New York has always been one of my favourite cities in the world because of its insatiable energy, right down to the small businesses there. It was only three years ago I stumbled upon Erica Weiner’s boutique in lower Manhattan and fell in love with it.
Don’t count on Erica living up to the stereotype of a pushy and guarded New Yorker. She’s made an effort in utilizing environmentally and ethically responsible practices in her company. Down to her packing material, Erica uses 100 per cent recyclable goods. The jewelry produced is also hand made and constructed from reused material that was mass-produced in the 20th century. By using what already exists in the world, she is reducing her carbon footprint.
Much like an explorer, Erica creates jewelry pieces that are linked to a time period by using materials she found from that era. Beyond her environmentally sound efforts, Erica also believes in providing her employees with health benefits and maternity leave, which are slowly disappearing in today’s economy.
The large-scale production of clothing and accessories in today’s world makes asking the question of what does a designer stand for even more important. I caught up with Erica in the midst of this holiday season and asked her some important questions on style, vision and her favourites.
Q: When it comes to choosing between gold and silver for jewelry, is there one color that is more versatile?
Erica: I actually am a huge fan of mixing silver and gold (or white gold and yellow gold). I chose yellow gold for my wedding ring because it’s just so classic, but my engagement ring has platinum (which is silver-coloured) and yellow gold as well. If you mix the two colours, you really can’t go wrong. It kind of drives me crazy when people just wear silver, it’s playing it safe in a really boring way. Yellow gold is not hard to wear! Try it!
Question: What are your top 5 favourite pieces?
Of mine, I would say:
1. Archery Earring
2. Turquoise Bow Ring
3. Bat Jaw Necklace (I had my own made in 14K gold)
4. Movable Type Earrings (I wear these every day)
5. And this is an antique we’re selling in our store. It’s not my design, but this is the one ring I could have taken for myself instead of my own wonderful engagement ring (but don’t tell my husband this).
(See photo gallery.)
Question: What is your inspiration for this season’s collection?
Erica: Stones. Earthly elements. Chaos and order – I love minerals that have complex, rambling veins, spots, and inconsistencies, but I mix these with clean geometric shapes. The juxtaposition just works out right.
Question: What do you think are some unique aspects of your collection?
Erica: The history nerdiness. I realize that my written descriptions of each piece really explain to my loyal customers what my process and inspiration were. That and the affordability of the pieces.
Amy Yew is a contributing columnist at Vancouver Courier. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.