AT THE STUDIO WITH: ARUSHI PARAKH
Arushi Parakh needs no introduction. A trained stylist with extensive experience in styling and creative direction for ELLE India and Harper’s Bazaar India, Arushi is also the founder of Melt – a minimalist jewelry brand that uses silver as the main element. Parakh’s jewelry is light, daily-wear worthy and refreshingly unique. She focuses heavily on modern shapes and texture and less on bling. Something we can relate to. So, we sat down with the stylist turned jewelry designer to figure out how it all began…
1. Why did you decide to start Melt?
I had studied styling and I was working with magazines but I felt like I wanted to do something other than styling. I’ve always loved silver jewelry, so I decided to pursue my passion.
2. Tell us about the aesthetic of your brand?
Well, it’s very minimal and modern. When I started out, I didn’t see that aesthetic in India, especially in silver, because it’s normally used in very traditional pieces. But you can actually wear it everyday, and it grows on you, and that’s the part that excited me.
3. Is everyday a learning experience for you since you’re not trained as a jeweler?
No, I’m not trained as a jeweler, but I do have a family background in jewelry. So, I asked people around me and learnt everything on the job.
4. So, what was the hardest part?
I think it’s the fact that everything is so technical. You can have amazing ideas but if you can’t actually execute them and turn them into products, it’s pointless. With jewelry, functionality is key. So that’s definitely the toughest part for me.
5. As you’re learning the technical know-how, do you think your aesthetic has changed since your first pieces?
Yes it has. Earlier, I was working backwards. I could picture how a product would look visually and then get around to technique, but now, I figure out the technique first and then get to the visual.
6. Do you think your experience as a stylist helps you as a designer?
100 percent. I don’t think I would have done this if I weren’t styling. What looks good, how a piece would look on the body, styling has influenced my thinking. For example, texture is a big part of my brand. When I combine textures like lava with high solid silver, that choice and decision is aided by my styling experience.
7. Why is it that we don’t have more designers making minimalist silver jewelry?
Because in India, people don’t see the value of silver, so they don’t make it. And because it’s not readily available, people can’t buy it either.
8. Is that mindset changing?
Definitely. That’s what happened with clothes right? People didn’t understand why they should pay a certain amount for a cotton shirt. But when you give people quality clothing, they eventually realize that it lasts longer. The same perception applies to jewelry.
9. Do you think jewelry labels are adopting a sustainable approach?
I would like to think so, but the reality is that we need to be more sustainable. When you’re using embellishments, they’re all plastic. When you use pearls, the process of procuring those pearls is actually very painful. So, one has to be more conscious of the effects of the process and the product itself.
10. Is Melt eco-conscious?
Yes, I am. We have these tiny tags that go on the chain in Melt packaging. That’s all recycled silver. The packaging itself is fabric. But everything can be reused. And because I work with metal, I can melt it again and reuse it. And that’s the idea of melt, I want to use silver as a base and then keep experimenting with different combinations like wood and silver, enamel and silver. I really want to work with yarn and silver.
11. What are the next steps for Melt?
I’m working on a really exciting silver collection that isn’t as minimal as my other pieces and I’m also working on a gold collection. Both of these are scheduled to come out in December.
Thanks Arushi for sharing your exciting journey with us!
Photography: Aastha Manchanda @manchandaa