We’ve gone mental over Project Madness and their surreal jewelries. This Jakarta based designer trio, Ajeng Dewi Swasitiari, Bonnie Natasha Arif, and Vannie Astecat use their alter-egos and their dark whims to pave way for the colorful collection Madness of Heritage and the mystical We Cast a Spell Upon You. Years later, the trio released their 2011 collection Love/Accident that borrows Frida Kahlo’s tragedies to transform it to a beautiful, dark, unique and wearable art.
two + seven: How did you, Ajeng, Arif and Vannie started the project?
Bonnie Natasha Arif: It started accidentally, when the three of us were longing for an escapade from our daily routines at work. So, on fall 2008 we decided to compile our crafty pieces into one project called Madness.
2+7: For your collection Love / Accident, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s turbulent relationship had influence in the styling and lookbook, did they influence your designs too?
BNA: Yes. But since we’re not using bright color, festive beads, and flowery ornament, maybe you cannot see it clearly. We’re intrigued by Frida’s personality and soul, not by the way she dress up. When you see our collection you can see the melting drips which represent the blood and tears of Frida Kahlo. The material is quite heavy and bold and solid just like Frida’s personality. Her ghost always inspires us, especially for this collection.
2+7: How long did it take you guys to complete the collections? Can your briefly take us through your process, from idealization to execution?
BNA: For this collection we need 4 months to complete everything. From brainstorming and putting the ideas into sketches, then we transform it into three dimensional modeling, and then we cast, polish, and we make the video about our collection.
2+7: What has been the biggest challenge for Project Madness?
BNA: The biggest challenge so far is having a connection with our local customer. They still love flowery and colorful pieces, and many of them are afraid to wear our jewelry.
2+7: Do you plan to expand in other markets? What are your future goals?
BNA: Yes of course. People from around the globe has been contacting us about the jewelry they’re dying to have one. So our goal is to have more and more stockist around the world.
2+7: What piece is the most successful in your collection?
BNA: The Self Portrait Necklace. Suit perfectly on both woman and man’s neck.
2+7: Tell us something about Jakarta’s fashion scene
BNA: The scene is growing right now, just like baby boomers from the sixties.
2+7: Each collection, Love/Accident, We Cast A Spell on You and Madness Heritage have distinct stories, how do you come up with these concepts? Do you start off with creating designs first and then create the stories around the collection?
BNA: Every collection has it own story and we are working based on that story.
2+7: Do you have any favorite materials to work with?
BNA: We have a long term relationship with leather. We’re madly in love with leather from the day we started, until now.
2+7: What kind of jewelry can we always find you wearing?
BNA: Rings and necklace
2+7: Any favorite designers that influenced you?
BNA: I admire Pamela Love, she is a goddess to me
2+7: Describe your alter ego in three words
BNA: Satire, bold, nostalgic