Pakistani-Colombian jewellery designer, Aysha Bilgrami, merged her multicultural roots to create contemporary jewellery with the launch of her eponymous label in 2014. One year and seven months later, Bilgrami is still using her “Pakilombian” aesthetic to make waves across borders with her creations. Last month,Bilgrami exhibited her unique designs in Pakistan for the second time and we got a chance to talk to her.
Did you ever study jewellery making?
No, I didn’tactually. I studied Fashion Design at The Istituto Marangoni in Milan. My teachers always pushed me to go into jewellery or accessories but I was really into clothes and styling at the time.
Did you work somewhere before you started your label?
I worked in Italy as a designer and a Product Manager for Ganesh Nari. I then went back to Colombia and worked with designer Leal Daccarett as product manager and bijoux designer. After that, I free-lanced in different areas of fashion, including costume designing and production, styling, runway coordination and print designing.
Where do you create your jewellery?
My tiny workshop is in Colombia where I work with my three-person team – my jewellery, my gold plater and I. In Colombia, we get excellent quality of silver and gold, as well as emeralds in all shades, forms and cuts.
Where do you find your inspiration from?
I’m of half Colombian and half Pakistani descent and all my inspiration comes from the mixture of the cultures of these two countries that lie on the opposite sides of the globe. I love to explore where I come from, so I’m constantly researching decorative elements, stories or techniques from both these areas, so that I can merge them to tell my own story.
Describe your design ethos?
Pakilombian… ethnic with a modern touch.
What is the response you’ve received in Pakistan?
This is the second time I’ve brought my jewellery to Pakistan and it has had a fantastic response. When I tell my clients about my Pakilombian roots, I love their reaction as I see them trying to identify what is from which culture. I end up learning a lot from them in the process.
If someone missed the exhibition and would like to order your jewellery?
I will be exhibiting again on May 2 in Islamabad. They can always get in touch with me on social media and we can send our designs across.