Influential jewelry designer, Anna Sheffield began her career studying welding and blacksmithing right here in San Francisco nearly a decade ago. Clearly part of the local artisan scene before it actually was a scene, Sheffield set herself apart from the crowd with Bing Bang, a couture costume jewelry line with a serious rock and roll edge.
Since Founding Bing Bang, Sheffield has relocated her business to New York City and risen to the heights of the industry with a 2007 nomination for the CFDA Swarovski Award for Accessory Design, and numerous collaborations with top designers such as Marc Jacobs and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
This Thursday, Sheffield returns to where it all began, San Francisco, with a trunk show and in-store event at Union Square's Shotwell. Style Wylde caught up with Sheffield via e-mail to discuss Bing Bang, the Shotwell event and all things jewelry design.
SW: What drew you to jewelry design originally?
AS: The beginning of my career in jewelry was quite accidental, though some may say it was destined. I am a huge fan of anything miniature and I have always, always made things since I was a child.
SW: In the TMagazine Blog interview with Horacio Silva, you mentioned that you originally launched Bing Bang in San Francisco 8 years ago. What was the path you took from local jewelry designer to CFDA Swarovski Award nominee, to collaborating with Marc Jacobs, and all-around rising star in the fashion industry?
AS: I did start Bing Bang in SF.. It was as aside to my fine art at the time. I made jewelry for friends and a few stores. Moving to New York City really sparked the amazing string of events that have come to pass since I arrived here . I would say its mostly luck - being in the right place- with so many remarkable people who have truly and continually helped me along the way. It is also a product of immense dedication and hard work, which is something I actually enjoy as well.
SW: Throughout all of your work, there appears to be a wide variety of styles, from clean modern lines, to whimsical charms, to ornate, almost Victorian cocktail rings. Where do you draw inspiration for this huge range of creativity?
AS: It's true I have a whole treasure trove of influences I pull from in my design. I am truly inspired by just about everything around me. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature and where I grew up. But I also love being in a city like New York- just walking around, taking it all in... that's an inspiring day!
SW: Your Bing Bang line, which will be featured at the Shotwell event on August 12th, has been described as haute-costume jewelry. What exactly is haute-costume, and what inspired its creation?
AS: I think we coined that phrase! The reason being- I was always trying to describe what I do. In French there are several words for jewelry and the many iterations. So I thought that Haute or High jewelry was a good way to sum up that the materials in Bing Bang are precious and the design is well thought out. It's not a flash in the pan, though it is of the moment, which I think appeals to a lot of people. Jewelry is personal, so making the best jewelry I can possibly make is the goal.. I hope it brings happiness to the wearer, you know?
SW: Who do you see as the Bing/Bang woman or man?
AS: Rampant Individualists! and collectors! and I guess people who like the dichotomy of Punk rock, Victorian, Native American inspired Street fashion, like me!
SW: What is your favorite piece in the Bing Bang collection?
AS: I have been wearing the feather pieces non-stop since we first came out with them.. the Cherokee styles. I also love the Vivienne [named for Westwood] tiny stud earrings in gold…or rose gold depending on my mood.
SW: Any future plans for collections, or things you are currently inspired by that you can share with our readers?
AS: I am working on some really fantastic collaborations that I am not able to mention just yet, but believe me --the next couple seasons are going to be amazing!
All images courtesy of Anna Sheffield.