Designer Interview

12 July 2012

German born designer Heike Jarick’s world travels shine vividly through her clothing. Her pieces are bold and original, thanks to her keen eye for luxurious and rare fabrics. Aside from her sensual dresses, edgy, draping clothing, and sculptural coats, Jarick’s utilization of imaginative material, such as the skin from a stingray, make for one of a kind accessories that are sure to wow shoppers come fall. The Stylish City has their eye on Heike Jarick and would like to introduce the designer to all of our readers, just in time for her mid-summer Heikejarick Collection Sample Sale, where she’s offering 30% off past season designs as well as pieces from her upcoming fall collection.

The Stylish City: Describe the moment that you knew you wanted to get into fashion.

Designer Heike Jarick Heike Jarick: I was seventeen years old and I was thinking, “What am I going to do with my life?” My parents pushed me a little bit into academia and becoming a teacher, but I had decided then and there that I was going to be a fashion designer. It took me a little time to convince my parents to be supportive of that. I basically started studying in Hamburg, Germany and then moved on to England and studied at Middlesex Polytechnic where I did my Bachelor’s Degree. Then a journey around the world started.

TSC: How did traveling the world effect your designs?

HJ: It has always been a wonderful inspiration for me to travel. After my graduation I lived and worked in Italy for nine years. It was a wonderful experience because, unlike this country, you don’t become categorized. You work on menswear, accessories, eyeglasses, bathroom tiles; anything that the brand encompasses. It was a very broad and good experience.

TSC: What brought you to New York?

HJ: My journey then took me to New York where I worked in outerwear during the first three years of my stay.  I started working a lot with coat oriented companies and then started doing a lot of sportswear. In the year 2000 I decided that I had enough experience to start my own business.

TSC: If I were to look back at your designs of outerwear and sportswear for other companies, would I be able to determine that they were your designs? Did you allow your personality to shine through?

HJ: Yes, definitely.

TSC: How do you think the fashion industry has changed from when you began working in it up until now? Do you feel social media has had a huge impact?

HJ: I would definitely say that social media has had an impact, but I think the most important impact has been the economy. In the late 80’s and 90’s there wasn’t a crises. You could sell fashion and high fashion; there was a market for everything. But now, the consumer is holding back, they don’t want to spend. A lot of stores are going out of business so you have to constantly change your vision in order to survive. You have to ask, “What can I do that’s desirable?” The market is completely over-saturated. Everyone wants to be a designer, even those who haven’t studied to be a designer. Everyone wants to have a line and wants to put something out into the market. A lot of it is a short flash and then they disappear. But there are obviously some people who are able to survive. It’s a pretty tough game right now.

TSC: You’re known for the variety of fabrics that you use in your designs. How does this impact you being able to go out there and purchase a rare and expensive fabric, are you restricted?

HJ: No, I’m going to continue doing that but instead of offering 45 or 50 styles per season, I’m going to only offer 25 styles. Keeping the quality, keeping the originality and the exotic skins and interesting embroideries, but making it a little bit more of a smaller selection.

TSC: You used to have a cost efficient casual line, what happened with that?

HJ: I did have a casual line but it was difficult to deal with the high quantities out of Asia. So what I do now is I will run a raincoat or, for example, I had a down coat program. It’s very, very competitive. There are a lot of people out there with much lower price points and if you can’t back up the quantities of a 300-piece minimum, then you might as well not do it. Right now, I’m concentrating my efforts on producing in New York, using mainly European and Japanese fabrics and catering to the stores that love the Heikejarick Collection and have a customer base for the collection.

Heike Jarick Dresses Rack

Heike Jarick Outerwear Rack

Heike Jarick Studio

TSC: How do you see your line growing? Do you envision your collections being sold in a smaller sense, such as in boutiques, or within the department store giants such as Saks Fifth Avenue?

HJ: That’s a very crucial question. I know people who have had to shut down their business because they sold to these big department stores. Why? Because they have to eat up the charge backs. Let’s say you put out $200,000 worth of merchandise, you have to wait three months to get paid and then you have to worry about the charge backs that can kill you. Of course I would like to sell at that level, but it would have to be something where I really feel that I won’t be going out of business because I’m selling to them.

TSC: A lot of designers hold their sample sales in May and early June so I love that your sale is in July, when we are actually in the middle of summer and shoppers are looking for clothing to wear. What can we expect to find at your sale?

HJ: I had a sale in April, but this is what we call a mid-summer sale where basically any leftover stock, any stores that went out of business or didn’t accept the merchandise, and all that happens, and all our samples will be sold. We have two racks with archival pieces, which are from several seasons back and they’re heavily discounted. We also have items from the spring collection where we have applied a 30% discount.

