Words by Jennifer Wang
When Adrienne Alaimo began to experiment with jewelry creation, she dove headfirst into the medium and knew she would want to start her own line one day. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Adrienne was an active child, raised by creative parents who encouraged her imagination. She began her fashion design studies at Parsons in 2002 and eventually moved to London to attend Central Saint Martins, where she graduated with a degree in sweater design in 2006. While working at Ralph Lauren, she began to take jewelry courses in her spare time, which ultimately drove her to contemplate her own line - AEA Jewelry.
Officially launched in 2012, the line features strong architectural pieces in varying configurations often referred to as "monuments for the body." The designs come in different metals and finishes to suit each individual wearer. Each sculptural piece is meant to be a bold and beautiful complement to the human body.
“I have always designed in shapes, it’s just how my brain is wired. Structure, sculpture, balance, repetition - all things my designs fall back on. I think the medium of jewelry really gave me that outlet to create all the forms I dreamt up in a permanent way.”
When considering how she was able to make AEA a reality, Adrienne credits many years of apprenticing with a master jeweler who took her under his wing, sharing his expertise while training her one on one. She culled much of her knowledge from this experience and the two still work together on AEA samples and production. The line has grown immensely and, as Adrienne says, has become more mature in its identity. Most recently, she launched a collection of 3D printed jewelry - AEA ONE - which is just as cool as it sounds. The line is a natural evolution of the same AEA forms, but using new materials like nylon and 3D printing technology for a futuristic feel. All of her creations are the result of an organic design process through sketching that has served her well over the years. “Stay true to your identity. Your identity as a person and design wise should exist as one in the same really," says Adrienne. “If you have that, the rest is a lot easier. You just live it."
EMERGING DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: ADRIENNE ALAIMO OF AEA JEWELRY
Photos & Interview by Jennifer Wang
Since the inception of her jewelry line, AEA, designer Adrienne Alaimo has been creating timeless architectural pieces that you'll want to keep forever and ever. Molded in a variety of fine metals and gemstones, Adrienne works with select artisans in NYC and personally ensures each piece of jewelry in her collection from beginning to end of production reflects her high standard of quality.
We chatted with the designer in her sunny Williamsburg studio and got some insight into how she produces her signature pieces. Adrienne shares her lofty studio space with Huy Bui, a fellow entrepreneur, designer and artist, and Loops the dog. Most recently, Adrienne showed her new work at their Open Studio and Sale in collaboration with Home Made NYC.
WHAT WERE YOU INSPIRED BY IN THE CREATION OF AEA? HOW HAS YOUR LINE EVOLVED?
I have always designed in shapes, it’s just how my brain is wired. Structure, sculpture, balance, repetition, all things my designs fall back on. I think the medium of jewelry really gave me that outlet to create all the forms I dreamt up in a permanent way. The line has become more mature in its identity. At first it was not really thought out, I just made pieces here and there that I liked without knowing there was such a strong identity to them.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNATURE CHARACTERISTICS OF AEA?
AEA pieces are very architectural, monuments for the body as they have been referred to. They should be something that compliments the body and adds beauty, simply put.
Adrienne completes all the sanding, polishing and finishing of bronze pieces fresh from the casters with various tools in her studio.
Rings set with white enamel and gemstones.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE MATERIALS YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH. WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH 3-D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY?
My favorite material is gold, it just finishes up so nicely. But all the metals have their own beauty that I appreciate and need for different occasions. 3D technology is really amazing, it made so much sense for my style, hand carving such geometric pieces really wasn’t the way to go after a few seasons so I welcomed this advancement.
WHAT'S YOUR DESIGN PROCESS WHEN YOU DEVELOP A COLLECTION?
I usually start with a form that is interesting to me and I keep sketching it out into different evolutions and functions. From there the line just keeps spinning off, a very organic process actually.
YOUR IDEAL DAY IN NYC ALWAYS INCLUDES THESE THREE THINGS:
Breakfast (always), visiting friends, discovering some form of beauty in unique places, which is fairly easy in NY with all its little niches waiting to be discovered.