Erica Weiner: the jewellery designer combining vintage elegance and modern musings
There are few comparisons that can be made between the hip-hop group Outkast and ourselves. One commonality we do share though, is our mutual love of being cooler than cool. But in an ever-changing landscape of all things trendy, how exactly does one decipher what is cool? Well, if popular culture is to be believed, Lena Dunham is cool. Anything vintage will always be cool. And hot New York designers are most definitely cool. Step forward Erica Weiner, the hip NY artisan, whose quirky take on vintage finery has put the nostalgic romance back into jewellery design.
Erica Weiner is both the brand and the woman. The New Jersey born designer earned her degree in art history before forging a career for herself as a costumer on Broadway shows. She later turned her attention to accessories, initially having taken up jewellery design as a pastime. Upon wearing some of her own pieces while attending fashion week, she garnered many compliments from colleagues and she soon found herself with a cult following. From here, Weiner began forming a career out of her one-time hobby.
Her line has come a long way since then, and is now adored and adorned by an eclectic mix of customers. From the bohemian chic and the sophisticated to the bloggers and celebrities, there doesn’t appear to be a demographic that falls outside of her reach. One of her notable celebrity fans is Girls star and writer Lena Dunham. Dunham, if you are unaware, is the current darling of all things media and she unwittingly propelled the designer to marketing heaven heights when she Instagrammed a photo of herself wearing the Heartbeats necklace from the Erica Weiner collection. The necklaces, chunky gold and silver hearts stamped with the lyrics to songs from the musical greats (depending on your genre of choice) such as Dolly Parton, Shaggy and R. Kelly, sold out within hours.
The allure of the collection lies in its offbeat charm. Weiner sources most of the chains, trinkets and other findings used in the collection from warehouses storing surplus jewellery made in New England factories in the 20th century. When these factories moved their operations overseas, the surplus jewellery parts were put into storage. These industrial sized treasure chests now provide the perfect hunting ground for Weiner and her team.
In comparison to the bright and brash costume jewellery that is the trend du jour right now, Weiner’s line provides ageless designs that will withstand the test of time. Indeed, many of her loyal customers are now collectors, building up a stockpile of her unique ornamentations. Her collection includes beautiful pieces made from inexpensive brass as well as silver and gold, lending itself to followers of every budget bracket and allowing them to indulge in her creations.
Some of her more original designs include the “Nuts to You” necklace, a charming, tongue-in-cheek reference to General Anthony McAuliffe’s famous written reply to the Germans’ demand for the Americans’ surrender during The Battle of the Bulge.
Certainly, part of the delight of Weiner’s collection is the story each piece can tell. There is something extraordinarily special about possessing a piece of jewellery that holds its own history. And in a world of mass production and replica creations, owning a design that is unique to you definitely falls within the cooler than cool category.
Take some time to gaze upon her beautiful collection here.