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by APRIZI on MARCH 9, 2011
Several months ago, Megan from Belles and Rebelles reached out to us with excitement about an emerging jewelry designer named Anuja Tolia. Her work is bold, dare we say fierce, with a fascinating blend of Indian and Western aesthetics. When we met Anuja, we were immediately taken with her talent and determination to succeed. We recently asked her to share a bit of her story, and to style a look pairing some of her pieces with works from other independent designers.
Anuja grew up in Michigan and went to Parsons for fashion design. She worked in that field for several years and then mixed things up by enrolling in the Studio Art Center in Florence, Italy. There she discovered her true passion: jewelry craftsmanship and design. Her 2010 was a whirlwind — in the first four months, she created her first line, and then traveled to India to begin production. She returned to New York City, had her first trunk show in July, and officially launched her line in August, all while traveling back and forth to India to work with her team. The results of her hard work is starting to attract the notice of magazines and celebrities alike.
1. What led you to become a designer?
I dont think there was one thing that made me want to become a designer. I always loved colors, costumes, and dressing for the occasion. I thought overdressing was always better then under dressing. But ultimately, when I came to New York in 2002 to do an internship with Norma Kamali is when I knew that I wanted to live in the city and be involved in the fashion world.
2. What are the inspirations for your designs today?
Inspirations wow! I think the biggest inspirations come from my friends and family and their personalities. But along with this for my first collection, a big inspiration was living in Florence, Italy. All the art, flavor, and culture really helped open up my vision and creativity.
3. What has been the best part of being an independent designer?
The best part of being an independent designer is to be able to have the fluidity of thought. I don’t ever feel that I have to follow guidelines or feel restricted by anyone or anything. I am allowed to think outside of the box which feels amazing instead of having to go by someone else’s vision or thought process.
4. What has been the most challenging part?
The most challenging part for me as a designer is running a new company and trying to be able to design along with doing pr, marketing, follow up, and taking orders. It’s very difficult to wear all hats. I would love to just be able to concentrate solely on design.
5. If you could pass one tip on to aspiring designers, what would it be?
Never give up! There are going to be high’s and low’s but no matter what industry you are in you are going to face these challenges. Don’t compare yourself to other designers. Just go for it and take the plunge.
1. Queenie Dress, by Velvet, $168
2. Gladiator Hoop Earrings, by Anuja Tolia, $75
3. Distressed Oxford Bootie, by Jerome C. Rousseau, $358
4. “Rachel” Straw Clutch, by Kayu, $135
5. Grecian Link Necklace, by Anuja Tolia, $200
6. Wrap Ring, by Anuja Tolia, $100