LaMer wrap watches March 2, 2012

 Interview with La Mer designer and South Africa enthusiast, Martine Ilana:
What originally inspired you to start the collection? Have you always had a talent for design or did it just happen?

I founded La Mer Collections (its translation is ‘The Ocean or Water’ Collections in French) after taking a year off of my design studies to travel overseas to Africa and Asia. I was so inspired by my time away that when I returned home, I chose to create an independent three dimensional design project while finishing my design degree, in order to examine watch-strap constructions. 
One thing led to another and I began selling my watch designs in local contemporary Boutiques. This experience helped me land my first design job at a timepiece manufacturing company in New York City. I slowly moved west across the United States and decided to educate myself further in the fashion and product design field. With each job I took, I would directly apply what I learned during the day to La Mer Collections’ in the evenings in order to expand and turn La Mer collections in to the self-sustaining timepiece design company it is today. 

What were your original intentions for the brand? Did you expect the pieces to be so popular?

My original intentions were to create really unique watch-strap constructions with bright colors and textures – at the time I could only find simple watch straps made of brown or black leather. 
I specifically chose to pursue accessories’ design so that a customer would never have to worry about an item not fitting them correctly and having any ‘body conscious’ issues. I had no idea they would be so popular!

How would you describe a typical wearer of the La Mer watches?
I don’t believe that there is one type of La Mer Collections’ customer as we have so many different styles to choose from.  
They are definitely fashion conscious but like to wear unique and custom items that have some sort of history or story behind them. La Mer Collections’ customers have a great appreciation for color, design and travel.

what does fashion mean to you? Do you try to follow trends with La Mer, or do you aim to start your own?

Fashion to me is founded on confidence along with  the idea of how one wants to express themselves through the items that they wear. When it comes to La Mer Collections, I try to stay fresh on trends, but not too focused on them. 
I try to design items that are unique and wearable so that they are never out dated.