Every wardrobe should bear a Brazilian Carnaval vibe all year round. In terms of “feel-good-levels”. A celebration of fun-loving fashion and banging bodies through a parade of dancing sequins, feathers and colors; everything about it screams “Over The Top”. Now, I’m not saying you should go out and buy your Cap’n Crunch wearing Carmen Miranda headgear, but come to think of it… When it comes to fashion: Why don’t we color outside the lines more often?
“I enjoy finding inspiration in the simple and ordinary things in life and, through my final designs, show they too can be beautiful. This just makes everyday life more special and exciting!” Fernanda Sung.
Perhaps it’s that false sense of self-deprication-slash-modesty installed upon us by society – so very overrated. Anyhoo, add to the above those brightly burning spotlights of the fast-approaching Rio Olympics and it becomes high time for Temper to feature a Brazilian babe, i.e. a senhora Fernanda Sung and her eponymous jewelry brand. Feathers and boas aside, on the opposite end of that OTT spectrum, we find Sung’s accessory designs: Sleek, stylish, streamlined — with a much-appreciated detour.
“ I may put the focus on daily life for the moment, but it will definitely be nice to dig into the culture of a specific Chinese minority or art form for future collections.” Fernanda Sung.
Samba With Sung
With the Conga line skipping through Shanghai. Sung majored in Jewelry and Accessories Design and first started work on her own brand in her hometown of São Paulo. Always crafty and interested in arts and design, making jewelry was the logical extension into professional adulthood. Sung originally moved to Shanghai to study Chinese and get in touch with Chinese culture, given her mother was in fact born in Taiwan. It was the call of nature, i.e. the family tree roots. Four years went by and after studying for a bit and doing some run-of-the-mill office work, a senhora decided it was high time to get back to her crafty passions and start working on her very own brand in China. Shanghai offered her the possibilities of doing things at her own pace and in her truest individual sense. The brand’s core embraces the thought of creating more emotional and engaging jewelry. This line of thinking runs through all of Sung’s collections: From the way creation kicks off, to the bond her clients will forge with each piece they wear.
Much of Sung’s inspiration stems from (re)occurring tidbits in her daily life. Her latest collection, for example, finds its roots in Shanghai’s Art Deco architecture, something she takes in on her every day roamings across the Delta Pearl. Information comes in, inspiration sambas through and new collections parade around – though the rhythm of this creative process might be a beat or two slower than that seemingly portrayed here. Sung takes the simple and ordinary things in life and, like the Fairy Godmother, manages to show they too can be beautiful. Her craft turns the ordinary into extraordinary. Currently residing in China, Chinese culture obviously has a massive influence on Sung’s current designs. Another example showcasing the use of quotidian elements in her designs, is the wonderful WINDOW collection: One mighty fine mix of Chinese culture and the art of jewelry-making. Take a sneak peek at a sliver of Sung’s collections below:
Rock, Silver, Paper.
Silhouette wise, the style of Sung may be called “graphic”. A long-term admiration of printing types (silkscreen, wood-cut, etc.), paper-cutting and pattern making naturally finds itself boldly reflected in her jewelry.
The mostly marked materials are silver and the occasional gold. Beautiful with many different finishing possibilities, both of these can actually last forever as long as they’re taken good care of — and should your marriage break up/you get bored/ insert random reason, it’s always possible to melt them down into new pieces. Sung aims to create a more conscious consumption with her brand, therefore her collections propose pieces that are simple enough to be worn frequently, but with an elaborate backstory.
“People have to know they’re wearing something special, as opposed to merely following a specific mainstream trend that will fade with time,” as Sung puts it — better than I ever could. Trying out new design concepts, like the Shanghai Art Deco collection made up of modular pieces that can turn into many different styles, leaves people with a fuller platter of options as well as ways to engage with their jewelry. They themselves can now create new pieces.
Sung doesn’t shy away from experimenting with new materials and techniques, either. Her Paper Jewelry collection showcases pieces made from recycled paper and soy based ink from Paper Tiger Shanghai. Instead of being a final product that people can buy, Sung set up a workshop to teach people how to make their own jewelry. The underlying idea here is to empower people and get them to be handcraftier, if you will. On a sustainable note, then: As the paper is recycled and recyclable, you can make as many pieces as you want and don’t have to worry too much about wasting away.
“I’d say my brand is more emotional than trendy. The goal is to inspire people to engage and interact more not only with jewelry, but with life.” Fernanda Sung.
E boa… pra caramba!
Pardon my Portuguese, but Sung is samba-ing along mighty fine indeed! Very much like China’s burgeoning fashion and design scene in the 2010s, with the nation’s fashion-addicts raising up new platforms and “rules” different from any other place in the world, it is worth to note that Brazil went through a similar experience in the 2000s. Sung certainly has always had location on her side. China’s current redefining of its identity and aiming to strike a balance between Western influence traditional culture leaves much room for experimenting, questioning and creativity. The dream of every designer, including our lovely caipirinha of the day here.
Given the Sung staple is one more emotional than trendy, the goal is to inspire people to engage and interact more not only with jewelry, but with life overall. Ergo, evolving in a general lifestyle direction might be on the cards, with hopefully not just new jewelry designs, but new experiences to come and global visions to boot. Like the Olympics, the future looms. New collections, new workshops, new experiments, new materials, new techniques… The Sung studio can only expand. As the old Chinese saying goes: “All the past died yesterday; the future is born today.”
Scoffs may arise at the thought of doing anything at the Southern American pace, but as they say in Brazil: Haste is the mother of imperfection. It takes time to create timeless pieces — spot the irony. But once you do… The proof’s in the brigadeiro, I’d say. Just take a note from Sergio Mendes’ definitely more than nothing “Timeless” album; it swings on outside the lines forever.
Photos: Fernanda Sung.