TSC: Do you have a favorite piece in the sale?

HJ: I have many favorite pieces. One of our absolute best sellers is The Frederique Top ($91, orig. $325, pictured) that we are also offering in solid colors. Also, The Kim Dress ($154, orig. $440, pictured) is a favorite. Another cute and interesting piece is The Louise Shirt Dress ($88, orig. $313, pictured), which can be work in the summer and fall with leggings.

Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Frederique Top ($91, orig. $325)
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Kim Dress ($154, orig. $440)
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Louise Shirt Dress ($88, orig. $313)
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Judith Top ($95, orig $338)
Heike Jarick Sample Sale
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Matilda Top ($77, orig $275)


TSC: What do you envision some of the Fall 2012 trends being?

HJ: For me, one of the major trends is mixing and matching fabrications such as leather with fur or fur with a spray painted, snakeskin skirt, also, sculptural coats and draping, slinky jersey pieces. Not to mention the accessories, which people love. I have, for example, a stingray belt with a color printed finish (pictured) and from the left over skin I created a necklace (pictured).

TSC: You mentioned that during your sale there will be fall merchandise that shoppers can browse as well as order. Can they purchase some fall pieces also?

HJ: Yes, we have samples and some pieces that we will offer at a discount, which will be a little bit more than wholesale price.

TSC: I love the look of the stingray skin on your accessories. How did you become inspired to use that in your designs?

HJ: A lot of my inspiration comes from the fabric, that’s how I always start. I happen to work with a guy who works with a lot of different and exotic fish skins. Everything is mostly an actually by-product.

Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Accessory
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Accessory
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Outerwear
Heike Jarick Sample Sale - Accessory

TSC: What particular type of woman do you envision when designing your clothing?

HJ: A very sophisticated and elegant woman that is anywhere from her 20’s to her 60’s.  We have a wide customer range; sometimes the daughter buys, sometimes the mother buys and sometimes the grandmother buys.

TSC: If you could describe the Heike Jarick line in three words, what would they be?

HJ: Edgy. Sophisticated. Luxurious.

Heike Jarick Sample Sale

WHEN: 7/16 – 7/20; M-F (10-6)

WHERE: 307 West 38th Street
Suite 811
New York, NY 10018

By Caitlin Colford

Posted by Caitlin Colford at 12:55 PM
Designers , Opinions , People , Trends |

19 October 2011

When I chat with jewelry designer Andrea Barna before the photo shoot with her for The Stylish City about the looks we should go for I suggest that, based on her designs, I see two styles which emerge from her line, one is bohemian yet glamorous, I think it’s called “boho glam” in fashion slang, and another that reminds me of the style of Vogue Paris editors- edgy, minimalist, a lot of black, high-heels. And maybe throw in that mix a touch of New York uptown elegance (Andrea does live after all on Park Avenue and her favorite restaurant is Mr. Chow on 57 Street). She tells me that she actually defines her style as “Edgy Bohemian,” so we decide to go with that. I was thinking youthful and Jewelry Designer Andrea Barnacolorful before the shoot, and for the first outfit we put together a slightly bohemian, glamorous, feminine yet all black look, with quite a bit of make-up on and Andrea’s hair up so that the earrings, designed by herself, are showing. After a few shots, Andrea suddenly pulls her hair down and tells me “I really feel that I should be myself, and I never wear my hair up.” She was clearly showing that independent streak she kept talking about during our interview. It made sense, given that Andrea is a young woman who started her own jewelry line at 23 and who doesn’t follow trends or other designers in her work. That trait, along with her appreciation of quality and her love of fashion and design, might also explain why her line became immediately successful, carried by the most prestigious stores, and her jewelry designs are worn and owned by celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Alicia Keys. The early success also meant that she was approached by many showrooms and publicists, who eventually tried to control the creative direction of her line. It was a learning experience, and these days Andrea prefers to grow her business at her own pace, sell her designs mainly through her (and a few other) websites, and pick her collaborations carefully, because she cherishes her freedom that allows her to create a versatile, unique and affordable line which attracts a wide range of customers, who can find among Andrea’s designs something for every taste and every occasion.

The Stylish City: How would you describe the aesthetic of your designs, of your line? Is the style of your pieces eclectic, or is there a common thread that runs through all your designs? Do you design for a particular kind of woman and what kind of woman is she- is she within a certain age range, does she have a particular style, personality, lifestyle?

Andrea: My line has many different facets to it, and really is so versatile! I have customers of all ages and personalities.

I have a signature and a trend collection. The signature collection is more elegant and refined. It has been carried in stores like Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, Henri Bendel, and it was my first collection.

