New York native Alison Chemla worked for House of Waris and CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee Finn Jewelry before branching off with her own fine jewelry collection, Alison Lou. Inspired by emoticons, the designer's playful collection is impossible to resist — just checkout her lookbook, which stars Girls actress Jemima Kirke.
We spoke with the designer to find out more about her new line.
theFashionSpot: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into jewelry making?
Alison Chemla: I graduated from Bard College having majored in Art History. In college I interned with Finn and right out of college I worked with House of Waris. I always knew that I wanted to design jewelry, but I didn't want to pursue it until I had a clear theme that I was going to work with. When I came up with the idea of Emoticons for my first collection, it all started making sense!
tFS: How did you proceed from there?
AC: I made a lot of mistakes until I got it right.
tFS: Can you talk to us about your process now when it comes to making your pieces?
AC: I normally start by sketching my idea and then I mock something up in Illustrator. Then, depending on how organic I want the piece to look, I will either have a resin made by hand or in cad. It normally takes 4-6 weeks for me to see the final product.
tFS: Your signature is still the emoticon pieces you mentioned. When you're typing/texting do you use them a lot?
AC: Of course! I think emoticons are a great way to express your feelings without having to call or see someone. Adding a smiley face can lighten the mood of any message
tFS: What kind of a statement are you trying to make with those emoticon pieces or are they more just fun and lighthearted?
AC: I think the great thing about my emoticon pieces is that it allows people to make their own statement. Each face has a different meaning for every person. All of my earrings are sold separately, allowing people to mix and match and make their own statements.
tFS: Why fine jewelry and do you ever think you'll branch off with more affordable pieces?
AC: I think fine jewelry has more meaning when wearing it, as well as it being an investment. Right now I am just focusing on fine jewelry and developing both of my collections. Maybe one day I will branch off, why not?
tFS: How did you connect with Jemima Kirke and why do you think she's such a good fit for your brand?
AC: I've known Jemima since I was five years old and she is an old family friend. I think that she’s so charismatic, and obviously gorgeous, so it was a perfect fit!
tFS: What jewelry do you wear day to day?
AC: So much jewelry! Normally once a week I'll just alternate the rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings I'm wearing. I would say on average I'm normally wearing about 10 of my pieces.
tFS: Any tips for women who might be afraid or think they are too old to invest in playful fine jewelry?
AC: Don't be afraid! My normal clientele is actually women from the ages of 40-60. My jewelry is all really well made with the highest quality stones and from afar, my pieces are deceiving to the eye, it's not until you come up close that you realize that your bracelet says “Screw U.”
tFS: Could you tell us a little bit about what's to come from you design-wise?
AC: Everything. I have full creative control of my entire business I design everything from my sale forms to my jewelry.
tFS: How did stationery end up coming into the mix?
AC: Edition 01, a company that puts together collaborations, paired me up with Dempsey and Carroll. When I was approached about this idea I was SO excited.