As my Fashion Journalism class ended yesterday morning, I walked out the door to find a slew of precious gems and costume jewelry on stands. And this is why I love Thursdays, I’m reminded. The breezeway in between two of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s campus’ building is open for alumni to sell various merchandise every week. I stopped in the tracks when I spotted a ring display with pieces that looked like initial typewriter keys. I was dying to learn where and how they were created. The lonely table had only a few necklace and ring displays by its side. The stand’s owner was working quickly, setting up wire rings, dangly earrings and swift feather necklaces, fighting against the brisk cold March air. She agreed to be interviewed, but her attention was clearly swayed by visual merchandising of the stand. Throwing out random tidbits of information and answers to my questions, I could tell there was something more than a jewelry stand to Rosey B. Designs. A born and raised New Yorker, Rosey is an FIT alumni, who majored in Computer and Liberal Arts. Realizing her passion her jewelry, she turned to inspiration from vintage pieces and used old recycled materials to create rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and headpieces for her friends and other students. People started requesting certain pieces and slowly, but surely this hobby became a business. Rosey has been working on her designs for over ten years, and now with her pieces sold across the globe including in high-end designer boutiques in New York, California, Florida, Boston, Philadelphia, Europe, and Japan with a team of fifteen employees in her company, Rosey knows the meaning of “Money-making Manhattan.” Her teams of reps are sporadic over the world, but based out of her New York studio.
The most heartwarming part of it all was really digging deep into the story; as we spoke deeper in conversation, Rosey opened up about her design, immersed in thought. She reflected on her signature, which include wired materials. As she pulled out a bag of delicate, thin mixed metal rings, she explains the unique creations. The wire and other materials are all sourced in the city. The twists of the wire formed knuckle rings, baby sized circles which slip on any finger, adjustable, above the knuckle. A student last week requested her to make them in copper. As I rummaged through the pile, I found triangle, heart, and circle shaped rings. The table quickly turned into a party of gems, as she set up more and more pieces. Going back to the initial typewriter key rings, she explained the letters are actual keys. The green keys are from the ‘30s, while the black and grey keys date back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Rosey lit up at the thought of her “fun memories” as a kid growing up in the ‘80s. She reflects on the way life was lived before technology played a key role in society. As she accepts and embraces change through the new generation, she appreciates the fine simplicities that were existent ages ago. The little details like how the spaces weren’t quite perfect on a typewriter, how a letter “e” might appear a bit lower than an “a” is endearing. Her originality shows, as through her designs.
My eyes glazed over the table, finding more wired rings, long bronze cameo necklaces, chandelier earrings, scissor necklaces, skull rings, and jeweled headpieces.“I love being able to be creative. There are no limits to creativity. It’s like infinity. It never begins and it never ends," she says. Rosey describes herself “Lord of the Wire Rings.” With editorials covered by major fashion publications including InStyle, Lucky, and Cosmopolitan and worn by A-list celebrities, Rihana, Jennifer Lopez, and Mariah Carey, Rosey B. Designs is shining bright. She explains her want to sell at FIT; she knows what it’s like to be a student and want to stay on top of trends. Because of this, she sells discounted prices to those similar to her years ago. Along with this marketplace, her pieces are sold around various flea markets and at Javitz Center. She recalls her experience and the important of having a personality behind any brand. Selling to customers is a huge part of her love for the business. “I love people, the crazier they are, the more I love them.” Three word she sums up about her designs? Eclectic, nostalgic, and chic!