In the past nine years, I’ve covered my fair share (and then some) of jewelry conferences. They usually involve the same roster of speakers, and almost always focus on sales techniques, updates from the diamond world, or retail trends in areas like merchandising or marketing. All valid and necessary but, honestly, after a while, they sometimes start to blur together. It is important to keep up-to-date on this industry-insider sort of knowledge, but how often do we explore the horizon? (Especially given how the industry’s horizon has been changing in the past decade)
Enter Cutting Edge: The Avant-Garde and Fashion, a conference being held by Initiatives in Art and Culture later this month at Parsons The New School For Design in New York. Parsons has an annual tradition of fashion conferences, but this year, jewelry plays a key role. The program, which runs November 30 to December 3, explores avant-garde and radical in fashion, historically and in the present, by considering the role of tastemakers like fashion editors. It also addresses:
“the interplay between fashion and jewelry or precious stones—in the latter case, diamonds in particular—on the cutting edge artistic expressions by legendary houses such as Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., and Graff; by mining companies now in the retail world, such as DeBeers; by individual artists working in the studio tradition, among them young jewelers such as Lola Brooks; and by fashion designers including Diane Von Furstenburg.”
Among the speakers slated to appear are Harry Winston’s Susy Korb; Vertu’s Frank Nuovo, fashion designer Zac Posen, Parsons the New School for Design Department of Fashion Design Chair (and co-host of Project Runway) Timm Gunn, costume designer Judianna Makovsky, and writer/style editor/consultant Holly Brubach.
No, you won’t walk away with a laundry list of in-store to dos. Instead, it offers three days of inspiration through the exploration of fashion and its interplay with jewelry. Seems to me, with all those other conferences preparing us for the traditional jewelry retailing side of things, this is precisely the kind of inspiration we all need to achieve the stylish fashion retailing stature to which the industry is aspiring.