When California-born, New York-based Jennifer Fisher decided to make her own piece of jewellery to celebrate the birth of her first child, little did she know that it’d lead to the creation of her eponymous brand. Almost a decade later, Fisher’s designs have adorned the wrists and necklines of stars such as Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Rita Ora and Gigi Hadid, and made available to discerning women all over the world at more than 50 points-of-sale.
The latest in Fisher’s series of career coups is her collaboration with Net-A-Porter, which sees the warm and affable American designer concoct an exclusive capsule collection of effortless pieces for the online retail behemoth. “I wanted to do something very clean and simple,” she explains. “You see so much going on with [street style at] the fashion weeks right now, so I thought why not come up with great layering pieces at really great price points too? Women can buy as many as they want—or as little—and choose how to wear them.”
Harper’s BAZAAR speaks to the savvy stylist-turned-jewellery designer in Hong Kong about her partnership with Net-A-Porter, her business as well as finding strength in her work.
How did you feel about the collaboration with Net-A-Porter?
It’s such a great feeling! I don’t sell my jewellery to a lot of retailers, but I feel that Net-A-Porter is such a great partner. It’s important to have those relationships. As a designer, I don’t think people realise how much it means when a retailer wants you to do something special with them. This collaboration is also a perfect example of us actually listening to what our consumers and retailers want.
Huggie gold-plated hoop earrings and cuff set, about US$278, Jennifer Fisher at Net-A-Porter
Design is about telling a story. Is that the same for you?
It is a personal story. For me, jewellery is the last thing that people put on when they get dressed, but it really shows your personality and represents who you are. I like making pieces that are interchangeable from season to season. It’s a mood, too. Right now, I’m really into architecture so my designs for fall take after mid-century furniture designs, such as the angles of the arms on chairs and things like that.
Would you describe yourself as a rational or emotional designer?
I am super emotional. Jewellery is a form of identity and it lets you voice your personality. But I’m definitely more constructive now. As I grow and the brand matures, I’m trying to be more rational about things.
Set of three gold-plated brass rings, US$318, Jennifer Fisher at Net-A-Porter
What do you think your jewellery says about you?
It’s like my body armour… a defense against the world. I feel naked if I’m not wearing any jewellery. But the first thing I do when I get home is to take off all my jewellery. It’s the end-of-the-day feeling. I don’t know how women can sleep in theirs. I can’t do it!
You’ve recovered from an illness (she was previously diagnosed with desmoid tumor). How has that shaped your outlook towards life?
I always think back: “How did I get through that?” Would I still conduct myself in business the way I do now? I think I will. My father was an entrepreneur and he taught me that relationships are everything. It’s super important to know that whatever you’re doing is the right thing.
Set of three gold-plated cuffs, US$408, Jennifer Fisher at Net-A-Porter
How would you describe yourself as a business woman then?
I’m a hustler. I’m a tough chick. I think it’s my personality. I don’t take “No” for any answer. I tell that to young designers all the time. You’ll meet detractors who won’t like your work, but it is fine because it is design and it’s not for everybody. You have to brush it off, not take it personally and keep going. With any business, you need to have the mental stamina if you want to be successful.
Gold-plated anklet, US$201, Jennifer Fisher at Net-A-Porter
Your pieces embody modernity. Your thoughts on what it means to be contemporary?
I don’t think so much about it being contemporary or modern—I think of it more as what my aesthetic is. I sometimes look back at pictures of myself when I first started my line and even my personal style was different then. It was gothic, some rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s how people described me. I don’t think people say that anymore. I’ve evolved as a designer and my line has changed as well. I think the key is staying true to who you are. I’ve tried doing pieces based on suggestions, but you can tell when I’m not into it and the product doesn’t really come out the way I wanted to.
How are you planning on growing the brand?
It’s not about growing the business bigger, but growing it the right way. I think so many designers get caught up in opportunities that were given to them and I’m grateful for the opportunities that I haven’t taken. I see how some of these choices haven’t worked out so well for them. You really have to listen to your gut instinct. And I think knowing when to pull back is important. Small is key—small but powerful.
Are you superstitious? Do you believe in lucky stones and charms?
Yes! I think that stuff is really powerful. Jewellery is the same thing, you know? It’s got energy to it. I have a small Shiva figure from my grandmother. It’s one of those things where I’ll freak out if it’s not in my bag. I don’t fly without it. I don’t go anywhere without it.
By Gerald Tan