The Medley Institute is a jewelry line founded in 2010 by Jana Patz. She is based in Berlin.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name is Jana Patz, and I am a trained fashion designer. I founded The Medley Institute due to my longing to bring together interdisciplinary approaches in the context of fashion. I am constantly working on new propositions for wearable objects. The Medley Institute offers new definitions of jewelry, stripped of any ornamentation.
Additionally, I teach Fashion Design at the University of Arts Berlin for seven years now. It is an amazing contrast in work and at the same time a great opportunity to share my experience and constantly search for new perspectives.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Currently we are wrapping up the Edition IX for AW 14/15 which will be delivered at the end of August. Everything is produced in Germany. We want to be able to survey the process at any phase of production.
At the same time, we are already working on the a new edition which will be presented in Paris at the end of September.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? Netflix is not available in Germany yet. And with the workload building up—before the whole fashion industry goes on leave in August—I’m only dreaming of quiet movie nights right now. But I’m fine with that. Life is exciting as it is.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other designers are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? If you want to stay true to your principles and find a niche that isn’t overcrowded yet, you have to be involved in every part of the process personally. That is exhausting and can be quite overwhelming sometimes. But I think it is the only way. The market is undergoing a huge transition. A key value of success will be to make the attitude and values of your brand as clear as possible. That is why you want to stay flexible and keep the communication chains neat and short. It’s a chance to excel.
If you had one wish what would it be? I’d wish for a greater sensibility towards manufacturing conditions of consumer products.
How has living in Berlin affected your practice? I’d say that my design process is not influenced by wherever I am located. It’s more about a fundamental search for objects and the interaction of the body and external shapes. But I do love Berlin, the contrast between the metropolis and its very green and natural surrounding. And I really enjoy the ease and nonchalance which is transferred to Berlin by all those people who come to live here and make their visions come true.
If you had to explain your work or brand to a stranger, what would you say? If you are looking for the one piece of jewelry that will complement your pure and modern outfit, The Medley Institute is the right choice for you. Free of decoration my design is still very much about my love for details.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I love to play around with materials that are uncommon for fashion. But for the last collections I started with geometric shapes and worked on possibilities to bring them to the body in an uncommon way. To complete that process in a clear and understandable manner, I limited the material choices to different finishes of 925 sterling silver: 24k gold, rosé and pure silver.
How has your work developed within the past year? My design became more focused. Like many other designers, I do have the vision to create something long lasting, something with value, a timeless and pure language. And I try to be a little more outgoing about what I do.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? The same thing that is sometimes so annoying about it: there is so much space! In terms of big cities, it’s the great wide open. I grew up in Berlin and although I was born here, I still discover new and amazing places nearly every day. New ideas, projects and spaces are created from nothing constantly. I really hope that this will never change.
What are your thoughts about the fashion scene in Berlin? It’s very diverse. It hasn’t found a consistent voice yet. And maybe it never will and maybe that’s a good thing.
What is your snack/beverage of choice when working in your studio? Cherries and black tea with milk.
What do you do when you’re not working on fashion? I regularly go on short trips to the countryside with family and friends.
What is your ideal studio situation/workspace? Calm, although there is always music, serene and light.