Accessories magazine is pleased to announce the winners of its first-ever ICE Crystal Jewelry Awards competition, sponsored by Preciosa and FIT. The competition paired FIT jewelry design students with jewelry industry mentors to give the students real-life experience. Preciosa gave crystals to the six finalists as they turned their sketches into actual samples for the final judging.
A prestigious panel of retail GMMS, DMMS and Buyers picked their favorites, based on innovation and salability, and the 1st and 2nd place winners were announced at the Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball (FABB) on May 7.
The 1st place award (and a check for $1,200) went to MinJin Lee, who was partnered with The NES Group for her Gypsy Traveler-inspired jewelry designs. The 2nd place prize (and a check for $600) went to to Alexis Innes for her Dark Star-inspired designs, created with mentor company Tanya Creations.
Take a look at the first and second place winners, as well as honorable mention.
MINJIN LEE TREND: GYPSY TRAVELERMENTOR: THE NES GROUP
“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 MinJin Lee of her initial approach. “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.
TREND: DARK STAR
MENTOR: TANYA CREATIONS
“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.”
TREND: DARK STAR
MENTOR: ALI-KHAN DESIGNS/AKA MYSTIQUE ACCESSORIES, LLC
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.”
Jana Klapkova, Area Trade Marketing Manager of Preciosa was thrilled with the project and the outcome.
“It was great to meet all the talented young people in person. I was amazed by their professionalism but also their fresh and playful attitude to the art of designing! I really admire that, because isn’t jewelry something that should bring joy to our lives?”
At Accessories magazine, we wholeheartedly agree!