“I am inspired by Egypt, France and punk”: meeting with Farah Radwan, creator of FYR Jewelry

Founded in 2017 by French-Egyptian designer Farah Radwan, the FYR Jewelry brand offers brutalist and refined jewelry for men and women. Interview with her founder who wants to pay homage to the women of the past who paved the way for those of today, “so that we could run”.

31-year-old French-Egyptian jewelry designer Farah Y. Radwan founded her brand in 2017 Jewelery from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This name formed from his initials is not pronounced like “ Fear » (“fear” in English), but rather as “fire”. Like the one that allows you to forge the precious metals it uses. And what burns inside her when she talks about her creative process, inspired as much by France as by Egypt, but also by the more industrial codes of piercing punk. The result is high-end jewelry, with an aesthetic that is both brutalist and refined, masculine and feminine. And for this to miss I wanted to meet her to tell us what she uses to warm up.

Portrait of the creator of the FYR Jewelry brand, Faray Y. Radwan.

To miss. Have you always wanted to become a jewelry designer?

Farah Y. Radwan. When I started my studies in luxury product design, I was still feeling my way. I was very interested in photo editing, visual communication, artistic direction. During a jewelry class, it seemed to call to me and, more importantly, remind me how much I had loved it for a long time, actually.

As a teenager, I launched a brand with my best friend to make Brazilian bracelets that we sold in the summer. And before that, as a child, I loved rummaging through my grandmother’s drawers looking for jewels, like on a treasure hunt. On the beach I also liked to collect shells or pieces of glass polished by the sea, as if they were precious stones.

What was your relationship with jewelry growing up?

Since childhood I have been fascinated by everything related to ornament. I wasn’t allowed to wear jewelry, so it fascinated me even more. But to attend a wedding, when I was 15-16 years old, my mother lent me some gold earrings with emeralds that I was obsessed with. I remember that I already wanted to personalize them a bit in a DIY way.

What has particularly interested me in jewelery since I was little are the veins of the stones. The way light passes through stones or not. As metals like gold, silver and brass reflect it, etc. Depending on how you light a piece of jewelry, it can have completely different appearances. It’s as if he were alive.

When my grandmother died, when I was 18-19, she left me some jewelry, including some that mixed gold and mother-of-pearl. That’s how I learned how it forms into a shell. How an oyster weeps to produce a pearl, etc. Even stones can teem with lifeThis is what I wish to reveal.

You who grew up between Paris and Cairo, how did these capitals shape your taste and the meaning of your future creations?

They are truly two opposite worlds, and I fully feel the fruit of it. It is an immense wealth to have been immersed in these two cultures, with distinct lifestyles, tastes and therefore markets.

The jewelry market in Egypt is much more craft-oriented and the purchasing power is much greater. People will more easily buy multiple pieces at once, 4-5 rings at once, not necessarily sets. What is valued is more the metals and stones than the design of the jewel itself, although they often go together, obviously. Gold sells very well in Egypt, much less in France.

While in the jewelry market in France, we generally have less purchasing power and prefer to buy one piece at a time, due to its unique design. And pieces with text are taken into consideration, whereas in Egypt they are of less interest.

How did you train yourself before launching your brand, FYR Jewelry?

In addition to my luxury product design studies, in 2015 I completed a 3-month internship at the Ateliers Tamalet and training at the school of Azza Fahmy, the first Egyptian jeweler, on the processing of precious metals, with drawing and creation, modeling, etc.

In particular, we took trips to the souk to learn about the functioning of artisan networks in Egypt. You need to make sure that the craftsmen agree to process your order, understand and speak their language, negotiate prices, etc. And above all, ensure that your design is consistently respected, while celebrating the unique finish of each piece.

I learned a lot at Azza Fahmy’s school.

What do you think was missing in the jewelry market that inspired you to create FYR Jewelry?

I found that it was easy to find elegant jewelry, with a fashionable character, but rarely made with beautiful and noble materials. I was frustrated when I came across beautiful designs, but I worried that the coating would wear off after, say, a month. But in terms of jewelry that lasts, the designs were often too classic for my tastes, sometimes too gaudy. I was looking for a mix of both: a bold design made from noble materials. And it mixes traditional Egyptian codes with more punk elements.

What are your inspirations for creating your jewelry that hybridizes cultures?

I am inspired as much by the jewels of my grandparents and those I meet in the Egyptian souks, as by the aesthetics of industrial piercing. I want to reclaim all these codes that on the surface may seem opposite. In particular I offer a ring with the writing “ NO » in Arabic on it as a symbol of rebellion while drawing on tradition. I compare gold and silver, a large structure and a fine stone, etc..

This “no” ring is part of your “So We Could Run” collection. What did you want to express through it?

I thought of this “So We Could Run” collection by FYR Jewelry as a love letter dedicated to the women who gave us strength. They fought to liberate our voices today, they ignited our souls to carry on their legacy. They paved the way for us to run. It is above all thanks to our mothers and grandmothers that we can say ” NO »to certain things today. Jewels can be tools of memory, carrying messages of resilience, of feminist resistance.

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Source: Madmoizelle

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