It’s not often that you come across a striking jewelry brand that’s equal parts celebrity-approved, wishlist-worthy, and budget friendly. But luckily Amanda Assad Mounser’s latest lookbook for her line, Mounser, recently made its way into my inbox and stopped the search I’ve been on to find the perfect gold hoop earrings. The brand, founded in 2009, seeks inspiration from some of my favorite artists—including Cy Twombly, James Turrell, and Yves Klein—and has amassed a cult-fan base including Kate Bosworth, Emilia Clarke, Alicia Keys, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Reese Witherspoon. Here, the designer explains her journey over the last decade, her endearing love for New York, and what we need to know about her latest offering.
Did you always want to pursue jewelry design?
I’ve always experimented with different artistic mediums. My collection was born from wanting to create sculptural pieces with an artistic point of interest in a wearable context. I’ve always loved fashion and art, so organically it made sense to fuse the two into one expression.
What were you doing prior to launching Mounser in 2009?
I’m from Texas originally, but I moved to New York at the end of 2004. My first job in fashion was actually on the business side in wholesale and press. I worked for Moschino and Alejandro Ingelmo.
2009 must have been a difficult time to launch a brand…
I’m grateful for the network of retailers and editors I built through my previous fashion life. They believed in the brand and supported it from inception. In terms of the 2009 recession, I think because my brand aesthetic has a sparkly luminous quality as well as an accessible price point, it was a great pick-me-up for people who wanted something special and low on the guilt index. Luckily, as a result, the brand was successful out of the gate!
You started your line in New York but are now based in LA, what do you love about living and working in LA?
Mounser is based heavily on inspiration from nature, which is something that is in abundance on the West Coast. Being able to explore the outdoors in a variety of terrains and see true purity in shape, form, and color through the natural landscape brings me so much creative energy. The peace and serenity that comes from interacting within wide-open spaces also brings a blank slate of clarity to my creative mind.
What do you miss about NY?
I miss my dear friends primarily, of course. But beyond that there is a cultural component that I love about New York in that you can endlessly wander and always stumble upon something new. There is such an enriched diversity as neighborhoods change in the scenery, people, style, and vibe. You can explore so many worlds in just a few hours and all you need is your two feet and the element of observation. That sense of discovery is so rare and special.
How did you keep creative, inspired, and motivated this year?
Simplification has really helped in bringing peace and calm during this chaotic year. Early on, I decided I was going to take things one moment at a time and streamline my headspace to focus on activities that contributed to the idea of creation experimentation. It lead me to a place of working creatively across multiple mediums in a pure sense—one that was light and carefree—and not trying to conform or place heavy expectation on the result. In essence, the pressure was turned off which lead me to a more enriched creative experience and a flourishing than I ever expected. This year has also given me the time to dive deeply into my personal library of archived magazines and art books, something I always wanted to be able to spend more time on in the past. This has brought new perspective through the resources already at my disposal.
You derive a lot of inspiration from artists. What’s your relationship with art?
I find the process of creating art invigorating and I am fascinated by the ebb and flow that comes with the cycle of transformation. I love that you start with nothing but an idea and end up with emotion in tangible form. I love the messiness of art—I also love the purity in it. I love that art invites you to think about things differently and moves you outside of your own mindset into the perspective and experience of another. I love that you can feel both lost and found within a piece of art.
Tell us about your other muses.
I never have a specific customer or muse in mind. At the core, I aim to create pieces that feel like a wearable work of art and evoke the emotions of delight and surprise while bringing a sense of glamour. I try to design pieces that catch the light and illuminate to further enhance the natural beauty (both inside and out) the person who wears them.
Tell us about the Fall 2020 collection, what do we need to know?
For me, in times like these where so much is in flux, the pure joy of wearing something glamorous (or even the future promise of it) brought a sense of cheer, hope, and excitement that brighter days will come. In this spirit I tried to think about what silhouettes would literally feel bright with luminous sparkle. I focused on light-catching earring silhouettes and floating components, in happy, natural color tones of the ocean and sky at sunset—the simple basic pleasures that have brought so much comfort over the last few months. For many of the all-over metal silhouettes, I wanted the feeling to be a delicate statement with crisp radiance—especially with the introduction of the sterling chain charm necklace group. The Solar necklace is also a favorite and great investment as it was created with versatility in mind—the links separate into bracelet silhouettes giving dual wearability. I also brought the Tauber Arp heart charm necklace back from the archives, because now more than ever a sentiment of love felt necessary.
What’s next for Mounser and what are your hopes for 2020?
I recently started an ongoing series of paintings and ceramic objects (with ceramic jewelry boxes to come) based on the cycles of the moon. I’ve also begun working on a nature based photo series based on California landscapes. My artworks are meant to inspire to the idea of endless possibility and the feeling of hope this connotes. They represent fluidity, and freedom within a changing state capturing moments of beauty and peace in the grand scheme. My hope is to continue creating what I love and inspiring something special and hopeful through the works that manifest