Roxanne Assoulin on her resolutely playful jewelry brand

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Roxanne Assoulin has had a long love affair with the fashion industry, working with the best of the best, from Marc Jacobs to Oscar de la Renta in a career that has spanned more than three decades.

Fast forward to 2016, and she created her own eponymous jewelry brand, famous for its use of enamel. There are colorful and stackable bracelets, cute initial necklaces, hoops, dangling earrings, and even DIY kits for those who want to channel their inner creativity. And it’s safe to say that Roxanne has built the brand up to cult status, with top dealers under her belt and more than a few famous faces, from Eva Chen to Leandra Medine and Karlie Kloss all wanting to see her. dynamic and fun. -induce jewelry.

Assoulin tells us about his early days in the fashion industry and his eponymous brand founded on playful colors and cuteness.

Felicity Carter: Tell us about your background in the industry?

Roxanne Assoulin: In 1976 I found myself making hair accessories for Fiorucci, the streetwear hub of the 70s. I started my line and designed runway jewelry for everyone, from Oscar to la Renta to Marc Jacobs to Stephen Sprouse, etc.

Then when stores like J. Crew, Abercrombie, and Anthropology started to explode, I got so many inquiries and orders were so large, I slowly started to pivot to a private label, and kept going. for a good 10 years.

More recently, in 2016, I launched the RA range. I was playing with handmade tiles that I ordered in the 80s and made one line of colors and thought, which would make a cool bracelet. And a star was born, so to speak.

It was nothing I had never seen before and I had been in this industry for 35 years. We sold on the first day. We waited three months for our next order and sold out in three days. It went on like this for a year.

FC: What is the piece that struck you the most?

RA: All really. These are my babies, nothing starts without my hand and this is my favorite part. I like so many things, I’m fickle and my eye gets tired easily, so I always shake it. I loved our latest black on black bracelet, although I wasn’t sure anyone else would. They did it. We sold out within hours.

FC: What is the classic RA aesthetic?

RA: It’s clean. A truly contained and simple silhouette. And then we add color. Like a pink sock with an anthracite suit or a surprise hit of a neon stripe. Something to make you smile. To remind me that life is not as serious as I sometimes think it is.

FC: What is the first piece you designed?

RA: My first hair accessories were made from twigs I found and a few random rhinestones I dragged around. Then came the leather bracelets in 120 colors and skins. I started with a Savitt cuff and wrapped it around. Then Cara Croninger resin bracelets that I had dragged around. People literally grabbed my wrists on the streets. I would go to open days in all the department stores. We sold the entire sample to Henri Bendels while he was still the gem of retail on 57th Street, along with Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.

FC: What is luxury for you?

RA: Sober clothes with a little side. I have a weakness for quality. Fine cotton and cashmere, a good coat and a good bag. I’m not a fan of disposable clothes or trends. I’ve always loved a crisp white shirt, blazer, jeans, and white sneakers. And a touch of color somewhere, always a little something to throw you off. They were socks, now they are bracelets.

FC: Who are you designing for?

RA: Myself! I’ve spent so much of my life designing for buyers that when I first started designing I vowed to myself that I would never create something that I wouldn’t wear. We are lucky as a company because we cross so many categories, especially age and gender. My goal was to make people smile when they opened the box. To give them a little more than they thought they would get. We call it a pleasant surprise.

FC: What is your favorite piece at the moment, and how do you style it?

RA: Honestly I don’t have a favorite, I love to change, it’s winter now so if I had to choose I would say there’s an old blue and black checkered bracelet that I’m particularly fond of. It’s my winter staple. I wear it with jeans and a turtleneck, which has become my uniform for the past four months.

FC: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career?

RA: I’ve learned so much, but for me the biggest lesson has been that kindness is its own reward. It is a powerful tool and it costs nothing. As a company, both inside and out, this is what we are looking for. We are not always perfect, but it is our pole star.

Find out more on Roxanne Assoulin’s website.

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