Designer Spotlight: Smith And Mara

Meet Sara Smith and Mara Rothbart, the incredibly chic jewelry Designer duo, Los Angeles based, behind their namesake label Smith + Mara.

I like to think of myself as a creative instinctual shopper, what I mean is, there are sporadic moments when I draw up my ideal masterpiece in my mind of whatever the item may be, and then venture into this world-wide quest to look for this item. And thankgod for the web, the searches have gotten a whole lot easier. I can name a couple of items that I own, where I physically and purposely travelled to another Country to source what I was looking for. My husband actually dubbed it the “Christopher Columbus Effect” – and when I get into this ‘CCE’ zone, there is no stopping me. What’s great is that I get to discover new brands and their designs, and it just makes you realize that there are so many inspirations out there.

So about 2 weeks ago, I was on mission, I wanted to update my jewelry with some sleek and modern designs and shapes. I was quite honestly getting sick of what was already out there, you can only do so many evil eye, nails like the “juste un clou” of Cartier, and stud renditions! So I started perusing the web, and you know that once you start, it is like a never ending vortex of windows after windows opened in new tabs, one after another!

But 5 days in, and  15 cups of coffees (that is 3 per day) later, I landed back on shopbop’s page. I was there on day 1 but their filter category turned me off, and I was in no mood to go page by page (and this could have been because it was closet to midnight when I got this brilliant idea of mine) – nonetheless I had returned, and 5 days in I was determined as ever, and low and behold. Smith + Mara‘s straight gold bar earring was my calling. It was exactly what I had drew up in my head, backing and all, down to a tee. I didn’t even hesitate. My long and wanderous search was now over. But this quickly made me curious of the designer(s), so obviously I googled to learn more about the designers and their entire collection.

So allow me to introduce the two beautiful minds behind the jewelry label Smith + Mara on today’s Friday Feature; 10 interesting facts that I learned over our mini Q&A session with Mara and Sara;

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MsYL: Can you share a little about who is/are behind Smith + Mara? Age, where you were born and raised, currently based out-of, and what made you get into jewelry designing?
Mara: “I was born in Newport Beach and grew up in Orange County, CA. Our company is based out of Los Angeles and all pieces are produced from there. I come from a family of jewelers (4th generation) and have always designed and worked in the industry in some form or another. It has always been a dream of mine to start a fine jewelry line.”
Sara: “I’m 31 and was born and raised in LA. I’ve always had an admiration and eye for design. When I was 16 I started a line of beaded bracelets and sold to local boutiques around Los Angeles. I had no formal design training, but my personal style and aesthetic got the attention at InStyle, where I landed my first internship in fashion while attending the University of Southern California for my BA in Communications. Post college I focused on sales and marketing in the textile industry. Jewelry design was always a constant in my life no matter where my professional career took me.”

MsYL: Where do you get your inspirations from?
Mara & Sara: “We both design and get our inspiration from what we would like to wear that may not be out in the market. We look to nature, geographic shapes and clean lines to design our pieces. We are constantly sending each other new ideas and drawings or things we have found that we think would be great for our line. The line is shaped not only by what our close circle of friends and peers would want to wear, but by the desire to play up a woman’s natural features. We don’t believe that jewelry should make the woman, but that the woman should make the jewelry. That’s why everything we create, while unique and elegant, is feminine and fashion-forward.”

MsYL: How would you describe the person shopping Smith & Mara?
Mara & Sara: “We would describe the “SMITH+MARA” girl as a cool, confident trend-setter whose style is understated with an edge. She is fashionable, chic, smart, and not overly girly. We are “T-shirt and jeans” girls and are pretty casual everyday. Our girl isn’t crazy fancy, but likes to have nice everyday pieces that she never wants to take off.”

MsYL: Who are your current or all-time favourite Designer(s) and why?
Mara: “I am pretty simple and like to mix up my designers. I love Alexander Wang right now, Rag and Bone jeans are the only jeans that fit me well, Chloe, and Helmut Lang.” 
Sara: I’m currently having a love affair with Isabel Marant.” :-)

MsYL: I love the simple minimalistic designs behind your pieces, what is the story behind that decision and its geometry?
Mara & Sara: “The designs are simple and comfortable, with little hints of gold and diamonds, nothing overpowering and perfect for everyday. Neither of us are flashy people, we are both jeans and T-shirts girls who really use jewelry as a way to express our personal style. We both love simple pieces that make a statement – the line is really a reflection of the both of us. The way the earrings curve up the ear are comfortable, our necklaces fall right at the collarbone, which is the sexiest part of the body.”

MsYL: How would you describe your local style scene, and does that make or cramp your style? If not the local scene, what other Cities/Countries inspire your own personal style and why?
Mara: “I think living in Southern California definitely affects our style. We are simple and easy going and I think that is why we have done so well. Our jewelry is meant to be worn by the woman and not the other way around. I think most people appreciate that overall. We have a large international following so I think simple style is pretty universal.”
Sara: “Living in LA, you’re surrounded by tons of different people and styles. To me it’s kind of like a melting pot. I’m inspired daily just watching people as I go to get coffee or shop in my local boutiques in West Hollywood”

MsYL: What is next for Smith + Mara?
Mara & Sara: “We roll out new designs as we come up with them. We don’t work in typical seasons. We’re working on a new collection for spring using large stones and minerals which we’ve never done before. We’re really excited about it.”

