Melissa Joy Manning will preview her Fall 2012 collection at the CIRCA Accessories Salon at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. We recently sat with Melissa to find out what influences her style:
Hometown: Alameda, California
At CIRCA, we believe that every jewel tells a story. What’s your story?
I’ve always made jewelry. I made my first necklace in Montessori school and, as a kid; my idea of play was making things. It was just a matter of time before I left Fimo & beads and pursued a formal education in jewelry design and sculpture. Shortly thereafter I started my business by asking local boutiques if they would carry my work.
I feel blessed every day that I am able to pursue my passion. I love what I do and am continually inspired to create jewelry. October will mark 15 years in business and I look forward to the next 15!
What was the inspiration for your current collection?
I continue to draw inspiration from nature. The mixture of different textures and plays of color are center to my design philosophy. I enjoy mixing and matching elements to try and capture the depth and diversity of our natural environment.
What pieces will you be showcasing at the CIRCA Accessories Salon this season?
I’m thrilled to be exhibiting my work at the CIRCA Accessories Salon. It’s a dream come true to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I think I’m going to take the opportunity to show the breath of my collection, from highlighting my traditional metal collection to showing vignettes of color that will focus on my current work.
Who is your style icon?
I love Tilda Swinton. She is confident, unique and unafraid to express herself. I think there’s nothing sexier than confidence and Tilda embraces her own style and runs with it.
Do you have a piece of jewelry that has significant meaning to you?
I have several non- western tribal pieces that have significant meaning to me. Jewelry is so personal and, as a designer, I tend to collect pieces that I find inspirational. The theme of sustainability and reverence that underlie tribal adornment is something that I try to emulate in my work. Therefore, I tend to collect a lot of it! Some of my favorites are a pair of Philippine chieftain necklaces and a pair of silver cuffs from The Ural Mountains.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your designs?
First, I am committed to ecological sustainability. We are a certified “green” company in the State of California and purchase our recycled metal from another certified “green” refinery in the United States. My stones are hand selected from trusted partners and our precious gems follow the Kimberly Process. Second, I also believe in social sustainability. All of our pieces are hand made, to order, in our California and New York Studios. We are committed to onshore manufacturing and pay our workers above living working wages, 100% benefits and competitive vacation and retirement packages. I believe that sustainability is about both the people and the materials. Together they can create lasting change. It is my hope that our work does.
To preview Melissa Joy Manning’s Fall 2012 collection, visit the CIRCA Accessories Salon, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.