My trend collection, which I started designing about two years ago, is edgier. It has a lot of different elements to it like studs and spikes. It’s really a lot of fun! I designed it on and off and it was 4 months ago that I really started selling it and added it to my website catalogue. And I am always adding pieces to these two collections.

The Stylish City: What is your creative and production process like?

Andrea: When I did my signature line, I was sawing the earrings by myself at first and then my friend Melissa, who was living in my building, saw me and she offered to help me by connecting me to a production company, and that took a lot of work, especially physical work, off my shoulders. But it is expensive to produce in the U.S., so I researched production costs around the world and decided to shift the production to Bali and Indonesia.

Now I come up with concepts and ideas and then transform them into sketches, but I am not very technical, so I explain to my team in Bali exactly what I want and they bring my creations to life, they are genius. I used to be represented by a showroom but now I enjoy having my independence. I have been approached by so many showrooms and PR companies but I am happy doing my own PR for now, but that might change, who knows what will happen in a week? That’s the beauty of running your own business.

The Stylish City: Do you follow trends, or your own inspiration?

Andrea: I don’t really follow trends, I like to create them, but I do care about what’s going on in fashion. I rarely pay attention to what other jewelry designers are doing, and I think my designs are pretty fresh and fashion-forward.

The Stylish City: Do you envision a particular theme for every collection or does every item have its own style? Are there certain colors, shapes, materials that you tend to use again and again?

Andrea: My trend collection is more substantial, thicker, edgier, made of 18k over brass, while my signature collection is sterling silver and 14 and 18k gold pieces. I use a lot of enamel, resin, I love bold colors for bracelets and necklaces, but the colors I use for earrings are more subtle because I think that they shouldn’t overshadow your face which is your best feature. I think that jewelry should accentuate you, not overpower you. I use tons of cabochon set stones, and this season I did a lot of spikes and studs, and I love hoops, to which I constantly add new elements.

The Stylish City: Your pieces have been worn by quite a few celebrities- can you tell us by whom and if you will add to this list any new names in the near future? Which high-profile women who have not worn your pieces would you dream of wearing them?

Andrea: Alicia Keys Earrings by Andrea BarnaI have some celebrities in mind for whom I’m interested in designing- Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz to be specific, as I have spoken to their publicist.

To date, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears (she wore my earrings at her star-signing in Hollywood, probably one of the most important moments in her life), Alicia Keys, Poppy Montgomery and Marcia Gay Harden have all worn and own my jewelry.

The Stylish City: What inspired you to name a gold-over-brass-with-garnet pair of earrings the “Alicia Keys earrings”?

Andrea: The Alicia Keys earrings are actually named after her because she owns them and has worn them on several occasions. From what I hear she loves them!

The Stylish City: Do you have a personal favorite piece among your designs and one that you would consider your “staple”?

Cobalt Hoops by Andrea BarnaAndrea: My current favorite pieces are my lapis and cobalt gold-plated hoops. I design a lot of hoops, so they are kind of staple items for me. These particular ones are definitely eye-catching and are perfect for daily wear.

The Stylish City: When you get dressed in the morning, do you start with the outfit, or with the jewelry?

Andrea: I have to admit that in the morning I’m always reaching for my jewelry first, and the clothes are secondary.

The Stylish City: What are your ultimate goals for your line? Any definite plans that have to do with the production and expansion of your line in the near future?

Andrea: My designs have already been sold all over the world, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which has been one of my most prestigious accounts. They carried my more artistic pieces for 5 consecutive seasons. I have some collaborations in the works, and I sell my pieces through, a leading shopping website for diamond and gemstone jewelry. But honestly, now I prefer to focus on my website, at my own pace, because when I started designing I was 23 and I felt that I had to deal with too many showrooms and publicists, some of whom were trying to tell me what I should design because that was selling.

I plan to take my line to the ultimate destination, whatever that will mean. That’s what I like about fashion, it’s exciting to wake up and not know what could and what will happen today.

By Doris Sangeorzan

Posted by Doris Sangeorzan at 08:14 AM
bargain news , Designers , People , Studio Gluck , STYLE/BEAUTY |

17 October 2011

Jewelry designer Andrea Barna talked to The Stylish City about the path that led her from her quaint native Westchester town, where she grew up in a family of lawyers, to the decision to join the world of fashion in New York City, first through fashion and accessories editorial positions at some of the most prestigious fashion publications, and eventually to start her own jewelry line, A by Andrea Barna, at age 23, inspired by the energy and culture of the city she loves and calls home.

