FGI Names its 2012 Rising Star Winners

Blythe Harris of Stella and Dot wins Rising Star for Accessories

New York—The Fashion Group International has named its newest Rising Stars, and we’ve got our eye on the two accessories designers: Blythe Harris of Stella & Dot and Wendy Brandes of her eponymous fine jewelry line.

Fine Jewelry Rising Star winner Wendy Brandes, where average retails range from $6,000 to $15,000, feature lots of reversible elements, adding value and a unique design element. Another signature is her use of bold, sizable pieces with lots of metal—soaring metal costs be damned!

Wendy Brandes wins the Rising Star Award for Fine Jewelry. Here, her tiger and pearl ring.

“A lot of jewelers have cut back on the metal they use, featuring bigger gems in much lighter settings, but I decided that the metal is too important to my aesthetic to start skimping on it,” say Brandes.

Accessories Rising Star winner Blythe Harris is the chief creative officer and designer of Stella & Dot, a fashion jewelry line sold via consumer reps (aka “stylists”) and using social media as its marketplace. Rebranded in 2007 after Harris’ and her business partner’s grandmothers, the company is an Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company and now has 12,000 active stylists in the States. Programs in the UK just rolled out and Germany is next.

Using a Mary Kay-like cosmetic model, stylists hold trunk shows and get a percentage of what they sell. Merchandise is also sold online and commission will go to the stylist who is closest geographically.  “Everything is done to help the stylists; we’re all about empowering women,” says Harris.

Harris, who used to be the head merchant for jewelry at Banana Republic, understands accessible, affordable jewelry. Stella & Dot prices average at $54, and feature trendy yet wearable fashion jewelry.

For more information, go to www.fgi.org


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Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Lauren Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Accessories Magazine & accessoriesmagazine.com
As Editor-in-Chief of Accessories for the past 14 years, Lauren Parker has covered women's fashion accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. She frequently judges industry design competitions and loves seeing the next generation of designers come into their own. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including women's fashion accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.

  • Thanks for the mention. The award is really a thrill!