Syed Ahsan from Dapper Kid wearing the PEROXIDE 80hg Mercury Melt Ring
Where did the name Peroxide come from?
It comes from the chemical hydrogen peroxide, used to bleach hair. I started bleaching my hair platinum blonde when I was 13 and going through my first round of rebellion in the form of ditzy Barbie: Berghain edition. Bleached hair has been a strong part of my identity for years, so it felt only right to go with the name Peroxide for my alter-ego too, which is now the Peroxide jewelry store.
How would you describe the Peroxide customer?
Creative, alternative, curious, sustainability focused and passionate about art and fashion, with a strong personal identity.
Do you design specifically with that customer in mind?
Yes and no. I design according to my own vision. I think it’s important that I stay true to that in order to come up with unique pieces. If you start thinking only about what sells, chances are you’ll be creating the same as every other brand out there, which is totally fine, but is not the kind of jewelry I picture for Peroxide. I think the Peroxide customer naturally agrees with this vision.
What does your creative process look like when designing a new piece of jewelry?
I’m lucky enough to be able to get inspired according to my own timings so I don’t really have to force the creative process. When an idea does come up, I’ll usually sketch it by hand, try different versions until I come up with the perfect one that combines the look of the piece on its own and how it will look on the wearer. I then move the design to Illustrator for a cleaner look to show my jewelers. I also look for finishing effects or texture references for the atelier to know exactly what it is we’re looking for. The Peroxide atelier and I discuss the new designs and work together very closely during the creative process.
Where do you draw your main inspiration from?
Anything can inspire me! Mostly random things I see on a daily basis, and I like to imagine how objects that aren’t meant to be on the body would look or adapt to the body if they were to become jewelry pieces. The way nature wraps around itself, industrial materials on the street, etc.
Do you think creativity is a matter of seeking external inspiration or a process of self-realization?
A little bit of both. External inspiration can only do so much, in my opinion the final product needs to have something from the designer in it. Their vision is important in order to treat that external inspiration and transform it into a new item of its own.
What have you learnt most about yourself through the designing process?
That I love designing!! I’ve been into fashion since I was very young but I never considered a career in design because I always felt it was too complicated – too much like engineering and my brain just isn’t wired like that. However with Peroxide, I find that not only do I love designing, but it’s easily one of my favorite parts of running the brand. Peroxide is a one woman show for now so I take care of all the departments myself. I graduated in advertising and I figured that’s the part I would enjoy the most, but surprisingly designing is still on top.
What is your earliest jewelry memory?
My mom used to have these clip-on earrings. I never once saw her wearing them. They were huge, in a golden shade and a bunch of emerald looking stones. They were probably made of brass and plastic but they looked like they belonged to a princess and I loved putting them on to play dress up. Later on I’d play dress up with my brother and make him wear them. Truly the crown jewel.
The first collection is composed purely of sterling silver pieces, what is it about silver that speaks to you?
Silver feels like a mirror. I feel like it blends more with the wearer while standing out on its own at the same time because of its shine. I want Peroxide to seem like it was made specially for each wearer and for that it needs to be able to merge seamlessly with their personal style.
Which other materials would you like to work with in the near future?
I’m already working on the second collection and I can reveal that we are working with black rhodium plating, which I’m super excited about. I have also had a lot of people asking for gold pieces. Right now Peroxide offers full customization of our designs, so for example if a customer wants our Mercury Melt Ear Cuff in gold, they only have to ask. However I don’t know if I want to make any pieces in gold from scratch just yet, I’ll leave it up to the customer.
Do you believe there needs to be greater transparency in terms of materials and pricing in the industry, when so many fashion labels seem to charge excessive amounts for brass or stainless steel jewelry?
Absolutely, especially coming from big fashion brands, who tend to add a luxury fee in their prices. Luxury is in the materials, in the craft, in the originality of the designs, in the way the customer is treated. If things are done right, items become luxurious naturally. All these aspects set the price and it’s really a no brainer. But if they mass produce in brass or stainless steel for 2$ the piece, I find it extremely unethical to slap a designer label on it and price the item over 500$.
You started your brand in the middle of the pandemic – what was the main advantage and what was the main disadvantage of this?
The main advantage was the free time. It’s hard to sit down and stop everything you’re doing to work on your own project when the whole world continues speeding on. The main disadvantage was not being able to start working on samples or manufacturing as early as I would have liked, obviously because the whole world was on hold, so that delayed the launch date slightly. It allowed me extra time to work on all the other aspects too though, so I’m happy at how things turned out in the end.
What surprised you most about starting your own company?
How good a response it’s having!!!! It feels very special when something you have created and put so much time and love into becomes special for others too. All the support from both friends and strangers is also something I could have never anticipated.
What is the main piece of advice you would give others looking to start their own brand?
All you gotta do is want it and trust your gut. If you really want to do this you will effortlessly put in all the time and love a project like this requires. Don’t let setbacks demotivate you and keep pushing to get your vision out there.
What can we expect next from Peroxide?
I think you can expect continuity. I’m not done exploring my current vision of Peroxide, and although future collections and creative expansion are already in mind, I still feel like I have a few things left to say from the first batch of ideas.
Read the full article at https://www.dapperkid.co.uk/blog/interview-peroxide-jewelry-with-claudii