Jewelry Designer Andrea BarnaAlthough she is often trying to get friends together, and seems full of energy and initiative, you get the sense that Andrea is not the pushy kind of friend who’s all over the place, that she likes the comfort and privacy of her home as much as she loves to explore the city. Somehow the combination of those different sides of her personality made the experience of starting a business that allows her to make her own rules, work in her own space and at her own pace, and at the same time connect with people through her work and expose herself to new opportunities every day, a very fulfilling one. When I visit her apartment, which sometimes doubles as her office, it pretty much matches my expectations- it is elegant and faces Park Avenue, but it also has an artsy touch, as well as playful, girly glam details, like the leopard-print pillows that contrast nicely with the brown leather couch (her long-haired Chihuahua’s, Benny, favorite spot), and the white flowers and candles which decorate her terrace, from where one can admire the lights of Manhattan in all its glory. The large living room table is covered with jewelry pieces Andrea designed, as well as tear sheets and a portfolio filled with images of the still life shoots she styled during her stints at W and WWD. “I love my space, and I am very independent,” Andrea tells me. That pretty much sums up my impressions of her and of the place she inhabits. At the same time Andrea is very accommodating, and when her former high-school classmate Marisa, the make-up artist on the shoot, arrives, Andrea’s spontaneous, funny and informal side comes out, as the two young women start to chat about former high-school mates, Chappaqua, and, inevitably, about New York. Suddenly, I feel like I am among old friends, so I join in.

The Stylish City: We’ve heard a lot about your native town, Chappaqua, because former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Hilary, moved there. What was it like growing up there? Did it inspire you in any way to work in fashion and was anyone else in your family involved in fashion?

Andrea: Growing up in Chappaqua was pretty amazing. I had an extremely tight group of friends and most of us are still close. It doesn’t get much more beautiful than Chappaqua, it’s so picturesque. It’s changed a lot since I lived there, it’s much more populated now and after the arrival of the Clintons the real estate market has gone up.

The Stylish City: Did living there inspire you in any way to work in fashion, and was anyone else in your family involved in fashion?

Andrea: I have always loved fashion. Each day at the Horace Greeley High School was like a fashion show for me and my friends. Slightly like the high-school halls from the show “90210.” It was fun!

My family is FULL of lawyers. I carved my own path in fashion, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I guess you could say that I took the road less traveled. I grew up coming to NYC with my family. I loved all the museums here and loved going to the theatre, and it’s only 45 minutes away from Chappaqua. I knew I wanted to live in the city when I grew up. I moved to NYC when I was 19 with my family, which now resides on the UWS.

The Stylish City: You started to work for fashion publications (W, WWD) at an early age, 19. How did you get the job, was it an internship? And what was it like working with all these well-known editors, journalists, stylists, designers when you were so young?

Andrea: I began as an intern at W and WWD, the summer before my senior year of college at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. I hated going to that college, I was studying business, and I don’t know why I didn’t transfer to Parsons or F.I.T. But my step-sister knew someone who worked at W and WWD, so she is really responsible for getting me the job! After I finished the summer internship I became a fashion assistant for the two publications and it was one of the best times of my life. I have all kinds of memories…I remember that I picked the Jimmy Choos which Jennifer Lopez wore at the VMAs in 2000 and when I watched the awards show and saw her walking around in those Jimmy Choos I was so excited! I did so much there, from assisting Joe Zee on a photo shoot with Hilary Swank, Alex White on a Kate Moss photo shoot, to a lot of menswear shoots for W Men’s Portfolio, and I remember assisting men’s editor Marcus Teo on an issue that included a portfolio dedicated to influential men in media, and we styled Anderson Cooper, Patrick McMullan, Euan Rellie and Darren Aronofsky, among others. I also styled still-life shoots for the WWD Beauty (editor Kerry Diamond was my mentor in the beauty department).

The Stylish City: Do you feel that the book and the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” were an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be a young, fresh-out-of-school woman working in fashion media?

Andrea: Haha, “The Devil Wears Prada” was an amazing movie, but no, my experience was nothing like that. I loved working at W and WWD, I learnt a tremendous amount from some of the most talented, intelligent and world-renowned editors. I can’t think of a better place to have started my career. Some of the very editors I worked with at 19 (beauty editor Kerry Diamond, fashion editor Joe Zee), have been very helpful people who have shaped my career.

The Stylish City: Did you know at that that point that you wanted to design jewelry or was it an unexpected direction and craft that you became familiar with while working with accessories at W and WWD? What prompted you to make the transition from fashion journalism to jewelry design?

