NO.NA.MÉ's Modular Jewellery Defies Established Norms Of Style & Gender


As the final accents, accessories hold the power to transform an ensemble. For people whose style is individualistic and defies established ideas of gender and beauty, there is a need for accessories in the market that speak to all this and offer room for experimentation. No Name Makings or ‘NO.NA.MÉ’ creates bold modular jewellery that is gender-neutral and open to interpretation. In keeping with this, the pieces are inspired by basic geometry and clean lines, and offer the possibility to be reconfigured to suit one's personal preference.  

Smruti Mathisekaran, the founder and principal designer of NO.NA.MÉ, is a civil engineer who has a deep love for design. But the pieces from NO.NA.MÉ also draws from her engineering background. While living and working in Mumbai at furniture design studios, Smruti started thinking of starting something of her own. While building furniture in a typical Mumbai home space was a challenge, jewellery was a lot easier to create and store, as well. As an introvert, Smruti also wanted to design pieces that spoke for itself, instead of her having to work hard to market them. This is how she started creating wearable designs. 

Usually, when one talks about jewellery, the conversation turns to artisans and history. NO.NA.MÉ however, creates pieces that are machine built and contemporary. While the leather that is used in the designs is handcrafted, most of the other pieces are all machine built. Smruti says that it is better to say that the pieces from NO.NA.MÉ are engineered, rather than crafted. This is befitting since each piece is multi-configurable, or modular. 

The idea of modularity stemmed from her wanting to create objects that can become more than one thing. In their brand manifesto, Smruti mentions, “Through NO.NA.MÉ’s design concepts, I try to create objects that can become more than one thing with the idea that if we achieve ‘more’ from less then, it is in the right direction at slowing down consumerism.” This is reflected in how the pieces across the brand’s collection feature a fixed number of elements that when used in different combinations creates varying designs. Even when coming up with a name for the brand, she wanted to create something open to interpretation — No Name Makings, which became NO.NA.MÉ.

Over the years, Smruti has tried out pop-up shops and varying other ways to position the brand but has realised that the brand holds a niche but dedicated patrons for the brand. They have male customers saying that their purchase from the brand is their first piece of jewellery. Over the course of her journey with NO.NA.MÉ, Smruti has entered the brand into varying design competitions and walked away with reputed accolades to their name. NO.NA.MÉ was the winner of India's best project award from IBDA in 2020 and 2021. It also won the Lexus Design Award in 2022 in the Lifestyle Accessory Category. Most recently it won the Elle Design Graduate awards as well. 

While the brand is still primarily Smruti’s individual efforts, she started working with Gehana R. Doshi, a designer who approached Smruti for an internship. While the brand was too small at the time to employ or stipend her, Gehana started working with NO.NA.MÉ for design credits. Today she is a designer and partner of the brand, working towards creating designs that can balance the beautiful and the bizarre. Smruti also credits the wonderful people who’ve shown interest in working with her and NO.NA.MÉ for their vision and work — from interns who’ve worked on minimal remuneration to vendors who provide components and essential items in smaller quantities. 

In speaking about the biggest challenges that they’ve had to face, Smruti spoke about how acquiring the right materials, especially now that she is back in her hometown of Tirunelveli, has been difficult. Since the varying components are from different vendors and go through multiple processes, it is harder to coordinate and keep track. In working towards scaling the brand, she hopes to find a single studio or unit where she can build and finish her pieces.

But in the grander scheme of things, Smruti holds hope for NO.NA.MÉ becoming a lifestyle brand — one that seamlessly blends into various aspects of one’s life. She is currently working on creating tabletop sculptures that feature wearable elements that can be worn, and interpreted in varying ways. Perhaps her big dream is as simple as the closing statement on the brand's About Us statement.

"NO.NA.MÉ hopes to be a design label that can inspire a lifestyle, and whose expression and evolution can command a unique identity."

You can follow NO.NA.MÉ here.

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