N+a new york is a jewelry line founded by sisters Noriko and Akiko Sugawara, who originally come from Yokohama, Japan. Designing their collections and making all pieces in their studio in Tribeca, New York City, Noriko and Akiko create finely crafted, handmade jewelry. Their designs reflect the subtle beauty of the details of both city life and nature. Details that often go unnoticed in the busy rush of ordinary life—the textures of rocks and leaves, details of historic buildings in New York City, cracks in subway walls, the sparseness of branches in winter, and the richness of blossoms and leaves in summer—catch their eyes and inspire the motifs of beautiful jewelry pieces. Respect for the nature of their materials connects their designs to their inspirations. Noriko and Akiko’s unique perspectives and Japanese sensibilities give birth to an original aesthetic in jewelry design.
Noriko’s interest in art and different cultures began in childhood. Traveling the world as a flight attendant for All Nippon Airways (ANA), she has seen many cultures directly. In 2001, she embarked on a new path as an art jeweler, graduating with a jewelry design degree from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, two years later. After graduation, she studied sculpture at the Art Student League of New York, eventually showing her one-of-a-kind conceptual pieces around the United States and Japan at galleries and major art shows, including SOFA. In addition to her love of sculpture and design, Noriko is also deeply influenced by music, having once aspired to be a professional flutist. Sculpture, music, and jewelry design come together in Noriko’s distinctive three-dimensional aesthetic.
Akiko has always loved music, literature, and art, but it was seeing her sister’s designs that inspired her to shift her career in unexpected directions. While she was working in marketing and public relations for Pieroth, a wine importer in Japan—and developing as a connoisseur of fine wine—she found a new interest after seeing Noriko’s design Starry Night, which was pictured in 500 Brooches (Lark Jewelry Books). She quickly became fascinated by the materials and techniques of jewelry making. In 2007—the year n+a new york was established—Akiko began dividing her career between wine and jewelry, visiting New York frequently to represent the sisters’ company at trade shows. With instruction from her sister, a few classes, and plenty of hands-on experimentation, Akiko learned to realize the pieces she imagines. In 2011, Akiko joined Noriko in New York City full-time with the goal of building n+a new york into a recognized brand, bringing years of marketing and PR experience to the growing company.
The most important value of n+a new york is making jewelry that enhances the life of its owner and that will be cherished for a long time. Inspired creators, timeless designs, respected materials, and handcrafted artisanship define n+a new york as a jewelry brand that complements the individuality of its wearer, accenting personal style with unique pieces that will always remain fresh and will become favorites.