Zales wants to spotlight up-and-coming fine-jewelry designers with its first Designer Spotlight Program.
“We’re looking for people with vision, passion and a point of view and to bring diversity into the jewelry business. We use the term ‘mavericks,'” said Jamie Singleton, president of Zales, Kay Jewelers and Peoples, which are divisions of Signet Jewelers Ltd.
“Our goal is to find up-and-coming designers and give them a platform within Zales. When COVID-19 hit, stores closed and small businesses began really struggling. As a leader in diamond and fashion jewelry, this is the time for Zales to come forward. We can help bring new life to these designers with a platform to set them up to be successful.”
Singleton said the plan is to select three to five designers to launch on zales.com. “We are looking for diversity, and having a population of designers that reflects our customer base. We are very focused on that.”
The winning designers will be showcased from mid-September through the holiday season, and possibly into next year, depending on the response to their jewelry. There will be a landing page with information on the designers who will be supported by digital marketing, e-mail and social media.
“We’re looking for vision and for ideas that are new and fresh and take fashion jewelry to the next level,” said Singleton.
There’s also a mentoring side to the program. “The designers need to understand how to take their art and designs and make it salable. It’s scale where our merchants can really work with them and help them understand how small concepts can become big ideas.”
Asked if any of the winners could become permanent suppliers to Zales, Singleton said, “That’s the goal. We are looking for people who can be part of our Zales family of designers going forward. With something like this you never know. You may find the next Vera Wang.”
Entry information for the Zales Designer Spotlight is on zales.com, “Designer Spotlight Entry.” Applications are being accepted through Aug. 4 and will be judged by a diverse group of Zales merchants, marketers and field executives.
Applicants are being asked to share their portfolio and a short story that describes experiences that have inspired their designs. They are also required to validate original sources of precious metals, gemstones and diamonds and verify manufacturers or producers.
“The pandemic is challenging all businesses — especially emerging fine-jewelry designers with incredible talent,” said Singleton. “With our Designer Spotlight Program, we want to give them an opportunity to grow their business using our successful zales.com digital platform as their launching pad. We believe our Zales brand is the perfect fit for this initiative because the Zales customer tends to be a bold statement maker who plays with style and craves new finds to create their look.”
@Gisou, the honeybee-based hair-care brand founded by influencer @negin_mirsalehi has a new distribution exclusive with @Sephora.
The brand, which specializes in honey and propolis-based products derived from Mirsalehi’s father’s hives, remains a direct-to-consumer proposition. Although it sells through some physical stores, and across more than 30 markets, the Sephora deal marks its first major retail partnership.
Jennifer Lucchese, vice president, merchandising, hair care at Sephora, said the company wanted to work with Gisou because of its “totally unique and authentic ingredient story, with a powerful founder behind it. With Negin Mirsalehi coming from a family of beekeepers, she is the perfect person to bring honey-based hair care to Sephora.”
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Report: Samantha Conti
Sacai’s Chitose Abe collaborated with Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas on “Love Over Rules” inspired collections.
Thomas created a bold, uppercase graphic of the “Love Over Rules” inscription. The phrase lent thoughtful, graphic impact to the collections and provided the moving ending to Sacai’s seasonal brand film, directed by Shoji Uchida, that sets out to replicate the backstage activity before a fashion show.
“Basically, the collection is to honor and respect all people, and also to agree — Love Over Rules, no matter what their race, culture or sexuality,” Abe said in a video appointment during which she showed the two collections from her Tokyo atelier.
Not even in her most introspective moments, did Abe ever question the importance of fashion at a moment of such intense cultural turmoil. “It’s sort of beyond the question of whether fashion is important or not,” she noted. “What I [think about] is how to make the wearer feel good about themselves and how to give that person confidence by wearing the clothes. So it’s not just about whether fashion is important, but how it’s going to make that person feel. It’s about self-expression.”
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Report: Bridget Foley
📸: Yukie Miyazaki
YouTuber @neonmuahas, aka Darius McKiver, has partnered with @midascosmetics_ on inclusive face palettes.
The collection marks McKiver's second product collaboration and first in the complexion category. It was inspired by a video fellow beauty YouTuber @nymatang created calling attention to a lack of bronzing options for deep complexions, McKiver said.
"[Tang] showed how she had to use an eyeshadow from a Morphe palette as contour and bronzer," McKiver said. "I don’t understand why, with the recent boom of complexion and foundation ranges, we’re still missing something as important as bronzers and contours."
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@JosephAltuzarra shared his quarantine process with WWD.
“I think what I’ve learned a lot through the last couple months is how much I love the process but also how integral understanding the process is to understanding the product,” he explained on a call for the resort appointment. “We’ve grown in a lot of ways and I’ve sort of taken a step back from doing more of the pure hand work of the collection, and going through this pandemic and being separated from my team and us all being away from each other has allowed me to get back to draping and little stitch trials and going back into the very tactile craft of making a collection.”
At the link in bio, Altuzarra talks about his quarantine routine, challenges, silver linings and more.
Photo: Bruno Staub
@JackieAina has launched her own company, and no, it's not beauty — yet.
@ForvrMood is a lifestyle company that launched online on Aug. 10 with a four-piece collection of coconut wax candles that are free of sulfates and parabens. The initial product offering includes a silk pillowcase and matching headband, with prices ranging from $28 to $49.
Prior to launch, Forvr Mood accumulated a waitlist of more than 45,000 people. It sold out of pre-sale inventory within minutes — despite not revealing details of the brand or the product lineup before launch.
Forvr Mood, whose name is meant to reflect "a vibe and aesthetic without really saying that," is a venture self-funded by Aina that has been in the works since 2018, she said. She plans to expand the company into categories such as fragrance and skincare. Her future makeup line, however, is a separate venture.
"The reason why we decided to [launch with a lifestyle company] is because makeup requires a lot more testing and more standardizing," Aina said. "There are some products that I’ve been developing for my — hint, hint — future makeup line for almost two years."
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