Afrodite by MG interview
photography by @dontmoveandsmile
“Stay strong when its storming around you, when another unforeseen problem arises that gives you a week without sleep, just hang in there, face one issue at a time and continue working and improving. It gets better.”
Fashion industry is one of those that are particularly hard and notorious to break into. It’s quite difficult to stand out from the rest when everyone is trying hard to do that.
Young jewellery designer Malin Gulsrud from Afrodite by MG has managed to do so very successfully, and can we say, elegantly. With the clear Greek influence with the bust of Afrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and passion, on every piece, it’s easy to spot an Afrodite by MG piece. With her Nordic roots and Roman experience, she seamlessly combines the minimalist vibes with the Greeko Roman extravagance. The only issue while shopping from Afrodite by MG will be which piece to pick.
We had a pleasure to talk to Malin about her work, inspirations, struggles and what lies ahead for her young brand.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I just turned 30, I live between Oslo, Milan, and Lugano. My lifestyle is quite vibrant and I am constantly on the move between these three cities and other European countries.
Since I do the production in Tuscany and have most part of my network in Milan I always keep one foot in Italy.
I am very lively, enthusiastic, and positive person – qualities I think are extremely important to have when you enter life as an entrepreneur, because although the sun is always shining on Instagram, life truly gives you some lemons when you are running your own business! As for most brand owners, it’s a constant emotional heaven or hell and the emotions span to both extremes very regularly.
Picture of Malin Gulsrud
When did you decide that you wanted to become a jewelry designer?
There has never been a doubt about where my passions lies. I was drawn towards the fashion and jewelry industry from a very young age.
I just knew I had to leave, explore and learn, and as soon as high school finished I set out to discover the world (and myself). The inspirations from the years of studying culture in Rome, working in the jewelry industry, and my fashion studies in Milan at some point got intertwined and Afrodite by MG was born. I started my studies at the culture academy of Rome at the age of 19, did a bachelor’s in culture and language, and studied the fashion industry at Istituto Marangoni in Milan.
How do you mix and balance the Scandinavian minimalist aesthetics and the Greek extravaganza?
The Scandinavian influence is and will always be a part of my identity. I love the Scandinavian ideals of creating timeless, classic, and sustainable pieces to cherish for a long time. And when you look at the Greek heritage it’s also known to have the cleanest and purest of designs although with modern eyes we can perhaps call it more extravagant. My style is certainly also formed by several years of living in southern Europe where colors are a much greater part of our lifestyle, both in nature and in fashion versus in the northern countries.
Picture: Hanna Bolstad in black and Oda Victoria Reitan in the white suite
How did the collaboration with Oda Victoria Reitan happen? Could you tell us about it?
Oda and I have collaborated since the launch of the brand. Oda has been very important for me in the process of launching the brand both in terms of collaborations for example she designed the brand logo, but also as a constant sparring partner. We have both been two young female entrepreneurs trying to build a brand in a competitive industry, she as an artist and myself in fashion, and then it has been more than amazing to have someone to always share ideas with, get feedback from, and to cry and laugh with.
The two sparring partners: Malin Gulsrud and Oda Victoria Reitan
Since how long have you been in the business and what is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
Wow, it’s been many lessons on the way! Which one to choose? I have learned more in these three years of being a brand owner than in any other experience in my life. It has made me grow extensively. The biggest lesson I have learned is to stay strong when it’s storming around you. When a production goes to hell or when an other unforeseen problem arises. That gives you a week without sleep, Just hang in there, face one issue at a time and continue working and improving. It gets better.
Mood: Afrodite by MG
Fashion is a very competitive field and it can be really hard to stand out. What have been the key factors for your success?
I think we are in a time where many are trying to avoid purchasing fast fashion. And mass-market products for two reasons – they want to show their individual style and identity. As well as support brands with a sustainable business model. Afrodite by MG has all the production done in Italy and from time to time. We show our followers behind the scenes from the factory where they can see the good working conditions. And excellence in craftsmanship. Afrodite by MG also has a very unique design – the jewelry is elegant. Yet a statement and you can easily recognize the brand if you know it. The bust of Afrodite is used as our signature in all the pieces. It’s very much in line with the quiet luxury aesthetics.
What is your creative process for every piece or collection that you make?
I take inspiration from art, films, literature, and travel. But sometimes even a vibrating, interesting, and exuberant person can give me the inspiration to create a new piece.
Sara Pezekj and Malin Gulsrud
“The Woman in Gold” ring and the Narcissus bracelet.
Who would you love to see wearing your jewelry and why?
I am a bit nostalgic when it comes to fashion icons. I would have loved to have seen it on Brigitte Bardot on a summer day in Capri in the 60s. Dangling in Bianca Jaggers’ ears while she was dancing all night at Studio 54 in the 70s, a bracelet on Jane Birkin’s wrist when she was roaming with her iconic basket bags. A confident modern-day woman with lots of attitude, lust for life, personal style.
Do you have a favorite piece that you always wear or love the most among your creations?
Absolutely, I am currently obsessed with the Alessandra earrings for a night out. “The Woman in Gold” ring is usually always on my finger. I love the Narcissus bracelet for everyday use as I think it goes nicely with my watch, the Afrodite ring. But I have the privilege to possess all the designs so I am always trying to style different pieces with different outfits.
The Alessandra earrings
What lies ahead for Afrodite by MG?
Ooooh, I am happy you asked! We have a pop-up opening in Brera Milan starting from May 28-June 11th! It will be this summer’s most vibrant pop-up and it’s collaboration with Afrodite by MG and artist Oda Victoria Reitan! We will present new designs and works of Jewelry and Fine Art! Hope you will stop by!