If you've been following Alice & Chains on Instagram you'll have noticed the hashtag #thisiscouture occurring frequently in recent posts.
What is couture?
Couture by definition is - the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client's specific requirements and measurements. (google)
By that definition most of Alice & Chains Jewelry is couture jewelry as we work directly with clients to create one-of-a-kind that match their requirements of size, materials, inspiration, and budget.
My latest collection, A Night in Madeira, was inspired by the small island off the coast of Portugal. Pulling tales of looting pirates and the symbolism of the Madeira flag into the collection. As well as local elements of handmade lace and Madeira pearls.
A Night in Madeira is, in a sense, a collaborative project. Prophetik, a sustainable clothing brand based in Nashville sends a small package of vintage and custom-made cloth to be used in the design and production a coordinating line of jewelry to adorn Prophetik’s latest season.
Is Jewelry fashion?
A question that was recently posed to me during Jewelry Night Out hosted by the Women's Jeweler Association. My answer is a firm yes. Dating back thousands of years humans have adorned themselves. The art of jewelry is not limited to fine and semi-precious materials such as gold and opals. Jewelry as can be be in my latest collection is the exact border, however frayed you choose to make it, between accessories and fashion.
It Takes a Community
Having two runway collections under my belt, and more time for this collection I called in the ranks of other creatives. The amazing part of the Rivertowns is that we are indeed a small community - had I lived in Manhattan I wouldn't know my neighbor a fashion illustrator who introduced me to her costume making friend. Nor would I have been able to host five, yes five interns!
A small farming community in the heartland does not provide creative students with many opportunities to explore, create, test their ability, or see how they can shape the world with their sense of art. Initially wanting to go to college for a degree in art, I let the resounding question from peers and local friends of "What are you going to do with that?" impact me. At 17 I did not have an answer to their question. I fell into the ranks of "normal" going to Bradley University for English and Secondary Education.
It took several years, moving to NYC, and working miserable hours at a small investment bank to see the light.
Offering local students the opportunity to work with my collections is how I keep from ignoring my background in education. It is hindsight that I should have chosen this path sooner. And as a mother it is using what I see as a teachable moment to impact young creatives - they learn how to break apart inspiration, how to gather and explore materials, how to design, execute, re-evaluate ideas, communicate problems, and see the immediate end result develop before their very eyes.