small talk // morgan solomon // designer + founder of AGMES jewelry line

i first met my friend morgan back in college, some five years ago. in recent times, we have reconnected and now i consider morgan a member of my cheer squad -- she too is seeking deep creative fulfillment and has been there for me in times when i've lost my way. morgan recently launched her own jewelry line, agmes and it's already a hit! it's really fresh + different plus you can truly see her unique point of view shining through each piece. agmes is totally unlike any other jewelry line i've seen. it's pretty inspiring to see a friend stand on her own two feet and build something from the ground up. i'm excited to continue watching morgan and agmes grow moving foward.

more on morgan and agmes below:

 agmes //  thin block rings

cultureisland: tell us more about you.

morgan solomon: i've always loved fashion, but more specifically jewelry. i don't have model-sized proportions, so even when i was young, i found clothing to be more difficult to shop for and thus my preferential treatment for jewelry began. no matter what your size, you can always find jewelry to fit! i remember as far back as my camp days, when i was only 9, i used to love making jewelry. that love for jewelry continued on but took a backseat role in my life for some time -- i didn't picture myself having a career as a jewelry designer until recently. i  graduated from the university of michigan where i studied business, and went on to work in buying after school. my first year in buying i worked on a women's clothing private label, where i got to help design the clothing. i loved that job because i found inspiration from all parts of my life and got to bring those ideas and excitement to work each day. after i got promoted, i worked with some established brands and found myself missing the creative component that i had in my previous role. i started craving a creative outlet and i found a studio in nyc where i could take weekend classes to make my jewelry designs come to life. after many different jewelry classes throughout my life, from camp, college, after graduation, to this one, it finally stuck. people say timing is everything, and i truly believe that in all aspects of my life - the time was right, and i knew i had to take the leap.

cultureisland. tell us more about AGMES.

morgan solomon: AGMES is a collaboration between my sister and i. my sister, jaclyn, graduated from parsons for fashion design and worked for 4 years at proenza schouler designing their knitwear. she is now consulting part-time for khaite, a new clothing line under the line, and is also our artistic director. we both have such different backgrounds and experiences that we bring to the table! our jewelry is made from all precious metals - sterling silver and gold vermeil- and everything is made locally. the aesthetic is modern, focusing on clean lines and geometric shapes. this collection was inspired mostly by 1960s and 70s design and architecture, such as cini boeri and tadao ando.

 agmes //  lookbook

agmes // lookbook

cultureisland: what is your process for making a jewelry collection?

morgan solomon: i start out working with my sister to pull inspiration for the upcoming season. after the inspiration has been collected, it's back to the drawing board. i start by sketching the pieces out on paper, and then i create them in cad to start to see the pieces come to life. i print many different versions of each piece using a 3d printer in order to determine the best dimensions for both style and comfort. once the design has been perfected, i send it to our artisan jewelers to manipulate and refine the pieces by hand. 

agmes // drop earrings

cultureisland: how has your work and process evolved since you started? how do you see it growing in the future?

morgan solomon: my process has evolved a lot since i first started! when i use to sketch in college, i would randomly create pieces that i wished to own. i didn't design to create a collection because i didn't yet know how to realize my designs. i designed simply because i wished i could have certain pieces that just didn't yet exist in the market. after partnering with my sister, i've learned so much about the process of collecting inspiration to base the upcoming collection on. i've taken many classes on jewelry forming, sketching and cad, and i still have so much to learn! i hope to one day have my own studio where i can sculpt and form the master models with my own hands.

 agmes //  lookbook

agmes // lookbook

cultureisland: what inspires you to create your line? where do you find inspiration for these pieces?

morgan solomon: i’m constantly inspired to design pieces that i'd love to wear. since i've been a consumer for longer than i've been a jewelry designer, i know what it is that i look for when shopping for jewelry - comfort, style, and quality. i try to design each piece to be light and comfortable, and something i'd want to pass on one day. i find inspiration everywhere i go! i love looking at the architecture around me, here in nyc and when i travel, but i especially love looking through old design books and checking out all the new galleries that are constantly popping up around me.

 agmes //  lookbook

agmes // lookbook

cultureisland: how do you name your pieces? 

morgan solomon: we name most of our pieces after architects or designers that inspire the pieces, such as the boeri and wide boeri ring after cini boeri, the ando ring after tadao ando, and the bertrand ring after bertrand goldberg. 

 agmes //  cliff cuff

agmes // cliff cuff

cultureisland: who are some of your favorite artists and designers?

morgan solomon: i have so many, but to name a few, yves klein, otto piene, and agnes martin.

 agmes //  block ring  +  boeri ring

cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?

it depends on my mood, but i've been listening to a lot of blood orange, lucius, and the arcs.

 agmes //  lookbook

agmes // lookbook

morgan solomon: have you watched anything inspiring lately?

i haven't had a chance to watch many movies lately, but i recently saw joy and was incredibly moved! joy's passion and unyielding drive for success was so incredible to watch - no matter what challenges she faced, she continued to pick herself back up and keep going. i try to keep her story in mind when i hit my own bumps in the road.

 agmes //  lookbook

agmes // lookbook

cultureisland: what are your favorite places to eat, shop, drink coffee in your neighborhood?

morgan solomon: i try not to drink much coffee, but if i am going to have coffee, it's always at la colombe - mostly because i love their olive oil cake. it's my favorite part about getting coffee! :) i'm surrounded by so many good restaurants, so if i go out to eat i try to check out new restaurants as much as i can. but of course i still have my go-to spots for lunch - cafe gitane, la esquina, and the smile. i'm more of an online shopper, but when i need a break from work i'll stop into all the great stores around me, such as maryam nassir zadeh, creatures of comfort, and totokaelo. they're all such beautiful and well-curated shops that it can be inspiring even if you're not shopping!

* you can purchase agmes jewelry here or at maryam nassir zadeh in nyc plus tenoversix and mameg in LA. + follow the brand's instagram here *