'Turning everyday objects into wearable design items' is the credo guiding Sibyl Cherry Lai, the founder of the Berlin based jewelry label SIBYLAI. Her unique brand philosophy was one of the reasons, why she got selected as the winner of our Go—Fashion pop-up store giveaway.
We met Sibyl on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon to talk a bit about her label, her story and her current pop-up shop at Bikini Berlin.
Who can we find behind Sibylai?
I’m the one person you can find behind Sibylai. Sibylai is a contraction of my first and second names Sibyl and Lai, I just canceled an L.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong until early 2014. I’m a graphic designer and over the past five years, a lot of my work has been focusing on visual identiy. I had a good job in Hong Kong. After I had financed my first visit to Europe in the Netherlands for a design event in 2012, I knew that I should come back and further explore the creative industry in Europe. I finally decided to live in Berlin, not having been in this city prior to that.
How and where did your label originate? Was it born right here in Berlin?
I used to design and create identity for brands, It’s all about adding values to products and brands. Imperceptibly that encouraged me to create and place value also on people – My assertive sense of beauty turns everyday objects into wearable design items.
After having my first year of brief exploration in Berlin, I fell in love with the city and I decided to stay (more precisely, I decided that I wanted to stay). However, as you might have heard of the challenges for a non-eu foreigner to obtain a work permit in Germany - I couldn’t work while I was waiting for my visa. Not having an income for over six month was pretty frustrating. I personally love fashion and jewellery, so I came up with the idea to start creating my own jewellery – At first, I just wanted to create something new and nice to cheer up myself.My friends loved it and started telling me they would like to buy some of my creations. They suggested that I develop my own brand. It was really motivating that I wasn’t the only one liking my work. That’s pretty much how Sibylai was born.
Do you have any guide lines for your own label? Any specific goal or a personal intention standing behind your creations?
I design unisex jewellery, not only for girls. People are creating their identity through little details like accessories, I like to be part of that process with my work. I want to add value and help people to create their own identity. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be the fashion carrying the person, but the person carrying the fashion. I never follow a trend, I don’t care what is considered trendy in 2015, I just wear what represents me. The little details on him or her can help to change an entire look.
How is a piece of Sibylai jewellery created? Can you tell us a bit more about the creative process ?
Simply because my original intention was to design something new for my own, my creations are always from my own aesthetics. I wouldn’t say all of the pieces are the typical ‘Berliner’ style, while lot of my designs are pretty Scandinavian instead - more minimal, sophisticated and delicate. I work with pretty down to earth materials like brass and aluminum. I enjoy to turn these raw and natural materials into aesthetic pieces. I enjoy transforming the materials by combining and giving them a new identity through my creations. I like adding value to the jewellery, as well as giving value to people who wear it. I am doing everything myself, every step of the process, from designing to crafting and all from my home office.
What inspires you and your work?
I don’t think I have any special sources of inspiration. The things I’m creating, are just things I personally like, and which I can’t find on the market. Eventhough I see some really minimal brands on the market like COS, their massive production system removes all the uniqueness from the products. I like their designs, but I want something, that not everyone is wearing. I manufacture everything. I’m designing and crafting every single piece, so each piece is unique. I guess that’s something that inspires me.
Is that your first pop-up experience?
Yes, it’s my first pop-up and I’m really excited about it!
How did you discover Go—PopUp?
I don’t remember exactly, but I think a friend recommended Go—PopUp to me and then I subscribed to your newsletter.
How did you win your spot at Go—Fashion?
I received your email about the contest and decided to give it a try. I read the email and instantly thought that the concept was interesting. I really like the fact that you’re supporting young brands and creative projects. It can be very difficult for new brands, especially in Berlin, where so many creative people are concentrated in one spot. I’m really happy that I was given this chance!
What do you think of the 'pop-up' concept in general?
I think it’s something interesting but also something surprising. A pop-up is always a surprise, you’re always discovering something new. I really like the randomness of pop-ups.
Thank you Sibyl!
Where to find Sibylai
Come meet the lovely Sibyl and check out her unique pieces at her current pop-up store at Go—Fashion!
If you haven't heard of Go—Fashion yet, it is the pop-up fashion trade show taking place from July 5th to July 17th at Bikini Berlin, while the whole city is in its fashion week craze. In case you want to know more about Go—Fashion and all the other attending brands and designers, you can have a closer look here.
Sibylai jewellery is also available at the Konk Store in Berlin and in Sibyl's online shop!
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