It’s hard to imagine that Kerin Rose, the designer behind A-Morir, once subscribed to a business casual dress code. And yet, this punk-meets-pinup designer—think seven-inch stripper platforms, a leotard, black moto-jacket, fishnets, garter belt, carrot-red hair and blunt bangs—once made her career as an Amazon trader for the New York Stock Exchange. After shifting away from finance, however, Rose has now embraced nearly instant success as a bold eyewear designer.
The living and breathing interpretation of her extravagant eyewear collection, A-Morir’s chic shades are just as dramatic as is Rose’s modus operandi and motto, “Go big or go home.” With impeccable craftsmanship and a fantastical design aesthetic, A-Morir’s eyeglasses are totally impractical, absurdly modernistic and meant to be worn by those “on a different ride.” It’s fitting, then, that Lady Gaga gave her nod of approval when she rocked Rose’s Sioux Lace shades last year.
Born in Israel, Rose graduated from NYU with honors in Pop History before delving into finance. Although her professional background might not sound like fodder for an accessories maven, Rose admits to deriving her refined skills from lifelong hobbies like piano and painting. “I did take piano for a decade, so my fingers are very nimble,” she explains, “[that] helps when you’re dealing with crystals that are 5-7 millimeters in diameter.” As far as her involvement in the fashion world goes, however, Rose admits: “I got started with A-Morir, concretely, less than a year ago. By accident.”
While attending one of Patricia Field’s runway shows in her self-made glowing tote, Rose caught the eye of a consignment buyer for the store. Offered a part-time gig, she subsequently honed her craft at the boutique as she bedazzled and sold her work all in the same day. Rose’s first specs reportedly just “happened” after an aborted plan to bling a new iPhone she never ended up buying. Putting the crystals to use on an old set of frames instead, she playfully encrusted the pair and sported her DIY art on the perpetual runway that is the New York City sidewalk—to head-turning approval, of course.
Rose’s first collection drew inspiration from her music-filled life and outwardly apparent love for rock ‘n roll. A-Morir’s debut included a quartet of frames glammed in Swarovski crystals, each named after one of her four favorite classical composers (Schubert, Amadeus, Beethoven and Bizet). Since then, Rose has continued to add to the collective chorus with other musical notes, naming other designs after Duke Ellington, Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana and D’Arcy Wretzky. Most noted in Rose’s collection is her choice of character, treating each bifocal as a unique individual. Her pieces are carefully dressed and perfected by Rose’s own sure hand.
As the chapters of A-Morir have grown more complex, so too have its materials and levels of difficulty. With spikes, chains, lace, studs and pearls under her belt (or garter), Rose recently introduced elements like tar, bone, 24-karat gold crystals, feathers, cup chain and even a trompe l’oeil nath to create optical illusion. As pop culture royalty have embraced Rose’s wackiness, superstars like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg and Rihanna have danced to their chart topping beats in her dangerously deceptive frames. And meanwhile, editorial claim has emerged from Vogue Italia, Marie Claire Arabia, In Style Germany, ZINK, People, Nylon Japan, InStyle.com, People.com, RollingStone.com and Nylon US to name a few.
Rose’s overnight success in the fashion industry has kept her height-raising heels grounded. But as her story unfolds, she leaves us humbled with one self-aware thought: “I’m special because I know I’m no more special than anyone else.”