Accessories magazine’s first ever ICE Crystal Jewelry Awards competition, sponsored by Preciosa and FIT, has narrowed down the contestants. A prestigious panel of retail GMMS, DMMS and Buyers picked their favorites, based on innovation and salability, and the final 1st and 2nd place winners will be announced at FABB May 7.
Below, a look at the 6 finalists (in alphabetical order) along with commentary from the students and their jewelry design mentors:
“My most surprising discovery working in ‘the real world’ was that you could have your own findings, components or metallic elements made for a piece,” said student Alexia Innis. “Before this competition, I thought fashion jewelry was just designs made using standardized beads, crystals and pre-made components just strung together in many different ways, and novel pieces were only in the realm of fine jewelry. When Norine at Tanya showed me the range of designs in her company, I was blown away and realized I could create something different and striking!”
“Mentoring Alexia was truly a rewarding experience for me,” said Norine Zwolenski, Tanya Creation’s EVP Design and Product Development. “She was totally receptive to the advice and guidance I was able to share with her. To see the final collection come to life was a gratifying experience for both of us. The Ice Award program is an opportunity to strengthen our industry by mentoring and sharing experiences with future designers.”
Upon touring the AKA showroom and learning more of the industry, I realized the importance of bold design and decided to completely rework my original piece,” said student Keelin Brett. “My mentor Tahseen is excellent in providing constructive criticism and getting me to stretch my creativity and be a fearless designer. ”
“Being selected as a mentor to an FIT student was an inspiring experience because it took me back to the studios of my alma mater and reminded me to never stop learning!” said Tahseen Ali-Khan. “We are having a wonderful time making Keelin’s concepts emerge into reality and are looking forward to seeing her Dark Star collection being presented at FABB.”
“I had never done fabric before but read in Accessories magazine that it was trending in the Gypsy Traveler trend, so I wanted to try it,” said MinJim Lee. “After working with Robin and NES, I learned there are many designs out there in the market, more than what I thought! It’s very important to know the trend and materials as a designer, and combine your creativity to be different from the others.”
“It was an honor and learning experience to mentor someone so talented,” said Robin Regnier, VP of Merchandising, NES Costume. “Some of the best advice I could give her was to make sure her designs were able to be both executed and salable without limiting her creativity.”
“My parents own a jewelry store back home in the Philippines, so I’m much more used to fine jewelry than fashion,” said Rose Jane Tan Basa. “I loved translating these visual, graphic elements from the Pop Idol trend into wearable jewelry. I was impressed to see how one inspirational element–like the chevron zig-zag from a pillow or sweater–could become a whole collection. “
“My biggest advice and indeed what we did together, was sit at a work bench and make the piece. We got out the saw and blowtorch!” said Gerard Yosca. “The more you know about actual materials and construction, the better you can design within your medium. My student was primarily a fine jewelry designer, so this was a head-scratcher! To her credit, she got right to work and made it happen.”
“This process was challenging because I was unsure how my designs could be manufactured, but it was exciting to see the variety of fun materials I could work with,” said Roselle Raabe. “Gail and I looked through hundreds of chains, grommets and example stone castings in order to find the few that were perfect for my Gypsy Traveler suite. ”
“This project offers a rare opportunity to push the idealized art school project into the ‘real world’ for the student,” says Gail Freund, Design Director of Robert Rose. “Conversely, for me, as I’m so used to dealing with the commercial realities, it was so much fun working with an industry-inexperienced art student. That synergy was very stimulating.”
Student Yu-Chieh Ko originally started with the stingray as inspiration but changed to the Nymphaeaceae water lily after meeting with Isaac Manevitz at Ben-Amun. “This water lily species only blossoms at night, which I feel is characteristic of those characters in fairy tales…and Accessories’ Dark Star trend. “It is queen of the night!”
“I was very pleased to see the metamorphosis of my student,” said Isaac Manevitz, founder and designer of Ben-Amun. “She is very talented but was trained in designing fine jewelry and in very small pieces. But in just three short weeks she started to look at the word differently–in a larger scale. It was a pleasure to watch.”
To learn more about the competition and to view all the semifinalists submission sketches, click here.)
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