Miami swim week kicks off tomorrow and while the abbreviated fashion week gets as much attention for the T and A on display as it does for the swimwear, a new collab to promote the event has caught our eye. Hot Miami boutique The Webster--one of the participating stores in Target's shop-within-shops--has teamed up with show sponsor Mercedes-Benz and Teen Vogue editor Mary Kate Steinmiller on a new jewelry collection. For those of you who don't know, Steinmiller is an accomplished jewelry designer as well as a full time editor, not to mention, street style catnip. In fact, her jewelry-making skills probably helped land that Teen Vogue job.
We caught up with Steinmiller to get all the details on her new collection for The Webster, how she got into making jewelry (she makes every piece by hand), and how she balances accessory design with a full time job at Teen Vogue. Fashionista: How long have you been making jewelry? Mary Kate Steinmiller: I've been making jewelry since I took a jewelry making class at the Milwaukee Art Museum when I was in grade school. From then on I self-taught myself and made all sorts of things for family and friends. My current success came when I was in my first year as an intern at Teen Vogue in 2008 and the stylist needed a certain style of jewelry for a photo shoot she couldn't find. I told Gloria Baume, Teen Vogue's fashion director, I could make something. She gave me free reign in the treasure trove of stores in the garment district and I made a bunch of samples. They shot them in the story. That alone was exciting, but then designer Charlotte Ronson saw them in the magazine, and loved them. She contacted me to produce them for her store in NYC, and from there my business took off.
So exciting that your pieces are being sold at The Webster--is this the first time you've sold a collection like this? Can we expect more on the future? I've sold at a variety of stores over the years including Charlotte Ronson, Henri Bendel, Fred Segal, Elizabeth Charles and even at a store in Italy. I usually work with the stores to make the pieces exclusive to that store alone. It's the first time I've truly collaborated with a brand and a retailer and where all three parties had to agree on the designs. You can certainly expect more! I love collaborations, and I love thinking up new ideas for new retailers. How did the collaboration come about? I have tremendous respect for Laure [Heriard Dubreuil] and all she has done with The Webster. Its truly one of the most innovative retailers right now. Her personal style and professional drive inspire me, so I was thrilled to work with her. I have worked with her before, shooting a piece for Teen Vogue's website with The Coveteur, so we have a professional respect for one another. Laure's publicist, the incredibly stylish Celine Kaplan, is a dear friend in the industry, and connected us knowing we could work together to make something special [Ed. note: We're in agreement about Celine! Just read our "Life With" her.] As far as Mercedes-Benz goes, as a little girl my favorite car was a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, so I think the love for the brand is just in my blood. It was fun to work with their luxurious leather as a material.
How do you balance making jewelry and being a full time editor? Weekends! For me making jewelry is a hobby, I've never gone into production because I truly love the manual labor of the process. I call it my "sweatshop" and this past weekend, it truly was. I think I sat in my bikini Sunday on my coach in the 95 degree heat beading away. I'm weird about it, I won't let anyone help and I usually can't have the television or any music on. Its fun for me, not something I have a regular schedule to work on, but when a new project comes along, I'm excited to jump right in and make something new.
What was your inspiration for this collection? I'm really inspired by the materials. Its color and fabric and beads and findings that start me thinking about new designs and creations. I love taking apart old jewelry, going thru flea markets, stopping in the fabric and bead stores and finding something new and exciting with which to work. I've really stuck with what I love though--Liberty florals, neons and crystals. Trends come and go, but for me, those three elements make the best bracelets to add to everyone's layered up wrists.
Steinmiller's limited collection for The Webster will go on sale tomorrow at The Webster and at The Webster online starting tomorrow, July 21st. Prices range from $35-$85. Click through to see the collection.