MATERIALS & METALWORK SETS THIS JEWELLERY LINE APART
Story by Reem Jazar
Photos provided by Moonrox
Take some out-of-this-world style, gorgeous colour combinations, a background in fine arts and a degree from Parsons The New School of Design, and you get some of the informing elements behind Moonrox. The Toronto-based jewellery line puts the class back in to costume pieces, all the while delivering the whimsy that so many jewellery lovers covet.
Moonrox founder and designer Monique Chan’s pieces are one of a kind. Her metalwork (which she does herself) is impressive; from the “Constellation” Brooch in her Classics collection, to her “Twinkle Crème Pearl” Bracelet from her Spring/Summer 2012 line, Chan creates almost fairytale-like pieces. Her designs are fresh, fun, colourful and classic.
Chan says she had already begun studying fine art, mostly painting, when she decided to attend Parsons. “It was amazing to be around a lot of creative people but it was so quick. It was over in a flash and then I was back to Toronto,” she says.
While tackling the insurmountable coursework at the renowned school, Chan says she found time to design jewellery for friends and family, which is also how she gained exposure for her designs. “I was making jewellery for my friends and a couple of people wanted it, and then stores wanted it. So when I came back to Toronto I immediately started my business and haven’t stopped,” says Chan.
Similar to the way she got her start as a jewellery designer, Chan says she draws a lot of creativity from working around friends – for example, Toronto-based designers Dagg & Stacey. “I’m not too big on following the ‘big famous’ designers but I have a good group of friends,” shares Chan. “A lot of them are designers so I think we rub off on each other.”
While the designer embraces the social networking aspect of the fashion industry (you can find MoonRox on Twitter and she also hosts a blog), Chan says there is a drawback to putting original works online. “There’s more and more competition,” explains Chan, “and with the internet, I think things get copied so quickly that everything starts to look the same. You want to put it out there so people can see it but at the same time you don’t want everything exposed.”
Chan says she remains true to her point of view as a designer by taking note of trends but not allowing them to alter her aesthetic. “I try not to do things influenced by other people and sometimes I’ll make a point of checking out other people’s looks to make sure I’m not overlapping,” she notes. “Especially in Toronto, there are only a few suppliers we can go to and we’re working with a lot of the same materials sometimes.”
Materials are something that have a big impact on the way each Moonrox collection shapes up. ”I often draw from the materials first so I’ll go hunting for different things. I find some bead or cord or something specific that I love, so I’ll turn it in to a series; it’s always material first for me.”