INTERVIEW: AKVILE SU
We speak with unisex jewellery designer, maker, part-time model and full-time activist Akvile Su about her minimalist jewellery brand, comparing UK and Lithuanian feminism and her favourite smells..
Tell us about your brand and the concept behind it?
My brand is minimalist, unisex, classic, but modern. Some of my designs are created with the intention of challenging social norms surrounding jewellery: how it is worn, and by whom it is worn. Jewellery is one of those things that are unnecessarily gendered. I think it is a very dated idea to separate adornments into either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. I strive for my jewellery to be for any age, lifestyle or anyone with a strong sense of style and personal aesthetic. Ultimately I just hope my jewellery empowers people in some capacity.
There is quite a strong theme of sexuality in your jewellery collections. What has been the response to that of your customers and followers?
It’s been surprisingly good! People who understand what I am trying to say congratulate me for not being afraid to speak up about social issues through jewellery. People who approach me often love the idea of these little messages I am trying to send via my campaigns, social media and often jewellery itself.
You moved to the UK to study, do you see any differences in gender equality here from back home?
To be honest I do. Personally I think the UK, especially Scotland, is far more progressive in regards to gender equality. I was pleasantly surprised at little things that seem so casual now. Let’s say sharing housework and cooking is pretty common and normal thing here, while back home in Lithuania it’s still assumed to be the ‘duty’ of a woman. Women in many cases are still treated as accessories for men. And we are still often advised to find a good man for our bright future, pressured to have kids early and make a family.
Tell us about some of the females who have inspired you in your personal life and career?
The most inspiring females of my life have been my great grandma, grandma and my mum. They are all strong and very talented women who were true multitasking masters working to develop their careers and also raise children. I am so thankful for all the lessons they have given to me and support and love I receive daily.
What gender equality causes are closest to your heart and why?
I would like to point out that all gender equality causes are very important for me and I believe that there’s time for everything to be discussed and advocated. But at the moment my online presence and conversations with others been mainly about everyday harassment on the street & work. I aim to reflect this in my work through my use of both form and symbols to highlight how the sexualisation of the female body is a subjective, artificial structure that does not reflect it’s organic, innate properties.
What significance do smells have in your life?
Smells play relatively big role in my life. I connect smells with memories, places I have been to, people or home. Familiar smells give me this sense of safety and it can be nostalgic too.
What are your favourite smells and why?
My 2 absolute favourite smells are the smell of wet ground after summer rain and the smell of basement or an old house. It reminds me of my childhood, when I used to play outside all the time and live carelessly. Also one of my favourite activities was to look for ‘treasures’ in my grandma’s attic. She lived in this huge house built in 1800s and believe it or not we actually found the treasure one day. It was gold wedding ring from America hidden away between old junk, I still have it. Maybe one day I will turn it into new piece of jewellery.
Are you a witch or a bitch?
I like to think I’m more of a witch. Back in the day it was strong and forward thinking women who were called witches.
Website – www.akvilesu.com
Instagram – @suakvile