The famous greek jewelry designer, Sophia Forero, talks about how she started, her inspiration and her upcoming plans.
Text: Irene Gkoufa
Sophia started to design jewelry when she was studying international relations. She had to do research on sub-Saharan Africa . One day she started to pore through books of the people of Africa, wearing their indigenous clothing and adornment and then she realized that accessories are symbols of life situations, such as marriage, or achievement. Then she started collecting elements of jewelry around the world: “I travelled and gathered more bobbles for my jewels- that’s when I began to create. In Greece I got glass beads from Plaka, silver from Ioannina, and hand made silver from Thessaloniki…“
As she told us, her biggest inspirations for mosaics came from Byzantine icons but currently she draws inspiration from history books about different cultures, such Egypt, Ancient Greece, Rome.
However, her jewelry is not only genuine and inspired, but also made of great materials: “We hand sew precious stones onto fabric, and then set them in caste silver or gold plated bronze. Each stone is sewn one by one, we hand carve wax to create our castings – which are all done here in Chicago.”
Another reason why Sophia Forero has always been fascinated by different cultures is that her parents are both from Greece – her mother from Patra and her father from Thessaloniki. “I loved America because I was raised here, but I also loved Greece because of the beauty, the love of life – I wanted to understand both cultures, and I had a unique perspective on that, since I got to know both so intimately.” Sophia lives in USA but she never forgets her Greek roots, like Greek traditional dances. Furthermore she tells us something really interesting: “The music ALWAYS made me feel closer to my homeland – so I would listen to Haris Alexiou and Hadzidakis, then switch to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd- this was really my life growing up so the truth is I felt a tiny bit out of place in both”.
Sophia Forero is a person that loves fashion. She admires Coco Chanel for her tenacity, Miuccia Prada for creating a brand that mixes fine art with fashion and she loves the retailer that she had worked with in Houston, Lisa Spain. She has created a beautiful store, where clients feel like family when they walk in, and she admires David Yurman for making a jewelry brand go global on such an amazing scale.
We asked her about her jewelry and the women that wear them: “Any type of woman that wants to be different, to feel beautiful and wants to wear something that was created with passion – my collectors are ones that love my story- how I came to follow my dream. I love that”.
Her future plans include a new collection of jewelry, and her participation in a program put on by Goldman Sachs, called 10,000 small businesses.
You can find her beautiful pieces in stores in the US, including Macy’s. They do shows in Bloomingdale’s in NYC about 4 times a year – and of course online at www.sophiaforero.com.