Gina Riley, president and head designer of jewelry and accessories brand Rebel Designs and Accessories, has been an avid attendee of Accessories the Show — fifteen years, to be exact. And the Manhattan-based designer calls on New York’s diverse city streets for inspiration. From hand-set crystals and stones to bespoke leather pieces, being an authentic, local brand is of utmost importance for Riley.
WWD: What sets apart Rebel from other jewelry brands? Do you feel that being a New York-based brand gives you an upper hand in the accessories industry?
Gina Riley: The great thing is that we have some pieces that have as many as six hundred crystals. When we hand-make here in New York, we handset all of those pieces ourselves, [and] we cut all of our leather by hand. I design all of the pieces — we cast the pieces here in the U.S. as well. We take those pieces and we put everything together, hand-set the stones, [and] we make our handbags the old-fashioned way, on a kick press machine.
WWD: Is there a specific theme that informed your fall collection?
G.R.: The Eighties and Nineties are back: we brought back huge pendant necklaces, chokers [and] we also added color to our large shoulder bags. Cuffs are important this season as well.
WWD: What is one special attribute of Rebel Designs’ jewelry collection?
G.R.: From one season to the next, you can mix-and-match the pieces. The shopper has the option to take pendants from last season and layer them with what we’ve done this season.
WWD: How long has Rebel been showing at ATS?
G.R.: We’ve been showing at ATS for fifteen years now. Our customers know to look for us here. They can always find something new and different.