A. Rechere is Ashara Shapiro’s latest venture. Launching October 25-27, the jewelry and accessories are storied items that have gone through a transformation. Antique items that have lost their function in modern daily life are turned into pieces both elegant and edgy. Shapiro is known as one half of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania creative duo ReClaimed. The California native learned the art of woodworking from her father, leading her to eventually create functional, eclectic art in the form of furniture. Six months ago, in the studio stocked with finds from antique malls and abandoned barns, Shapiro saw the potential for these items to become fashion. “Throughout that process [with ReClaimed] I was collecting bits and pieces that I loved” says Shapiro, old machine tags, brass rulers and scales, among them. “I just started making things for myself with those bits and pieces and then people were really interested in what I was doing.” A. Recherche began with a leather cuff adorned with the carefully curated piece of an antique brass metal ruler. When people began requesting custom orders, Shapiro knew that she was on to something.
Each piece from A. Recherche is true to its namesake (“rechercheis French for ‘exotic, rare, or obscure.’) To the designer, leather and metals have a personality of their own. She calls the rawness and natural quality of leather paired with polished metal a “perfect marriage.” When asked about her favorite found material, Shapiro can’t settle on one. Exploring each material, and discovering what it will allow itself to be, is an enjoyable interaction. For example, different metals are more or less malleable and the grain of a piece of wood determines what design will take shape. She enjoys this process, bringing her own vision and meeting it with the design potential of the material.
Empowerment is the theme of A. Recherche. “Warrior meets modern woman meets function, fashion,” says Shapiro. The stamped words and phrases speak to women’s strength and experiences, “something that they can identify with in their life.” Certain pieces are created for the purpose of forming community and offer part of the proceeds to charity organizations. She currently works with A Love for Life, an organization that raises funds for Pancreatic cancer research. “The best mission is to not only create things that women feel strong wearing,” she says, “but also supporting each other in our past and our future.” Eventually, Shapiro plans to create designs that speak to other widespread issues. She envisions women forming connections by wearing her jewelry, recognizing each other’s bracelets stamped with the phrases ‘Me Too’ and ‘Survivor.’
Shapiro, an avid writer, former off-Broadway actress, and teacher, has expressed herself creatively throughout her life. A common thread throughout each experience, from taking to the stage as a child to her current design work, is empowerment and connection. Of our busy, information driven world Shapiro feels that shared experience is forgotten. “We are taking in so much information that has very little to do with us on a personal, deep level.” Personal power and expression are at the core of her creative pursuits. She sees them as a way to create connecting threads that people can draw to their own stories.
The launch will take place inside of “The Barn,” an eclectic space sounds like a perfect setting for the A. Recherche shopping experience. Philadelphia-based clothing line Plume and Thread will be joining the party at each date.
For the future, Shapiro plans to continue making custom orders and release a new collection every few months. Each launch will be limited edition and unique. Join the A. Recherche mailing list for a VIP first look at each collection. Be the first to find your new favorite piece:
Thursday October 25, 6-8pm
Friday October 26, 6-8pm
Saturday October 27, 10-4pm
4658 Old York Road
images: A. Recherche instagram