Fuelled by a headstrong and rebellious spirit, CHAINLESS BRAIN, aims to epitomise the boldness and independence of the contemporary woman with its fine crafted jewellery. Meet ALVERINA WIJAYA, the designer behind this Singapore-based jewellery brand.
Jewellery making is no easy task for Alverina Wijaya – her first professional jewellery-making memory involves piercing a finger – but the tedious process comes with great rewards; happy customers and the satisfaction of creating her own designs.
Inspired by the liberating experience of creation, the Singaporean designer found her passion after studying Jewellery Design at Raffles Design Institute in Singapore and graduating in Fashion Marketing and Management from ISEM in Paris.
She set out to create simple DIY designs with Chainless Brain in 2006. Today, the jewellery brand has emerged as one of the finest jewellery brands in Singapore, carrying fine jewellery designs to quirky pieces expertly crafted from precious metals like 18K Gold and 925 Silver.
That’s not all. Alverina also collaborates with local designers and initiatives like Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore and FashionisTech and keeps more than 17k followers on Chainless Brain’s Instagram updated with her jewellery-making process and current projects. Read on to know how Alverina does it all.
How did you start out? What was your light bulb moment?
It started out purely as a hobby where we needed a name to represent ourselves back in 2006. And we did not expect that the brand would grow so much over the years and expand into the international market. It does take a lot of passion to come this far.
What’s your first jewellery memory?
If you mean professional jewellery crafting, I would say I remember cutting my finger from piercing a piece of silver sheet. Jewellery making is a tedious process, but looking how customers are satisfied with our work, it is all worth it.
Could you please describe your design process?
We usually take about 3-6 months to design and decide the new designs for the next collection. It really depends on our customers’ reviews base on the previous collection which explains why we take 6 months long to decide on the new designs. Our inspiration mainly comes from facets where we handmade our accessories for our Accessories line. We use these characteristics to put into our Jewellery line. In summary, we develop the designs from our previous collection.
What’s the biggest challenge with being a creative in business?
Being asked to produce more than we are able to is the biggest challenge when the workload is already overwhelming and we need to push further to meet our deadlines.
You have an impressive social following. Could you give us 3 tips on how to increase social media presence?
We started to engage with influencers when Instagram just started out. It has grown over the years and we are glad that some followers have been really loyal to us since the beginning. Since Instagram’s system has changed, the game of engaging influencers is not as effective as in the past. We usually tell our customers to check out our Instagram during events, it does help a bit on that. Of course, posting good and relevant pictures helps to increase social media presence too.
You have collaborated with a few brands, and most recently FUZE, how do you choose projects/collaborations?
It is very important that both parties come together with the same vision, goals and objectives. Many a time, our collaborations did not work out because the splitting of the cost was not even. It is very important to understand the budget that we set aside for the collection and the goals to achieve by the end of the project. If the brand vision of our collaborators is aligned with us, we are more than welcome to work with them, even if it takes a few years to fulfil or complete the project.
"Jewellery making is a tedious process, but looking how customers are satisfied with our work, it is all worth it."
Founder, Alverina Wijaya
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
I hope to collaborate with H&M or Topshop one day! Topshop in London is very supportive of their local designers. We need to make this happen in Singapore too!
What’s your top business advice to aspiring jewellery designers?
Don’t think too much, just follow your heart and do it.
In your opinion, what’s the current state of the local fashion industry in Singapore?
I love to see how the locals are supporting local designers these days. They are more knowledgeable about fashion through social media. It is very encouraging to see that many young designers are creating their own labels in their own unique ways. I would say the local fashion industry has been evolving, to a better and stronger one.
“It is very important that both parties come together with the same vision, goals and objectives. If the brand vision of our collaborators is aligned with us, we are more than welcome to work with them, even if it takes a few years to fulfil or complete the project.”
What are some current jewellery trends that have piqued your interest?
The choker! They are back in trend. We try not to follow the trend too much as we want to create something that is long-lasting so customers would wear them again for the next few years.
What is your most cherished piece of jewellery?
Every piece! They are like my babies. I feel the need to cherish every piece of them since I have put in a lot of time and effort before presenting them to the public. It really upsets me every time our stockists return us damaged goods when the jewellery has not been well taken care of.