. It was always my dream to become a Film Director, and until this day I am very passionate about it. Although the major was completely unrelated to jewellery design, it opened up my eyes to many gender-related ideologies that became a major conceptual force behind my brand; it led me to creating pieces that encourage women to powerfully embrace and express their individuality.

When did you finally launch your jewellery brand?

I founded my jewellery brand 6 years ago, at the age of 17, that’s when I established this business with my mother and partner, Rana Alazm. It was my mother’s constant support that led me to where I am now. Throughout my studies, my business remained a side hobby, and I thought I would pursue a film career when I graduate and maintain my jewellery business as a side job. When I graduated, I realized that this business had so much potential to grow and that I’ve taken so far already. I realized how much I enjoyed designing and how much I was willing to put into it. That’s when I knew I had to give this business my full attention.

How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand?

I feel it is combination of contemporary art and Oriental Arabic craft. It is a young and modern take on traditional Egyptian jewellery. My designs are inspired by modern art and architecture – sharp edges and abstract constructions. I find inspiration in almost everything around me. There is always a starting point, usually a space that inspires me. My designs end up being a very abstract interpretation of that space; how I visualize it. Conceptually, each collection builds on the one before it, creating a pattern; a journey towards ultimate individuality.

Tell us about the collections and what has inspired them?

I always make sure to create unique designs that mix traditional Arabic Art with modern-day trends, and that is what essentially gives my brand its uniqueness. The modernization of Arabic calligraphy in jewellery is what gave my work its boldness amongst other designers.

I design each piece of jewellery with a fearless female spirit in mind. Inspired by her journey, each design is an expression of this muse and each collection moves with her, reflecting a specific sequence from her ongoing story. Beginning with her curiosity, she starts to explore spaces outside of her comfort zone and through these experiences she grows; discovering new and exciting ways to feed her soul.

What different metals and stones do you use to create your pieces?

The materials used in my jewellery are a combination that also gives my work a high sense of uniqueness; mixing sterling silver & gold-plated brass with custom-made resin stones. The coloured stones are each custom-designed and handmade from a special resin material particularly for my jewellery. It is also the signature element that defines my designs and makes them instantly recognizable.

How long does it take to complete a collection?

It depends on the size of the collection. But usually it takes up to 4 months, from the design process to the production of 3-4 samples until we are satisfied with the piece. There is also a period of quality control, where we try out wearing the pieces, going out in them, to see the extent of their comfort and practicality.

As an up and coming designer what were some of the difficulties you faced and what are the most rewarding elements of being a designer?

I think that the brand name being my own name makes me set the bar so high. I expect too much of myself and I constantly tell myself “this isn’t enough, you can do better”. I think this is a constant stress that I have to live with, competing in the market and competing with myself.

The most rewarding element is realizing my potential every time something needs to be done and I have to push my limits and do what it takes. As a young entrepreneur, I had to teach myself everything to be able to maintain the level of success that my brand has reached. This has been the most rewarding part of my job. Seeing my designs go from sketch to product, literally coming to life is also one of my favorite parts of being a designer.

Are there any designers that you would like to collaborate with?

I’ve always looked up to designer Azza Fahmy and always get inspired by her work. I would love to collaborate with her on a collection that caters to the youth; create a line that is inspired by both her work’s classic elegancy and my contemporary twist.

What are some of your future plans for you eponymous brand?

The woman that serves as a major muse for my collections has yet to discover a lot more about herself – her journey has just begun. My latest collection was launched mid December 2016, and I was very excited about that. This collection, she finds herself caged in a restraining system and struggles to break free from it. This collection introduces a whole new aesthetic, something different that anything I’ve ever done before.

For more information:

location-IconAvailable at MILK Concept Store, Riyadat Mall, Al A’ali

www-Iconwww.judebenhalim.com

www-Iconwww.milkconceptstore.com

email-Iconinfo@judebenhalim.com

Insta-Icon@jude.benhalim

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