Layla Alter, Jewelry Designer & Founder
Layla Alter is first generation American to Israeli parents, born and raised in NYC. She founded her jewelry brand - Alterita in 2015 which can be found at Cafe Forgot, Opening Ceremony & Lisa Says Gah. Her designs are playful and organic, featuring handmade glass charms made at Brooklyn Glass Studio along with handmade silver charms that incorporate pieces of melted sea glass that she found on the shores of Fire Island and Rockaway.
Aside from jewelry, she is recently applied to get a Masters in Social Work. She also co-created a cookbook with her best friend that features 200 recipes and drawings from an extended community around NYC and London - called The Quarantine Cookbook. All proceeds go to the LES community fridge! It can be purchased at thequarantine-cookbook.com <3.
2. Where do you look to for design inspiration on a daily basis?
I’ve been doing a lot of internal work this past year trying to confront myself, and as a sort of cathartic practice, I’ve been trying to channel whatever it is I discover in the dark depths of my mind into new designs. So lots of broken hearts, devil hearts, clits etc...
I also recently purchased 20 vintage erotic magazines from the 60's from this store upstate. Aside from all the bush inspo my most recent butterfly design was inspired by a pornstar's necklace in a Playboy mag from 1965 <3
3. What is your dream collaboration?
There are many designers & photographers I would love to collaborate with but I have so many talented special creative friends and have always dreamt of being able to collaborate with them all at some capacity.
4. What is your favorite part of your daily routine?
Hmmm, I love my mornings. I try to be very intentional about how I start my days. I wake up reallllly early and have gotten into the habit of reading my book first thing instead of going on my phone. After eating a medley of eggs, olives, feta and tomatoes/listening to news podcasts, I meditate. If you start your day being intentional about being in a healthy mindset across the board, how you’re going to take care of your body, practice compassion and are deliberate about who/what you spend your precious energy on, nothing/nobody can fuck with you.
4. If you could pick a theme song to describe where your life is at right now, what song would you choose?
Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, K. 626 lol.
1. What is the biggest challenge you faced when starting your own jewelry brand and how did you work through it?
I think my biggest challenge has been my ego and trying to maintain my authenticity. I started making jewelry by chance as a creative side hustle and was so lucky to be asked to make pieces for the first Cafe Forgot pop up and to still sell my designs there today. I then made several seasons of exclusive collections with Opening Ceremony which solidified that I wanted to continue making jewelry but it still remains a part time job - but I think over time being too invested in creating a “brand” can become all-consuming.
Not only do we have this toxic pressure to brand ourselves on our personal accounts but I think creating a separate brand will also inevitably merge with the things your ego has attached your identity to and it can get dark real fast. You can find yourself with the wrong priorities, in a vapid headspace (especially in fashion) and that is something I've continued to be self aware about.
I am constantly battling this capitalist urge to sort of conform and follow fashion trends in order to sell this “brand identity” and fit in. When in reality I just want to make what I want to make and the brand that comes with that is an afterthought. Not caring how many followers I have, which “influencer” is wearing my jewelry, just continuing to make jewelry that feels genuine and true to me and most importantly, jewelry that people feel sexy and glamorous in ;) I think people are receptive to that too...