In case you thought that wearable art, also known as "art to wear," could be intimidating fashion items that don't have a place in your closet, think again! Graphic designer and artist, Sofia Cope, created Viva La Manika, a brand that showcases stylish, statement jewelry she designed herself.
In an email interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Sofia spoke about how she wanted to create an alternative avenue for Filipinas to express themselves, who inspires her creations, and what wearable art means to her.
How did you come up with the idea of creating your own wearable art?
I wanted a different way for Filipinas to express themselves, even if only through statement jewelry. I’m very basic when it comes to the clothes I wear—which is not uncommon in our culture—a lot of Pinays like simple outfits, yet I needed a way to be different too so I learned how to make resin jewelry and incorporated my art into them.
How long have you been in the design industry?
I've been designing since I was in college. My first projects were invitation designs and digital artwork for my college friends who were celebrating their 18th birthdays (and having debuts) back then. I got more clients by word of mouth that eventually included brands, a lot of which are fashion brands. I’d help them with their visual identities and marketing collaterals. It’s become a huge part of my career and what I enjoy doing to this day. I’ve been designing for around 10 years now.
Who inspires you in the local and international design scene?
Too many, actually. I’m easily inspired by anyone’s creativity. But if I have to mention one, it has to be Patis Tesoro. She’s brilliant both as an artist and a fashion designer. I see that she loves—and has a perceptive eye—for patterns and prints which is something I identify with.
Internationally, I like the work of Corina Nika and the collages of Francisca Pageo and Aleksandra Morawiak.
Have you always wanted a career in fashion, or did you see yourself only pursuing graphic design?
I have always wanted a career in fashion—I think it’s a frustration I've had for some time now. I even took up fashion marketing and promotion as a vocational course. It’s the only course I could take in fashion school because I had no knowledge or experience in designing fashion items. But I’m really happy that I’ve found a way to sort of marry these two departments, and that is through making statement jewelry.
How different is creating wearable art versus art that is only meant to be displayed?
Great question! Creating wearable art is different in that the wearer is part of the art. So with my jewelry, I always have to keep the human face in mind. Rather than making it the focal subject, it should simply be an interesting detail that flatters the face. Just because the print or shape is beautiful doesn’t always mean it’s pretty on the wearer. The person wearing it is like the first coat of paint on a canvas, and first layers are already beautiful. What is added must simply make it more interesting.
How much are your pieces and where can they be bought?
The pieces range from P270-P550. They are available at vivalamanika.com
*Answers have been edited lightly for clarity.
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