Andrea: After W and WWD, I worked at Mode magazine as an assistant accessories editor, which was a step up from being a fashion assistant, and I had a lot more to say in what was going on in the accessories department, I produced photo shoots, called in product, and was able to use my PR contacts from W and WWD to call in products from high-end designers that ModeJewelry Designs by Andrea Barna hadn’t had access to before, because the magazine did not have the prestige that W and WWD had. It was then, after years of calling in product, that I thought to myself I can come up with something great too! My years at fashion magazines were a great experience, but like any industry, it had its limitations- a long path to a position that pays well enough for one to live comfortably in Manhattan, job insecurity (Mode folded since I worked there), and I craved independence so eventually I came up with a business plan and I started my line in 2003, and I love doing this, it’s my passion! I also get to use what I learnt in college when I studied business, in order to implement this business. After I started the line, things took off pretty fast in terms of press coverage, prestigious store wanted to carry my line, I was very lucky.

The Stylish City: Did you take classes in jewelry design or are you a self-taught designer? How useful were the fashion publishing experience and contacts when you started your own jewelry line?

Andrea: I took a beading class in the Union Square area, and that was really it. I design from inspiration through trending fashions, and study old issues of Vogue a lot. There is an amazing store called Gallagher’s in the East Village that has archives of almost every single magazine ever published.

The Stylish City: You seem to be very much a New Yorker, very fond of the city, its people and its culture. What are some of the New York places, characteristics, people that inspire you? If you didn’t live in New York, where else would you like to live?

Andrea: I can’t really imagine living anywhere else in the world besides NYC. I love the seasons, the culture, the nightlife, everything about it really! The only other place I can maybe imagine myself living in besides New York is L.A. My step-sister and her family live there, as well as many of my close friends. It’s a really fun and magical place.

I’m known to be a homebody at times. I love to watch movies, and to spend time with friends. I love the energy of the city but I also love to go home and I am privileged to have a spacious apartment by NY standards and to be able to work from home sometimes.

The Stylish City: What are your favorite restaurants, places to go out, shop, spend your free time at in the city?

Andrea: I love going to dinners at restaurants with friends, and would really rather spend my time there than in nightclubs. I am not the type who goes out and networks all the time. I used to go to Mr. Chow on 57 Street with my stepsister at least twice a week, it was by far my favorite restaurant ever! I also love Elio’s, an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. My favorite store is definitely Henri Bendel. It’s quintessential NYC!

The Stylish City: In your opinion, what are the best and the worst things about living in New York?

Andrea: The best things about NYC are the seasons and the culture, the worst thing is by far the traffic!

By Doris Sangeorzan

Posted by Doris Sangeorzan at 08:39 AM
bargain news , Designers , People , Studio Gluck , STYLE/BEAUTY |

16 September 2011

Internationally acclaimed fashion designer Vivienne Tam presented her first-ever Fashion Yoga collection in the form of a “Live Sculpture Garden,” during Mercedes – Benz New York Fashion Week on September 13th at the Barclay’s Capital Grove in Lincoln Center.

During the presentation, 20 leading female yogis, dressed head-to-toe in Tam’s new line, performed choreographed yoga led by International Yoga experts Rodney Yee and Colleen Yee, creating a living and breathing fashion yoga installation.

What makes your yoga wear stylish yet functional? Yoga is more than a workout  – it is a lifestyle – does your yoga collection appeal to both yoga in the studio and out? If yes, how so?

An avid Yogi herself, Tam’s mission was to create the modern woman’s Fashion Yoga Collection, a lifestyle line that takes women from Yoga to everyday living. A line that can go from the studio to lunch or shopping. Vivienne partnered with Rodney Yee a top “yogi” with a new DVD from called: Daily Yoga, URL to help her create the best line possible.

What sort of pieces work best for yoga practitioner? What type of pieces should yogis wear to class to be able to move best and flow from pose to pose?

Clothing that becomes one with your body. Seamless and lightweight with built-in support and breathability.

As a longtime yoga practitioner, what did you find what missing in yoga wear? How did this influence your collection?

Bright colors, pattern and inspiring images are what I look for. The “OM” is printed on all of the pieces of the line . The colors: purples, blues, and greens are from nature and translate well into the collection. The line is made to feel like a second skin, which I feel allows you to become more at one with your-self and, in turn, experience the yoga more fully.

What are some must-haves pieces yogis should own?

A mat, a great pair of leggings, a supportive top whether it be with or with-out sleeves, and some sort of cover-up for after practicing. The body’s temperature goes up during a class and you want to cover your body after so not to get chilled. The line will be available online spring 2012, and the prices will range from $65 to $210,

Posted by Staff Writer at 10:24 AM
bargain news , Body , BODY/MIND , Designers , Shopping News |

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