Sororal and fraternal fashion parings are nothing new. The sisterly team of Dannijo, a hybrid of the designers’ names behind the label, Danielle and Jodie Snyder are the latest pair to follow suit behind the likes of DSquared (Canadian twin brothers, Dean and Dan Caten) and Rodarte (California sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy.) Fashion dynasties have been keeping it in the family for decades: milliners, cobblers, and silversmiths passing down skilled techniques and trade secrets. The Versace, Ferragamo and Missoni brands are just a few of the industry’s most celebrated fashion forebears. What emerging talents may lack in pedigree, they more than make up for with innovation and ingenuity. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the Snyder siblings backstage at the Trovata Fall 2009 runway presentation, where their edgy statement jewelry enhanced the predominantly neutral collection.
Founded in 2008, the Dannijo jewelry manifesto of mixing art and fashion, has carved out a niche in the accessories market. Citing rock n’ roll influences, the design duo has become known for layering mixed metals. I congratulated the ladies backstage and commented on how timely their collection is. Statement jewelry has been a big trend on the runways for the past several seasons. In fact, I think it’s surpassed being a trend, it’s now become an accessories-necessity. Noting how organic their collection feels, I asked the jewelry makers to walk me through their design process and expound on themes and inspirations. “I think our design process is very hands-on. When you say it’s organic, that’s the hope. We make everything on the models, even when we sketch out concepts, visions, and ideas; it tends to evolve when we’re working with the materials. I think the vibe and theme of the collection is statement jewelry, but effortless statement jewelry with a lot of movement, whimsy, and romanticism… enhancing the clothing, but not overpowering,” explained Danielle Snyder.
Dannijo jewelry has been described as having an indie-chic vibe that hints at uptown sophistication with a raw downtown flair. And it’s no wonder, according to their bios, the Jacksonville, Florida natives developed their eclectic style at an early age, using their father’s medical tools to teach themselves wire working. As teenagers, their classmates even started to take notice as a creative hobby became the impetus for a business plan and the opening of their first boutique. After graduating from the University of Florida in 2004, Jodie Snyder relocated to New York, where she pursued a career in men’s fashion. Only three years later, Danielle Snyder, a Vanderbilt University alumna, joined her sister in Gotham, where she worked at fine jeweler Penny Preville.
The sisters soon began collaborating on the jewelry capsule collection LWALA, benefiting a non-profit organization bearing the name of that rural western Kenyan community. Danielle Snyder co-founded LWALA (which also stands for Living With A Lifelong Ambition) with her childhood friend Alexa von Tobel after travelling to the Kenyan village during the summer of 2006 where they filmed the “Journey to Lwala” documentary, hoping to enlighten and motivate their peers to fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The foundation is a youth-based organization that employs innovative ways to involve youth in fundraising efforts for worthy causes. Sales proceeds from the LWALA jewelry line go directly to the African community’s medical clinic.
Additional collections include: “Roman Holiday”, with the beautiful Jacinda Ring in silver, 18K and rose gold; “Cult Couture” featuring the exquisite Harlow ID Bracelet made of oxidized silver and gunmetal platings; “Classic Rock” offers the divine Lucia Mar cocktail ring, the Dunes, and Pyrita Grace necklaces; and “Eve’s Garden” which includes the stunning Callouge ring and elegant Ysabel cuff. Post-show, the runway models were all clamoring to buy Dannijo’s original statement-making pieces. Viewing the customized jewelry on display, I asked about the materials they use and how these components change seasonally. “It changes from season to season. We’ve used a lot of gunmetal and rose gold and our evening collection is more metallic. We try to stick to a storyline and follow that theme. We implement organic and raw elements as well as matte finishes,” shared Jodie Snyder. Her sister added, “We work with molds and vintage pieces that are one-of-a-kind. We’ve taken apart vintage brooches and earrings and woven them into the collection, we like touching on unexpected elements like softer chains.”
The Dannijo line is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Calypso, and the company’s online retail boutique, ranging from $85-$700, the median price point is $200-$250. Ladies looking to channel their inner rock goddess will be thrilled with this collection. Let’s face it—we can’t all be rock stars, but Dannijo jewelry will make us look and feel like one! Given the current financial downturn, more and more, women are looking to cosmetics and accessories to add a hint of glamour to their everyday looks. There’s never been a better time to make a bold statement with jewelry. I asked the sisters if they’ve been impacted by the economy. Danielle Snyder noted, “In the last few years, the role of accessories has become so prominent; they are really taking on a role of their own. I think it’s a great way to update your wardrobe, especially in these economic times.” And it’s such an affordable way to do it! You can spend a couple hundred dollars on a fantastic piece of jewelry that completely changes your look as opposed to spending $2,000 on one garment. Danielle Snyder continued, “And I think that’s our consumer. Jodie and I always say it’s a confident woman who takes a piece of jewelry and makes it her own.” Her sister concurred, “Danielle and I have always loved fashion and style, but jewelry design is our passion and where we find our synergy. With the launch of Dannijo, we are finally able to offer women statement pieces they can personally interpret and incorporate into their own style. Our pieces don’t target an age group but [rather] an attitude of a confident, stylish, easy going woman."
Images provided courtesy of Ashley Bearden of Polly Ryerson PR.
For additional information on Dannijo jewelry, please visit, http://www.dannijo.com/
For additional information on LWALA Community Alliance please visit, http://lwalacommunityalliance.org/