Panelists Combat Jewelry Myths at WJA Spring Fling

On May 16, the Women’s Jewelry Association hosted its annual Spring Fling event, featuring presentations by key leaders in the industry.

Fern Mallis, creator of New York City’s Fashion Week moderated a panel titled “Objects of Desire: Lessons from Leaders in Jewelry, Fashion & Style.”

Panelists including VERANDA editor-in-chief Dara Caponigro, fashion editor Lori Goldstein, and jewelry designer Alexis Bittar, spoke about myths in the industry.

The myths included:

  • If you’re advertising jewelry, drape it on a 20-year-old.

“Mature women are the ones buying my jewelry—women from 40-80,” said Bittar. “I also use older women for ‘political’ reasons. I care about how women perceive themselves as they age, and the ads in fashion magazines are filled with young women and ads that all look the same.”

  • You can’t mix fashion and fine jewelry.

“It’s the mix of fashion and fine jewelry that really works for most women—it’s what makes them look interesting,” said Goldstein.

  • Jewelry and accessories play a secondary role when women dress.

“When they can’t fit into their most fashionable clothes, women use their jewelry and accessories to make a fashion statement,” said Mallis.

  • When competitors knock off a look, designers should pursue them in court.

“It’s not worth suing people who copy your designs, due to the costs involved—you lose even if you win,” said Bittar. “It’s better to keep innovating and creating new things.”

  • Align your designs closely with what’s coming up in fashion.

“I try to look at what’s missing at the moment, and where the opportunity might be for the next look,” said Bittar. The designer also said he often searches for inspiration via antiques—from furniture and sculpture to antique jewelry.

  • Overnight success.

“There was no tipping point that made my business succeed—it was a series of steps, events, and actions I took. I’ve been in business for 21 years, and it’s persistence that really works,” said Bittar.

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