This time on the Living Jewelry project, I have Annika Wegerle. She is hard working, incredibly ambitious, and brave enough to follow her dreams, wherever they may take her.
I’m really excited to see what insights she has to share with us.
Hey Annika, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m 29 years old and was born in Germany, but I recently moved to Paris to follow my dream and become a chef. I’m currently working in a professional kitchen and am starting culinary school in the fall – it’s a big challenge, but that’s exactly what I was looking for when I moved here. Luckily I have a fantastic partner who supports me big time.
Moving to Paris sounds amazing – especially for such an exciting reason. But you’re no stranger to starting over in a new city.
True. I lived in Berlin for 7 years, where I studied literature, something that seems so far away to me now – it takes me forever to finish a book now because I don’t have the time. But the next vacation will be here soon.
After Berlin I lived in Montreal for 3 years where I worked in digital marketing for a while. Montreal stole my heart and I hope that life will lead me back there in the future.
Now Paris, and who knows from there!
How would you describe your style?
There’s a great German word for describing the way I see my style: Stilbruch. It basically means “the breaking of different styles”, so mixing together different styles or “breaking” one type of style with a different one.
Man, the German language really does have a word for everything! Sorry, continue.
Hah. I like to play with different notions of styles, such as “feminine” and “masculine”, “hard” and “soft”, “extravagant” and “understated” or “chic” and “simple”. I’ll dress up as long as I can “break” the chicness with a pair of heavy boots, and I love wearing some deep red lipstick and some jewelry with a pair of jeans and a T-Shirt.
I’m a big fan of colours, because, you know, life is colourful.
Why is jewelry so important to you?
Well, I used to have some very cool and unique pieces of jewelry I had inherited from my grandmother, including amazingly crazy pieces like a golden triangle necklace with snake skin decorations, but they got stolen when people broke into my Montreal home 2 years ago.
It was. Losing such sentimental pieces made me more thoughtful about rebuilding my collection. My jewelry collection may be smaller than it used to be – but all of the pieces have some sort of emotional value and I feel they reflect my style 100% at different occasions.
While that’s an awful way to restart, it’s nice that you’re connecting with your new pieces.
Absolutely, they’re still great style accessories, but now there’s more to it than that. Most of my pieces are attached to certain memories or a specific person so that I can appreciate those special moments when I put them on.
It sounds like you have a really good relationship with your jewelry. Can we talk about that?
Sure! My relationship with jewelry has evolved over time, just as I have. The first phase was when I hit puberty and all of a sudden thought I needed all the accessories in the world. Of course I only bought the cheap, fake crap at H&M, which always lead to frustration later on because that stuff would break or tarnish just by looking at it.
That frustration led to a phase when I wanted to wear almost no jewelry at all, maybe in an attempt to declutter and shed my teenage self.
It wasn’t until I moved to Berlin that I realized that you can get beautiful unique jewelry by local designers without paying a fortune for it. In cities like Berlin and Montreal that kind of local arts + crafts mentality is a major thing. I think that’s when I started buying unique pieces and finding my own style, in general and in terms of jewelry.
I feel like your jewelry collection can be described like the life of a butterfly. First you’re a caterpillar – fresh and voracious – wanting to consume everything. Next is the period of rest and transformation – necessary for you to emerge as a butterfly – now much more beautiful and selective about what you consume.
Being more selective is great. I love that I can support local designers and artisans with my choices – I can treat myself (or get a lovely present for a friend) and show appreciation for someone’s craft at the same time. The mass-produced crap I mentioned before has resulted in people not understanding why real, beautiful jewelry designed and crafted by a passionate person costs more than $5.
You said it!
I know not everyone has extra cash lying around for jewelry, but to me it’s worth waiting to treat myself to a special piece I know I’m going to wear for a long time.
Yes, it’s about breaking that mentality of fast fashion. Instead of getting 5 pieces at $10 a piece, why not save up that $50 to get something that you’ll wear more and will last much longer than those 5 cheap pieces.
Exactly. Quality pieces are well worth it.
Can you describe your jewelry collection? What are some of your most prized pieces?
Honestly, my collection is quite small so they’re all prized pieces. Several smaller, more subtle pieces for everyday life and a few bulkier, “out there” pieces that perfectly contrast a colourful dress and bright lipstick for special occasions.
I have a big silver ring with a moonstone that I wear pretty much every day (outside of work) – it’s big, but works with everything and completes most of my everyday looks perfectly. I also have some very simple and casual small silver hoop earrings I wear on a daily basis.
For days when I want to dress up a little, I have these amazing spiky silver earrings I bought from a Montreal designer at the Souk @ SAT design market a few years ago. I wore them to a few weddings and other special occasions and they always made me feel the perfect combination of cool and chic – something that I always wish for in a piece of jewelry, but rarely find.
One really cool piece I have is a gold and black paper clip earring a friend of mine, who works for a London designer, gave me as a present the last time she visited me.
Another very good friend of mine gave me some statement chain silver earrings for my birthday a couple of years ago – they’re fat and out there and I love them, of course also because they make me think of her every time I wear them.
It’s wonderful that your jewelry connects you to your friends, even when they’re far away from you.
It’s really powerful. My jewelry is full of positive associations with people and places.
My newest additions are the Vegvísir pendant – because I’m always travelling and moving around the world, and the gold Batur necklace. I bought the statement piece to wear to my sister’s wedding and now I will always remember that day every time I wear it.
Aww I love that!
You’ve been so great, I don’t have any more questions for you! Thank you so much for the chat!
You can see and shop Annika’s jewelry collection here.
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