Allow us to introduce nine artists and designers who use everything from acrylic paint to their own bodies in the service of pushing the boundaries of beauty. Their creations offer resistance, innovation, delirious escape—and in an age of “alternative facts,” we need it all. These are the New Creatives.
Kerin Rose Gold has never had a taste for subtlety. Even if she were stripped bare, it would be impossible to ignore the tangerine locks that have become her personal trademark. Indeed, Gold, like her eyewear and accessories brand, A-Morir, has always thrived on embracing the bold and the unconventional. The native New Yorker muses on a moment from her teen years: “I remember fully embellishing a 1990s winter Olympics bootleg T-shirt,” she says with a slight grin, “with the reasoning of ‘Who would ever do this?’ ”
I wanted something that didn’t look like everything else. Practicality doesn’t apply to aesthetic.
Gold graduated from NYU with a pop culture history degree that linked her loves of art, music and fashion. She formed A-Morir in 2009, infusing the world of true couture and bespoke manufacturing with her innate vibrance. To call her signature collections “eyewear” would be to commit a gross understatement: “Face art” would be closer to the mark. From oversize shields covered in black studs to lenses meticulously hand-embellished with Swarovski crystals, they’re both attention grabbing and functional. Gold insists her pieces are meant for everyday wear.
Her celebrity clientele includes Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga; her accessories range from a patch-festooned denim vest for A-Trak to a crystal mouth guard for Teyana Taylor. And Vogue Italia has praised her as the “favorite [eyewear] brand of American stars.” Ultimately, though, Gold designs for herself and for everyone who shares a passion for what she calls “fuck-you glamour.”
How did you get started and how did you find the path to your current visual point of view?
Like a lot of professional creatives, I’ve always been this way. Non-traditional creative expression has always been part of my makeup. Not having a term for it then, I used to use my wardrobe as a method of “confrontational dressing” starting in my early teens. After college, I got back into doing art for fun and myself again. I started working at the Patricia Field boutique in New York, and one day I wore the glasses I made to work and the buyers lost their shit over them and told me to make some to sell at the store. It took me by surprise. Clearly there was a need for something exciting in the eyewear field because every time I put new pieces in the shop they sold really quickly. And then I started selling to people like Katy Perry and Rihanna, and then I began working with Rihanna and Lady Gaga pretty frequently. I still didn’t know dick about “producing a collection” or a “linesheet" or the “fashion calendar" or “market week.” I joined a high-end showroom for young designers and a few years ago brought my sales in-house. The studio began getting commissions from stylists who realized that I could do more than eyewear, so I launched #amorirprojects for all of the studio’s custom work. I now design two demi-couture collections a year, with the frames handmade to order on Prince Edward Island, with all of the embellishments done in the A-Morir studio.
You were quite ill at one point and have been quite vocal about it—how did you find the positive during that time in your life?
I was dealing with a very severe case of ulcerative colitis that I was diagnosed with when I was 16. I went into remission when I was 25 and had a very expected post-traumatic episode, which lead to me losing my job the day I went into quit and then taking some much-needed time to live a healthy, normal life for the first time in nearly a decade. I enjoyed really basic privileges—going out, eating food, crashing at friends’ houses when it was too late to take the subway home. I also got into graduate school for costuming history and had a year to dick around before that program started, which meant I had time to get back into art, which lead to me crystalizing sunglasses for fun one night.
How would you describe your line’s current aesthetic? There’s obviously an underlying current of the ostentatious, but to what end?
One question/comment that I loathe is "Where would you wear that?” or “I have no place to wear this.” So many people have “special occasion” items in their wardrobe that they spend all of this money on and wear a handful of times over the course of its time in their home. With my eyewear, I started off making something new, different and exciting, because when I needed to replace my one pair of eyewear, everything I saw was so boring. I wanted something that didn’t look like everything else. I like to make spectacular sunglasses that you can wear every day and everywhere. Practicality doesn’t apply to aesthetic. I can understand not wanting to wear stilettos to run errands—that might not be effective. But beautiful sunglasses are as practical as ugly ones.
Do you think it’s a fear of drawing attention to oneself?
People are afraid to confront what they see around them, especially in what they wear. I think it’s more about being perceived as “other.”
Otherness can be very uncomfortable, although I enjoy my otherness.
I, too, enjoy my otherness. The world can be very mean. And a lot of people don’t have good self-esteem, and you can subconsciously search for acceptance in your appearance. That’s a huge reason that trends exist. But at the same time, I’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t put on a pair of A-Morir sunglasses, look in the mirror and feel fucking fabulous. How I exist is as authentic to myself as can be. Some shit I love is super left field, but I’m also a girl from the north shore of Long Island, and have some basic-bitch tendencies. I’ll never deny those basic quirks to be more “weird” or “artistic” or “other,” because that’s not going to make me happy. And at the end of the day, I just want to be happy, and feel good about myself, and make things that make other people happy and feel good about themselves.
Do you consider the idea of beauty when creating your pieces? What’s your relationship with that word?
Beauty is so subjective. I think of beauty when I think about the materials used to create the pieces: beautiful acetate, beautiful lenses, beautiful crystals, beautiful pearls. I think about beauty when it comes to the quality of the work. When I design, I’m thinking more about “fuck you” glamour, and luxury, and “when you put this on do you feel amazing? Do you look amazing?” And also how I want to serve women, and how I want to serve myself with the work I create. My autumn 2017 collection, for instance, was very hard to design, because the world is going to shit, and in the scheme of things what I do is very unimportant. So it took me a long time to get things going. But once I did I realized that I wanted the collection to feel like something that could go with a white spa bathrobe and towel turban—what kind of glasses could you wear at a spa, in the sauna? Because we all need to take care of ourselves; especially now.
How do you personally define beauty, then?
Beauty is more of a feeling. One thing that happened when I was sick is that my concept of beauty was flipped around. When I was super sick, and this close to being hospitalized, I looked amazing. My body was bangin’. I had the ever-coveted thigh gap. And I remember feeling hideous. When I went into remission, I quickly gained 30 pounds of cupcake weight (I lived around the corner from Magnolia Bakery—it was all cupcakes), and I was happy and felt beautiful, which is contrary to everything we’re taught as women. Beauty is really personal. It’s visceral. It’s unique to each one of us based on our culture, our upbringing, our personal thoughts and beliefs, our fetishes, whatever.