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Interview by Rebecca Acar
Aisha is a German accessories designer, based in Cologne, who loves turning used materials into something new. She finds inspiration in nature and adores exploring design around the world by pouring over blogs. After two years of studying Economic Design she founded her jewelry label Fifi & Dachs in 2011, and now – 3 years later – she is also handling an even bigger project: Her new born baby boy.
In our interview, Aisha tells us about the inspiration behind her newest Fifi & Dachs collection “Rheinjuwel” and reveals which designer she admires the most. By the way, she has a great sense of humor – which can only be a good thing when it comes to design.
CAN YOU TELL US WHEN YOU FIRST REALIZED THAT YOU WANT TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
It might sound really corny, but I fear, I always knew it. This infantile “I can do it all”-attitude as a relic of a wonderful self-sufficient childhood gives me the freedom to try anything I have in mind.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DEVELOPMENT AND YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
I am currently a graphic assistant as well as an accessories designer and I studied Economical Design in Cologne for two years starting in 2009.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT DESIGN AND WHERE DO YOU SEE POSSIBLE CHALLENGES
I love putting my ideas into actual figures. I especially love playing with used materials and changing their original function. For me, the challenge in these cases is always to make my vision accessible to others so they can see what I see.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE COLLECTION “RHEINJUWEL” WHICH YOU ARE CURRENTLY SELLING ON RUNWAY PASSPORT?
This was the Rhine (a river in Germany flowing through Cologne). I love spending time there and taking out floating refuse to turn into my creations. Floating refuse holds this nice dichotomy: A warm and calming surface and the concentrated energy of the water below. That is where the image of the “diamond with the finishing of the Rhine” (“Rheinschliff”) came from.
FOR WHOM DO YOU DESIGN YOUR PIECES?
For those who always have to touch everything.
ON WHICH PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO SEE ONE OF YOUR PIECES OF JEWELRY?
On a person who is a complete stranger to me.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM IN GENERAL?
Mostly, there is a little spark. Something I have to think about that bothers me or that I like. Then the thought-machine starts. On every corner inspirations are lurking. And I am particularly prone for colors and old handcrafting techniques.
IS THERE A DESIGNER THAT REALLY IMPRESSES YOU?
There, nature comes first. Nature did everything right. Furthermore, I am impressed by anyone who knows how to use the wonderful liberties of his life (creatively).
IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR PATH AS DESIGNER: HOW DID YOU DEVELOP?
I lost my anger and I freed myself from the burden to be the one who saves the world with elaborate design. Instead of sending a reminder about the big evil, I prefer moving in my own little cosmos – creating solutions for manageable problems which are close to me.
WHICH OF YOUR PIECES OF JEWELRY ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
My little baby boy.
IS THERE ANYTHING A DESIGN MUST FULFILL FOR YOU? WHEN ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH A PIECE?
I have to feel it. After a while, there comes the time when my work starts to speak. At this point I can leave it to itself and others.
ART AND DESIGN – TWO THAT BELONG TOGETHER OR THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF EACH OTHER?
They do have something going on. Although I should get reprimanded for this, I just don’t want to separate these two from each other. Or maybe I am just afraid to detach myself from the design term and to call the entire thing “arts and crafts”.
IS THERE A COUNTRY OR A CITY THAT FASCINATES YOU, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE DESIGN SCENE?
I love digging through blogs and again and again I come across wonderful stores and great alternative design from Austin, Texas – uncomplicated, colorful, open and very close to nature. There is also something about Sweden. This reduced and lovely accentuated style fascinates me – and it is something that I’d also wish to have for my personal style as it allows you to take a deep breath and makes room for new things.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE MATERIAL?
It must be wood, it just appears everywhere.
AT WHICH TIME OF DAY YOU LIKE TO WORK THE MOST?
By now it is actually in the morning. Ideally, the sun is shining into the room and a coffee is steaming.
IN WHICH SITUATIONS DO YOU FEEL THE MOST CREATIVE?
When the chipped wood is flying and my fingers are sticking to each other. And with it there is ideally the sun again and lots of time.
Aisha’s new baby boy!