When it comes to sunglasses, Rihanna has an enviable collection. One brand that has a comfortable place in her closet is a-morir. Founded by Kerin Rose Gold in 2008, a-morir is a New York-based line of luxury eyewear that is anything but basic. Kerin is a fiery-haired woman with a killer sense of style who couples the best materials with creative design to construct bold and fun bespoke sunglasses. If you want to make a fashion statement, these are the sunglasses for you.
a-morir‘s embellished shades have been worn by Cara Delevingne, Debbie Harry, the Hilton sisters, Beyoncé and Kesha, just to name a few. You may have also seen the sunglasses in the pages of several stellar publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Vogue and Nylon.
But Kerin’s portfolio isn’t limited to eyewear. Her innovative ideas have manifested in a crystal garter for Rihanna’s Work music video, crystal eyebrows for Lady Gaga and a sparkling, disco ball-inspired suit for Missy Elliot’s WTF (Where They From) video.
Kerin Rose Gold has been described by those who have had the pleasure to meet her as incredibly humble but I also greatly admire her determination. As someone who struggles with health issues, it was very inspiring to read about Gold overcoming a major health crisis and going on to do the things she’s most passionate about. Luckily for us, she took a moment out of her super busy schedule to talk about a-morir, the brand’s place in pop culture and to share some amazing advice.
What motivated you to become an accessories designer?
I was planning on going back to school to get a masters degree and got sidetracked! At the time I kept going because I was making a living. The motivation now comes from what I realize is a deep need to live a creative life in order to survive.
Everything about a-morir is so original, including the name. What’s the meaning behind it?
When I went to Madrid in college I saw an exhibit on Argentinian art at their MOCA. A piece by artist Miguel Angel Rios, called a-morir, and it moved me in such a way that I hadn’t been moved before. I’ve been an artist, and an art observer / appreciator my whole life, but I’m not usually physically moved by works. Combine that with the meaning of the piece, until death, which to me reflects the fact that I want the people who buy my work to have it as a forever keepsake, and I hope that they find it so beautiful and moving that a piece of them dies inside when they see it.
What were you doing before you launched a-morir?
I fell into jobs doing music marketing while in college and found a nieche for myself in the alternative marketing world. I did that for 7 years, and after my remission from Ulcerative Colitis I decided to see what else as out there. I got into a masters program at NYU for costuming history and took a year off of the traditional job market, and somehow got sidetracked with crystals.
a-morir is definitely the go-to brand for unique eyewear. Where do you find inspiration?
Honestly, everywhere. I don’t do research or have a mood board because I want my work to be as unique to me and pure as it can be. I’m inspired a lot by the crafting and design process; by the materials I use, the physical creation of the pieces, and of course by music, art, counterculture, pop culture, and the every day process of living.
Your sunglasses have been worn by legends like Grace Jones and today’s biggest stars like Katy Perry and Rihanna. Did you ever imagine you would have reached this point?
I never thought I’d ever make a living as a designer; I didn’t start making eyewear to sell them, I made them for myself. Going into a creative process thinking about how much you’ll sell or how well it will do taints the process for me. Thankfully, it clicks with fellow creatives who happen to be very, very popular. Eight years in and every time a celebrity wears something for a photo shoot, or a boutique places an order I’m grateful.
Rihanna has been wearing your designs since the Rated R era. How did that come about?
A friend of mine was out wearing my Love/Hate sunglasses, and one of Rihanna’s stylists stopped her and insisted on getting my contact. We met a few weeks later and the rest, as they say, is history.
What’s your favourite style of sunglasses that you have created so far?
This is really tough – every season I make something that excites me. I love the Love/Hate because they were so unique for the time, and have been embedded into pop culture. I love the Barracuda; there was nothing like them before, and there has been nothing like them since. I did a series of lens-less half frames which I’ve still never seen anywhere. I love the tassel and veil pieces I did a few seasons ago. And recently I love the new Cheslow design I made; it’s a really special shape I carved from scratch and developed embellishments for. A true bespoke item.
Some people might think a-morir is too out there for them to try. What would you say to those people?
I’d tell them about my family. My sister and my mother are very different from me sartorially. Both are incredibly chic, but very classic. My sister, a doctor, has a wardrobe that contains a lot of J Crew and Madewell. My mother, who is a nurse manager, wears a lot of chic cardigans with a single strand of pearls, and jeans or slacks. Most of my collection doesn’t work with their wardrobe, sure. But they’ve each found a piece that they love and wear. (My sister wears the Ellington, and my mother got custom prescription sun lenses put in her Tei. And yes, my father proudly rocks the Halfords)
So, no, there isn’t something for everyone there is something for almost everyone. I encourage women to think of sunglasses like they do of bags or shoes. If you see something in my collections that makes you feel excited, powerful, or beautiful, then buy it and wear it every day. Or add it into your rotation. Nothing is stopping you from looking chic as shit but yourself!
And if nothing else ask yourself if Rihanna would wear it. If the answer is yes you’re golden.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
When I was just starting out a more seasoned designer told me to always keep my head down and focus on the work. This has provided to be so useful, especially as social media pressures us to always present our best lives.
Do you have any advice for someone trying to break into the fashion industry?
Be true to yourself and true to your vision. If you want to design don’t look at something and go “I need to do that too” think of what feels like an extension of yourself and actualize that. I accidentally wound up here, partially because I didn’t know how you could work in fashion. There are so many jobs outside of design; sales, e-commerce, programming, graphic design, public relations – see if any of your skill sets align with other elements of the business and go from there.
Visit a-morir’s website to check out more amazing styles and here’s Rihanna in a-morir eyewear through the years:
images courtesy a-morir