If you're looking for true magpie jewelry that mixes fun accents from every corner of the world, look no further than Venessa Arigaza. The young designer's creations have already caught the eyes of stores like Opening Ceremony and Net-a-porter.com, and can be seen on many a fashion peep's arm.
Lucky for us we got to chat with Venessa about the inspirations behind her brand, and how she "makes it" in today's fashion world.
What was your inspiration behind starting your own brand? I’ve always collected things I love, from seashells to vintage jewelry and charms with any little imaginable detail. I think being able to wear pieces that I found in my jewelry box, together with new and natural things inspired me to create keepsakes to share with everyone. Did you have any previous design experience? Yes, I designed for nine years before starting my own business. I was a fashion designer for Tuleh, Carolina Herrera and worked as the design director for Zac Posen. As a jewelry designer, my designs have evolved and have become texture- and color-driven. What inspires your designs? I look for inspiration in everything – periodicals from the past, books on any subject and current happenings in fashion and accessories. What really pushes my imagination is my inspiration board, covered with color and swatches of materials pinned to charts with my notes. These raw ideas thrill and stimulate my inspiration process.
What’s a typical workday like for you? I am all over the place. I feel like a mad scientist when developing a collection, which is a three to six month process, so it really depends on what part of the process I’m in. I could be researching, gathering information, references and colors; incorporating textures, developing new sewing techniques, creating the perfect color palette for the season. I’ll have pots of dye boiling, an inspiration wall with hundreds of notes and swatches on every inch of the table. I guess I can describe a typical workday as a creative commotion. What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced? Being a very small start-up company is a challenge in itself. Having to do everything from sampling to production, to developing and billing, between two people is very difficult, especially when you want to maintain a balanced social life. What’s the biggest risk that you’ve taken business-wise? Leaving fashion has been the biggest risk I’ve taken. Fashion was my form of identity, which I studied and worked on for years, and to leave it for something totally new where I was inexperienced was a risk. Luckily, I was able to take skills from fashion and apply them to jewelry design. What’s the most fulfilling part of your job? Seeing a beautiful girl walking down the street wearing one of my pieces, or seeing something I made on the cover of a magazine is definitely the most fulfilling part of my job. It makes the whole process worth it.
Who is your dream customer, living, dead, or imaginary? The woman who wears my creations is a true magpie. She loves all things shiny and fancies bold colors. What do you see in store for you brand in the future? I see my brand improving with every season that goes by, and expanding into perhaps a Mr. Arizaga line, which will include accessories for men. I’ve also been playing with the idea of starting a children’s line at a contemporary price-point.