Morgan and Jaclyn Solomon have given a new meaning to a sister act. Veterans of the fashion industry, buyer Morgan and knitwear designer Jaclyn have joined forces to create Agmes, a luxury jewelry line that expresses geometric femininity inspired by urban landscapes, architecture, and modern art. Not only are the sisters in the business of chic accessories, but also sustainability. Check out Flaunt’s chat with the brilliant minds behind Agmes below.
How did you two decide to start working together?
Morgan: It was really such a natural decision and progression. When I was getting ready to launch AGMES, Jaclyn had just decided to take some time off, after working at Proenza Schouler for the previous 4 ½ years. I started out asking for her help (first the name, then the logo, lookbook shoot, styles,… ) and before we knew it we were spending so much time working together that it just made sense to partner on the collection.
How is the work divvied up between the two of you?
M: Our process as a whole is very collaborative, but there are certain components that each of us focus on. Jaclyn’s main focus is on the artistic direction – such as pulling inspiration for each collection and producing our lookbook shoots, while I focus more on the development and production of the collections and the day-to-day operations.
We do all of the designing together - separately to start, but then we review and modify each piece together. And at the end of the day, we make all of the big decisions together.
Some of your jewelry depicts very literal shapes in nature, such as coral, calla lilies, and artichokes. What specifically about those inspired you to make them into jewelry?
Jaclyn: That season (SS19) we took inspiration from Ellsworth Kelly’s plant drawings, specifically his calla lily and artichoke drawings. It was important to us to capture the quality of his drawings in the shapes rather than just taking them directly from nature. We had also been wanting to incorporate coral into the collection, and this felt like the perfect season to do so. Rather than using real coral, we decided to cast coral shapes in silver to continue with the flora theme of that season.
How has being featured in prominent, mainstream institutions such as Vogue helped your business?
M: We’ve been so fortunate to have received the press we have, and it’s definitely helped us to reach customers we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Some of our favorite retail partners and best online customers have found us from articles in Vogue and the NY Times.
And on a personal level, it’s been extremely exciting to open up the newspaper on Sunday morning or a magazine while on vacation to find our jewelry featured on the pages. That’s something that I don’t think we’ll ever get used to – each time is just as exciting as the first!
How does sustainability play a role in your creation process?
M: Sustainability has always been very important to us, but we feel that now more than ever it’s crucial to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible. There is so much waste in this industry, and we think it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re not adding to the problem. All our products are made locally in NYC, which helps keep our carbon footprint small, and we use only recycled metals for all our jewelry. Any excess metal that hasn’t been used in our jewelry is melted and repurposed for new pieces.
J: We recycle and reuse everything we can. We’re always bringing in bubble wrap, packaging materials, boxes, etc. from packages we receive at home so that we can reuse them instead of letting them go to waste.
Why did you decide to expand into hair accessories in addition to what you’ve already been making?
J: It was very natural evolution of our collection, especially with summer approaching when it gets very hot in New York and you just want to pull your hair back !
You both have past experience in fashion. Have you ever considered expanding to clothing as well?
M: It’s not something we’ve ever discussed. I think we’re both more interested in designing accessories at the moment, and potentially expanding further into accessories for the home.
A lot of your pieces have names. Is there a rhyme or reason? For example, what is the background of the Sappho earrings’ name?
M: We like to use names with meaning to us, although some are simply names that we like. For example, the Audrey Pendant is named after our mom. The Sappho Earrings were actually from a collaboration we did with our friend Conie Vallese – we asked her to pick some names that were meaningful to her.
You have glassware available now; do you plan to continue that?
J: The glassware was part of a collaboration we did with our friend Anthony Bianco of Bianco Light and Space, and was great fun to work on. We love the idea of working with new materials and expanding outside of jewelry, but for now we don’t have any plans on designing new glass pieces.
How has being siblings impacted your working relationship, and vice versa?
We often hear from people how surprised they are that we can run a business with our sibling, but it’s made us both closer together and our business even stronger. It’s important to be able to trust your partner, and there isn’t anyone we trust more than each other. While we do have different opinions on some matters, I think it’s what makes our business so strong because we’re able to combine both perspectives.
And on the other side of that, we do still have to separate ourselves at family meals otherwise work tends to dominate our conversation !
How has your brand evolved since its inception?
J: At the brands inception we focused solely on metal work, but have since explored incorporating different materials such as semi-precious stones, hand-blown glass, and pearls. We’ve also gradually expanded into other categories including both home and hair accessories. Through these explorations, we still feel that the collection remains true to its roots- focusing on creating easy-to-wear, lightweight pieces in organic forms which will become modern heirlooms and which embody a sense of timelessness.