Lucía Vergara is the owner of Barcelona-based jewellery label Après Ski. After working for Spanish designers Lydia Delgado and Ailanto, Lucía decided to take the next step in her career and launched her first collection in 2009.
Inspired by geometry and nature, and using old materials from the 40s to the 80s, Lucía creates limited edition lines characterised by its naïve aesthetics and use of craftsmanship. After a year living in London, Lucía has just returned to Barcelona to spend even more time on Après Ski and think about future plans for her business.
Photos by Silvia Conde
What made you start your own jewellery label?
As a child, I used to have extraordinary “good luck” – at least that’s what it must have looked like because I was told so very often. Back then, I didn’t understand yet that it is oneself who causes good things to happen to them so I unconsciously began associating being lucky with whatever I was wearing. That made me see certain objects in a very special light and even though I now realise that what’s important is the thought or the will, I still like to remember how I felt then.
I went through a period when I believed to have lost my lucky touch so I started making necklaces from antique pieces that I had found whilst travelling to bring it back. My friends liked them and started to ask to make some for them too. Then a shop became interested in carrying my pieces and I slowly began building my brand. Some girls write to tell me that my necklaces bring them luck and even though I know they’re the ones bringing good things onto themselves I feel very happy about it.
What’s your design approach? Tell us a little more about your process.
Every collection has been conceived in a different way, but I usually start by feeling intrigued by a particular material or technique that I want to pursue further and that’s how the designs are born. The last collection was inspired by something that already existed, Mocha Ware, so in this case the designs took elements from the decoration and motifs on those pieces.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I like “humble” materials, like ceramics, brass, resin or wood. I don’t like them being called “poor” because they’re cheaper as I find them to be really rich in the possibilities they offer. Wood is one of my favourite materials because I’ve always been close to it, my grandfather had a woodworking shop in the town we spent our summers in and we used to play there as kids.
How would you define the Après Ski customer?
I have the feeling that my customers have very different backgrounds but I believe what brings them together is the love and appreciation of handmade products.
Tell us a little more about the “Dentro y Fuera” project. Why do you think collaboration is important in the creative industries?
The “Dentro y Fuera” project stemmed from the idea of matchboxes that were used to promote other things. I liked the idea of them being illustrated and numbering them as in a collection. I’ve always been into teamwork and it’s a great opportunity to get to know other creative types and share ideas. Collaborating makes one grow and learn, not only on a professional level but also on a personal one. Some of the illustrators I’ve invited to take part in the project have become friends and that makes me really happy.
What are your main inspirations?
Conceptual art, nature, geometry and handcrafting techniques.
Have you ever considered designing other fashion items apart from jewellery?
For three years I worked for Spanish designer Lydia Delgado and I designed clothes, belts, scarves and bags for her brand. I enjoyed it a lot but what I would really love to do now are ceramics or tapestry pieces. What I am really fascinated about is traditional craftsmanship.
Until recently, you were based in London and had your store in Barcelona. How was working between these two cities? What do you like the most from each of them?
I’ve lived in London for a year but I just moved back to Barcelona because it wasn’t easy to run everything from there and I had to travel back and forth very often. It’s been a very positive year for me, specially on a personal level. I had a beautiful and quiet studio next to the most wonderful park in the world and plenty of time to look inward. What I love most about London are its parks and gardens, its energy and that feeling that it offers endless possibilities. From Barcelona I love the weather, its atmosphere and the people who live here.
Do you have any future plans that you can reveal?
My plans so far are learning not to plan, haha! Make an effort to be able to live in the present. My goals for the brand are learning to manage it better and being able to have a permanent in-house team. I would love to be able to have the time to design and experiment more.