Launched less than a year ago, Sophie Pacharee Rogers’ brand, Pacharee, started off as a clothing line. The designs of the debut collection had all been finalised, constructed and ready to shoot its lookbook, but something was missing.
“A week before the shoot, when I put all the looks together, it felt incomplete.”
Coming from an established gems and jewellery background—Sophie’s father is pioneering gemologist Gerald Vincent Rogers—it only took the designer a second to realise the line needed accessories.
“Five days before the shoot, I looked through my mum’s magic box of all these stones and pearls she’s collected over the years and found a pair of baroque pearls that caught my eye. When I paired the pearls to the collection, it just blended and brought out a natural elegance in the collection.”
From there, she quickly called up the family goldsmith to fashion the raw pearls into jewellery with gold detailing and on the day of the shoot, only the last 10 minutes were allocated to photographing the jewellery on its own. “It really wasn’t the focus at all,” says the designer. A few weeks later, however, the online community saw differently.
“When it came time to introducing the line on social media, to my suprise, as soon as I posted the jewellery pieces, everyone was asking ‘where can I get this?’”
The impact that her mother’s odd shaped pearls seemed to have on audiences affirmed to Sophie that there was an interest in the market for the kind of subtle elegance she had always been into when it came to adornment. And so began the brand’s shift in focus towards jewellery.
A Natural Philosophie
In terms of branding or design, Sophie didn’t have to make a 360 after the revelation. Her original clothing line was inspired by local, hand woven and natural dyed fabrics. Fashioned into garments with a muted, organic charm, they intentionally praise the origins from which they came. Pacharee's jewellery is unmistakably cut from the same ideals.
“Everything I do needs to expose the origin of where it came from—how it grew and how it developed. I think the approach to my jewellery is very different. I don't go through a design process and then source the stones or pearls. My starting point is the gemstone or pearl’s natural shape.”
Sophie elaborates on the process of creating her natural pieces: “When I went to the pearl market here, I saw a strand that was tucked in the back. It was a line of flat Biwa pearls and I thought to myself, ‘how come no one’s doing anything with this?’” Identifying the kinds of pearls or stones she wanted to work with was the easy part. The next step of pairing these asymmetrical wonders into wearable pieces is a process that's not just painstaking but so personal Sophie has to go about it alone.
“Because I’m working with these natural shapes, typically in three hours, I’ll get 10 pairs. It’s such a personal process. I’ve had my mother pair them and my assistant pair them, and it just was never right. It’s hard to explain. You just can’t educate how you feel.”
The Weight Of Influence
Speaking to someone who is evidently so passionate and intuitive when it comes to jewellery, it can be hard to believe that before Pacharee, Sophie had no intention to work in design and especially not jewellery design. In fact, she actively rejected the idea.
“When you grow up with certain background and see your parents doing something, you just don’t want to do it. It’s like a natural defense mechanism; it's automatically not cool if your parents are doing it.”
Deliberately turning away from her father’s line of work, Sophie pursued a career in marketing and advertising. But every now and then, she would find herself flirting with the familiar.
“While I was working in New York, I went to the GIA [Gemological Institute of America], just to take a week’s course of jewellery design. I don’t know why I did that. It was just a bit random, and as soon as I finished it, I went right back to my work in advertising. There was always this force that said no, pushing me away from my roots and yet there was also always something pulling me back to it.”
Fast forward to today, not only is Sophie fully invested in jewellery design, she is realising more and more that she is her father’s daughter.
“What's really interesting is I recently called up the stone cutter we used to use as a family, because I struggle to get people in the industry to understand what I'm trying to do—that I don’t want a diamond, I don’t want an emerald cut. I told him about my frustrations and what I wanted, and he responded, ‘What you’ve just described is what your dad did 40 years ago.’”
"There was always this force that said no, pushing me away from my roots and yet there was also always something pulling me back to it.”
“I think in the back of my head all my creations and my beliefs in my own collection were influenced from what I saw as a child. I have such clear visual memories of my dad collecting these really rough and rare gemstones. We never really stocked well-rounded pearls or faceted stones. We didn’t ever deal with diamonds, at all. As a child I remember putting my hands through the rough and just playing with it, thinking that it was like beautiful pebbles.”
Pacharee, Present And Future
Having hosted an immensely successful launch in Bangkok for her jewellery early this year, Pacharee will soon be launching an exclusive collection for premier retailers in New York and London, as well as one of the largest e-commerce platforms. As for the direction of Pacharee, whether the brand is going to shift completely into jewellery, Sophie responds, “My intention this year is to really focus on the jewellery line. Once that’s established, I will definitely revisit the clothing line again because that’s still my passion. They’re both my passion. The point I’m trying to make is when something feels this natural to you, you know you’re in your element.”
See more at pacharee.com.