It’s safe to say that Brooklyn’s ultra-cool fashion crowd traveling the subway, carrying vintage designer bags has found a new brand of jewelry to love – and it’s time for LADY.
FIT graduates Ashley Giunta and Ariel Bielsky, creative from birth and style icons among their friends, launched their jewelry brand, DAME, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and ditched their first collection in August.
It’s something they’ve wanted to explore for some time, but it wasn’t until the global crisis left Bielsky unemployed and Giunta facing the loneliness of lockdown, like so many others, that they realized. that they needed a creative outlet and a way to reconnect with their community.
“It was a time when we felt estranged from people – estranged from our friends and family – and it was definitely a way for us to connect with each other,” Giunta said.
Mental health, she said, played a big part in her and Bielsky’s decision to embark on building their brand, as they wanted to give themselves a reason to stay motivated and excited for the future.
“I was completely unemployed during COVID, and DAME was like a savior to me,” Bielsky said. “It was something I could focus on, something to occupy myself when I was literally quarantined on my own.”
Fortunately, many of the great arts are born out of anxiety, and DAME is no different. The founders, while clear in their vision from the start, enlisted the help of their friends – all creative, all consciously trendy, many of them in Williamsburg – to build the brand’s identity.
Giunta’s boyfriend created the DAME logo, a photographer friend took the photos, other friends volunteered to model the jewelry for the website and colleagues in fashion or marketing or both offered advice to keep the brand as polite as possible ahead of its debut.
“We were fortunate to have such a supportive community of friends,” said Giunta. “And that’s who we made this collection for.”
Giunta and Bielsky almost always ran in a crowd of artistic young people, thirsty for creation and passionate about fashion without irony. It is truly this New York-based community that they are striving to unite and represent with their new label, which is why they have chosen to work with a team of New York-based collaborators and a local wholesaler to build their pieces.
“It was really important for us to have a New York mentality for this brand, and we were like, ‘How can we help the businesses in our neighborhood that have suffered from this pandemic?’” Said Bielsky.
DAME’s eight-piece collection consists of two pairs of earrings (gold-plated silver and solid silver, in the same style), earrings, a bracelet and three necklaces. The vibe is simple and uncluttered, with a bit of 70s-inspired bling that goes just as well with sweatshirts as it does with couture.
The earrings, in particular, have clear sculptural and architectural influences that testify to the founders’ experience in art and design, while the gold plating reflects their obsession with gold and jewelry. vintage.
“We both talked about how our love for jewelry came from our mothers and grandmothers. I wear these bracelets. [gold bangles] since I was little they have been my signature and everyone who knows me knows they go wherever I go, ”said Bielsky. “It’s an Iraqi tradition passed down from my grandmother.
Giunta’s Italian origin has also influenced his personal style and his vision of design. She loves golden glamor, but she also appreciates versatility and believes in maintaining a classic, edited wardrobe that can be creatively styled in all seasons and passed down from generation to generation.
“I think the jewelry industry in general can be feeling very busy,” she said. “It can be an overwhelming process to find what speaks to you. So we’re really focusing on this small batch selection of releasing eight pieces at a time where you can wear the whole collection together and it really makes sense. is that slow approach to styling jewelry. “
More than anything, Giunta said she believes in slow fashion and social responsibility. Through DAME, she and Bielsky hope to explore both by creating quality pieces that their clients can wear for years to come, and by collaborating with and donating to local nonprofits.
“Mental health is something that really interests us,” Bielsky said. “And so we want to work with organizations, make a donation and really marry that social responsibility to the brand.”
The next DAME collection will probably be out by February.
More than jewelry designers, the founders are the cool girls of curation. It’s really their ability to create a cohesive, sexy, and crisp brand aesthetic that has led to DAME’s recent success among the Brooklyn crowd.
In addition, the concept of DAME is extremely inspiring. Giunta said the brand name came to her after a trip to the National Portrait Gallery in London, where she has spent a lot of time in recent years. “There were so many powerful women who had their portraits and were given the title ‘lady.’ The experience of seeing these portraits of very accomplished women was really powerful,” she said. It’s this sense of empowerment that she and Bielsky hope to bring out in people with their pieces.
For now, DAME is truly a startup, and is still fully funded by the founders themselves, but judging by the trendy and rising crowd they show up in, it won’t take long for the word to be heard. is spreading.