Simple, edgy and cool are just a few words to describe Toronto-based contemporary jewelry label Jenny Bird. Launching her namesake label in 2008, Jenny is a self-taught designer and a believer of using the finest quality in producing her jewelry and selling them at a reasonable price. Her passion, creativity and talent have earned her a CAFA nomination as Canada’s Accessory Designer of the Year in 2014 and 2015. Jenny’s work has also recently been featured in Vogue Korea. Jenny’s pieces have attracted a loyal following that includes fashion insiders and Hollywood celebrities alike such as Olivia Munn, Coco Rocha and Chriselle Lim.
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| TALKING HANDBAGS, EDIE SEDGWICK AND JEWELS WITH JENNY |
TJF: How did Jenny Bird come about?
JB: I was always a believer in the concept that what you did every day could be a natural extension of who you were. After a short period working in corporate marketing, I knew I wasn’t in that place yet. So, I just took one step towards it, I guess. I’m not sure what that initial act was; likely buying a vintage bag in a shape I wished was still made (I started my line with handbags, and later expanded to jewelry).
How did I make it happen? Action. Tenacity. Confidence in my ability to learn as I jumped into an industry I knew nothing about. I think a lot of people feel that there is some secret handbook or you must have lots of connections to start these dreamier-looking careers, but it’s really just guts and perseverance. You have to believe that you are smart enough to figure it out and go brazenly into the unknown. About two years into designing bags. I had cast vintage earrings and other vintage jewelry parts to adorn my first evening bags as hardware. The casting process was so rewarding, and the vintage jewelry hunting became super addictive! I was falling in love with the category. Like a new boyfriend, I left bags for it in a flurry! Designing jewels was my natural language; I had found my native tongue.
TJF: How would you describe your customer?
JB: I think the Jenny Bird brand appeals to the type of woman who is comfortable in her own skin, she knows what’s “in fashion”, but translates the trends to suit her personal style. She could be anywhere from 18 to 78 yrs old.
TJF: What is the inspiration behind your designs?
JB: We are impacted by our shared human experience on this world at any given time. The political landscape, our economy, the planet's condition, the weather, our socio-cultural environment, the human health condition, the cosmos, our progress in science and technology, etc etc. Like a mirror, this shared experience inspires, and is reflected in, our pop culture, street style, art and design, fashion, etc. Taping into this collective pulse is my creative fuel. It's so inspiring to feel its direction, to observe how it trickles down and drives what I want to wear and how I want to wear it today, tomorrow, the next day. I have no interest in yesterday. It's what jewelry I'm going to want in my tomorrows that excites me. How will I want to be adorned? How are forward-leaning real women living with their jewelry? How are they styling it? What are they wearing it with? Observing our ‘grand reflection’, as I like to call it, and being tapped into its pulse is everything for me.
TJF: Where do you find inspiration?
JB: Everywhere. Trends, street culture, pop culture; I soak it all in every day. How real women of style are feeling; what they’re wearing, and how they’re wearing it. The collective conscious. The act of creating something from a vision is also endlessly motivating. I can envision this amazing cuff and then, BAM! through action and effort it is on my wrist.
TJF: Does your collection reflect the latest trends?
JB: I find my inspiration in street culture, pop culture, so in that way, yes; I’m very perceptive of what is happening every season, and it is reflected in my work. I especially love watching what the houses of Céline and Chloé do every season. They’re always on point.
TJF: What are your favourite pieces?
JB: Right now: YaYa Choker, Edie Hoops, THE Choker.
TJF: How would you describe your personal style?
JB: Modern, reduced, refined.
TJF: Who’s your muse?
JB: I don’t really have a muse, but I do admire women whose personal style is all their own. Love what Mira Duma has been wearing lately. Edie Sedgwick is always in my top 5; so much so, I named two pieces after her this season. Caroline de Maigret and french women, in general, have this relaxed way about them — they’re not following every trend, but always look cool, chic, and like themselves.
TJF: Is there a quote or saying that you live by?
JB: Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. - Rumi
TJF: What’s your favourite city in the world?
JB: New York
TJF: What’s your favourite flower?
TJF: What’s the best part about being a designer?
JB: Being able to create every day, and do something every day that I love.
TJF: If you weren’t a jewelry designer, what would you most likely be?
JB: I can’t really envision myself doing anything else, likely something creative.