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Designer Spotlight: Bea Valdes

The accessory designer talks to us about her latest collection, The Burden of Silk, and lets us get to know her a little more.
Designer Spotlight: Bea Valdes The accessory designer talks to us about her latest collection, The Burden of Silk, and lets us get to know her a little more.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME AN ACCESSORY DESIGNER?

There was no motivation specific for accessories. I just saw a space that could be filled with a particular idea. My background is in industrial design, and my family had been in the fine jewelry trade for generations. It was the coming together of these particular elements at [a] specific point in time that just made so much sense.

WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR DESIGN TRAINING?

I started with Industrial Design in UP and moved on to Interior Design in London. My first job in Interior Design was at a firm called Gregory Aeberhard Plc in London.

YOU COME FROM A FAMILY THAT HAS LONG BEEN IN THE FIELD OF DESIGN, FASHION, AND ART. HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOU AS AN ARTIST, AND WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES?

My mother’s side of the family has been in the fine jewelry trade for three generations—what that background has allowed me to develop is a deeper understanding of what we can consider as precious. The concept of keepsakes and heirlooms continues to inspire me.

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WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?

One step at a time; moments into momentum.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?

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I’ve often said, my material is my muse.

WHICH DESIGNERS/ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?

There are too many to enumerate. But they all have an essential  philosophy that runs through their designs and into the way they live.

WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?

The ones who continue to teach me.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS?

I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to design for other designers. It is an overwhelming  privilege—and a humbling experience.

WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TIMELESS STYLE?

Inno Sotto. [Note: Valdes collaborated with the designer in his recent 30th anniversary gala. Their first collaboration was in October 2007, inspired by the Alhambra.]

HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS A DESIGNER?

Each season, with every new piece that I create, there is evolution. The change I can perceive is more about “a depth of expertise and productivity." We have chosen to delve even deeper into our craft instead of expanding laterally through a product range.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Personally, having established a workshop in the heart of the city—and not a factory—is one of my proudest accomplishments to date. This, of course in addition to also being able to work with my family, which has proven to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the business.

In terms of milestones, our necklace on the cover of British Vogue’s September [2009] issue was amazing. (Thank you, Marga!)

As a whole, having been able to bring our pieces, all hand-crafted in the Philippines, to a receptive global audience. [T]he opportunity to showcase Filipino designs and craftsmanship in a global arena has been very fulfilling. 

WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?

Having a designer I respect ask me to create pieces for him.

WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER?

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Design is nothing compared to mastering the art of working with family plus forty individual artisans!

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?

I’ve been dreaming of unwinding!

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?

Eyebags.

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?

Every collection, I put together a small playlist on my iPod for inspiration. This serves as a guide—something to remind me of a mood or aesthetic I am trying to capture. [S]o the music changes from season to season. I do the same for books and  movies—I consciously  surround myself with these specific sensory elements so I can start designing from a place that I know.

WHAT PROFESSION WOULD YOU BE IN IF YOU WEREN'T A DESIGNER? DO YOU HAVE ANY TALENTS WE ARE NOT AWARE OF?

I can't imagine myself not making or drawing things. Tactile creation has always been such a large part of who I am.

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I do wish I had a green thumb, but I think I’m an orchid killer.

ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ACCESSORY DESIGNERS?

Keep learning and defining who you are as an individual. If designing is in the blood, it can't be taken away from you. A tutor once told me that the only thing I would be good for is making coffee. Which is crazy, as I make a terrible coffee!


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