We've been enamored with Anna Sheffield's tough-yet-tender jewelry (both her bespoke collection and her Bing Bang line) for years -- even before she was nominated for a CFDA Award in 2007. She's collaborated with everyone from Phillip Lim to Marc Jacobs, so we were ecstatic to get the chance to ask her about her inspirations and her much-anticipated Target line.
The idea of keepsakes, or precious pieces, features prominently in your work - what are some of your treasures?
I feel like the things we wear or carry should change in accordance with what we are endeavoring, kind of like talismans. I go through phases. I love the claw necklace from our fine jewelry collection. I wear one of those and my two-finger rings. I also am a huge collector of objets, this is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. Not just in design but in how I start my day. I like to look around me and see a tiny carved abalone shell donkey head fob from the 1800's, pressed tin milagros and my wooden deer from Bali.
How did you start working with metals?
I started in a jewelry class but quickly turned my attention to steel-welding and blacksmithing. I love the properties of metal whether its ferrous or precious, there is something really primordial about making somehting out of metal.
You've done a ton of collaborations -- Phillip Lim, Urban Outfitters, Cole Haan -- which was your favorite?
Some collaborations are truly collaborative and other times it's more of a meeting of the minds -- then you go off and do what you do best and they do what they are most suited for. I like working in this way whether it's a small runway show or a big co-branded collaboration. The first season with 3.1 Phillip Lim came about because we were friends and both kind of just starting out. His presentation had only like 7 or 8 looks -- amazing where they've gone with that brand!
What are you favorite places to shop in the city?
I am actually not much of a shopper in the classic sense. I really have to find something spectacular in order to buy it. I do a lot of trading within the community of amazing designers I know, which I prefer. I like wearing things made by the people around me -- that way I can brag about them! I do lots of jewelry-looking and research. I especially like to meander around in the Chelsea flea market for this purpose. And I am never bummed to peruse peculiar shops like De Vera, Moss or The Future Perfect.
Your latest collaboration -- with Target -- launches at the end of August. What inspired this particular collaboration and was it more/less challenging than you thought to maintain the lower price points?
I had so much fun working on the Target collection, as they gave me complete creative control. Also they sincerely wanted to be sure what I invisioned with the pieces was how they came out in production. I did engineer the jewelry to some degree ... the whole collection is sterling silver and vermeil, so I had to take that into account. Overall, it was just a fantastic project and it went off without a hitch.
Anna Sheffield's jewelry is available at Barneys New York, Oak, and on her website, annasheffield.com