“I think the most important advice I could give is to not compromise your creative vision.” – Danielle Singer
We got the chance to speak with Toronto Jewelry designer Danielle Singer of Dolorous Jewelry Designs on her 2016 Fall/Winter collection this week as well as get a bit of insight into the Canadian fashion scene! Thinking about delving into the world of body chains and jewelry design? Read on!
Danielle: I’ve been sculpting since I was a child. After finishing my undergrad at U of T I was really starved for a creative outlet and enrolled in some sculpture and reproduction classes. It was actually my mother who at that point suggested I look into some jewellery making workshops. I enrolled in two of the workshops at the Devil’s Workshop at Queen and Bellwoods, and immediately fell in love. Within one week of class I had enrolled in the George Brown Goldsmithing Program where I studied for 3 years.
Creative and Chaos: At what point in your life did you realize designing and creating jewelry was something you wanted to pursue?
Danielle: I was one of those kids who was always making all kinds of things. When I was young I would knit and sew, making purses and pillows, and I’d regularly put things together to make elaborate necklaces and charm bracelets, but it wasn’t until my twenties that I had really considered it as a career choice. It was so excited to find a way to make a living, have creative freedom, and get to work with my hands! It really feels like a dream job.
Creative and Chaos: Do you find the fashion and jewelry industry in Canada rather competitive? What are some challenges you’ve faced?
Danielle: I think that the Canadian fashion market is quite difficult to succeed in because there are much fewer resources here to grow a company and so much of our talent leaves for the states.
Creative and Chaos: You mention that history and medieval accessories influence Dolorous Jewelry as a whole. Was there a specific influence behind the Fall/Winter 2016 collection?
Danielle: The line is heavily influenced by historical styles of jewellery and I think that aesthetic runs heavily through all the pieces I make. For the FW16 Collection I was really inspired by the relationship between the body and the accessories we put on it. I wanted each piece to have a kinetic energy and movement, to become an extension of the person wearing it.
Creative and Chaos: Which piece is your favourite from the Fall/Winter 2016 collection?
Danielle: Thats so tough to choose! I think at best I’d have to narrow it down to two. I’m really in love with the Chain Mini Skirt I created for this season, its so much fun and surprisingly easy to wear. The design actually stemmed from a piece I had made just for myself, to wear to my collection launch at Toronto Fashion Week, that one was knee length and I got so many compliments and requests for it that I decided to make a similar piece for the line. It can be layered over anything from formal dresses to jeans and having it on just makes you want to dance. Other than that, on the completely flip side, I’m pretty obsessed with the super simple Dea Black Leather Choker. Its a super subtle, minimal piece thats perfect for everyday wear and looks awesome with any outfit. I honestly don’t think I’ve taken mine off since the collection launch and I can already tell I’ll be wearing it for a really long time.
Creative and Chaos: What was one of the more surreal moments in your career?
Danielle: I think one of the most surreal moments so far was seeing my jewellery in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year! It’s such a massive publication with huge circulation and their request to pull some pieces was totally out of the blue! I’ve had some really exciting press but that one felt pretty ‘next level’. A close second would be having several pieces on the main character of the CW show Reign. It was amazing to see my jewellery on television and the styling on that show is so breathtaking, it felt like a huge honour.
Creative and Chaos: Your pieces were displayed in the “We the North’ editorial in Elle Canada’s September Issue and the July 2016 Issue – what was that like?
Danielle: I grew up looking through Elle Canada and feel very grateful for the number of times I’ve had my jewelry featured by them. I’ve even had jewelry on the cover! The creative director, Juliana Schiavinatto is extremely talented and I think the magazine does a really amazing job of supporting and promoting local talent which is so important, and they create such beautiful images while doing it, it’s really an honour to be part of that.
Creative and Chaos: What advice would you give to other artists wanting to pursue a career in jewelry design?
Danielle: I think the most important advice I could give is to not compromise your creative vision. It’s very hard to run a business and there are certainly unique challenges to running a creative business but its important not to be swayed by trends and to stay true to your sense of design.