MsYL: What is one random / interesting fact about each of you?
Mara: “I have a weakness for kittens. I saved one from an animal shelter and found it a good home because I wasn’t able to keep it. It was too cute and sweet to be behind bars for a second longer.” 
Sara: “I’m Jewish, but I am and always have been OBSESSED with Christmas.”

MsYL: Which of the pieces is your personal favorite? And why? (any tips on how you would personally style your favourite piece)
Mara: “It always changes.. I am currently loving mixing and matches the zigzag and triangle earrings in one ear. I have double piercings and they look really cool together.”
Sara: “My favorite pieces are always changing as we grow our collection. I tend to be drawn towards really angular, geometric shapes. Right now, I’m obsessing over our new gold pyramid skimmers. They’re slightly larger than anything we’ve done so far – for me it’s the perfect statement earring without being too “in your face”. The uneven shape of it also keeps it really fresh and edgy.”

solidtriangle
zigzag

MsYL: What kind of shoes & brand are you wearing right now? and the ONE shoe style you just cannot live without.
Mara: “Rag and Bone booties. I could not live without flip flops – i live on the beach.”
Sara: “I am in love with Golden Goose – I love their tennis shoes and their boots. I lived in the tennis shoes during the summer and fall and I live in my Golden Goose boots every winter!”

MYL_SmithandMara_2014Dec

And there you have it, discovering Smith + Mara behind my 5 day quest to simple minimal designs, and it was worth the adventure. Mind you, had I done my due diligence on day 1, I probably would have saved myself the 4 additional days of vortex tunnel syndrome, but that is my lesson learned for next time, and so be it. And this just makes my discovery that much more rewarding! Thank You to Sara and Mara, the lovely ladies behind Smith + Mara for your time!

Visit smithandmara.com to swoon over their amazing work! Or follow them on Instagram for some chic and minimalistic jewelry inspirations.

Thanks for reading!

Yvette xo

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  • Olivia DW.

    LOL! you are so hilarious, the Christopher Columbus effect?? I love the simple designs of those earrings! I will definitely have to check them out! xx

    • lol seriously! CCE he calls it! ahahhaa

  • sostyling_sg

    I love their designs and simple with some flare are so hard to come by. Very interested to see how they will use large stones for their designs next!

    • ikr? the anticipation builds!

  • divanista

    that zigzag earring is beautiful!!! <3

  • Lauren Goodman

    great article! love discovering new labels too! I was going to say I was sort of getting tired of vitafede and evans stuff, some of it are tiring trendy designs with a hefty price tag. their designs and prices seem reasonable too. Great stuff!

    • thanks girl! yes the price being right never hurts!

  • LT

    Your story is hilarious! Love how you built it into the interview, I often feel like bloggers just try to sell and promote but I really enjoy how you incorporate your personal touch to it. They seem very down to earth and the designs are so simple but beautiful. Definitely keeping this on bookmark. ;-)

    • well just to be clear, this was not a sponsored post. I always make the clear distinction when it is and isn’t. I personally bought these items and the interview was something they okay’ed to when I reached out to them :) I thought it would be cool to get to know the designers and their story, because the jewelry is just a piece of jewelry. ;-)

  • fancydaint

    So inspiring! How refreshing with such impeccable simplistic designs & super down to earth! Great find and introduction!

  • Diva JJ

    Personally I find the designs too simple, and I’m not getting what I am paying for. I would rather save alittle extra and splurge on the bigger name because it atleast with holds its value. IDK. But then thinking about your previous post has me slightly torn and has me considering other brands. You got me good @msyolee:disqus !Lol xx

    • lol! so hilarious! catch22 huh! ;-)

  • Diva JJ

    On another note, what is with Cali girls and Golden Goose?! Someone from Cali please explain!

    • can’t help you there! lol

  • Lady B

    I’m all about those zig zag earrings! I have a teeny weeny afro, so statement pieces like that make all the difference!

    • you are like the 10th person to tell me that they love the zigzag and now am starting to see them in a new light lol @_@ must…. re….sist……

  • justanotherfashionblog

    the pyramid looks cool! I like how 3 dimensional it looks!

  • Akaleistar

    Awesome interview and I love their jewelry!

    • thank you so much @akaleistar:disqus I am so happy to have discovered their designs too. :)

  • dothedewS

    wow i love the jewelry designs! that zigzag is everything!

    • the simplicity is what draws me in!

  • isn’t it strange that all the popular jewelry artists are all based out of LA? like Fischer, Love, Fede, etc., and now these ladies. It’s a random but not totally irrelevant observation of mine lol thoughts?

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