The Exclusive interview with Vancouver Jewelry Designer, Hailey Gerrits. Using vintage, recycled and repurposed materials.
The Apostyle Exclusive Interview
with Designer, Hailey Gerrits
Why/how did you decide to become a jewelry designer?Long before it was my career, jewelry and design were always passions of mine. My first job was in a jewelry supply store where I learned much of what I know today about semi-precious stones and jewelry supplies. It turned into a creative outlet for me, and collecting supplies has become a bit of an addiction.
How do you select the materials you use?I work almost exclusively with vintage, recycled metal products. Almost all of the chain or metal products used in my jewelry is what is referred to as 'deadstock' - it would have been produced, anywhere between 1880-today with the purpose of being assembled into jewelry. For whatever reason, it was left unused. I dig through old warehouses to find these very special items and assemble them into new, modern pieces. To add color and texture, I like to combine found objects with semi-precious stones. I usually select stones based on their properties and what I want my customer to feel - whether it be an increased self-confidence, ability to communicate more freely, or clarity of mind, I try to use stones that possess qualities I admire.
What, or who, inspires your work?I'm mostly inspired by my materials. When my desk is covered with 100 year old chains and beautiful, hand-cut stones, it's not hard to feel inspired.
Describe your customer in three words.Bold. Fun. Unique.
What do you love to do when you're not working?I'm a crossword puzzle geek. My Saturday morning tradition is the Globe and Mail weekend crossword and brunch, by myself. I spend a lot of time with friends and exploring the city (Vancouver). I love eating out and trying new restaurants, cafes, breweries. Right now, I'm also addicted to the Mindy Project.
What are your plans for upcoming collections?I always try not to think too far ahead. I just finished my Fall 2015 collection that will be released in September. I wanted it to be a little bit of a "throwback" collection to my earlier style. I've been so inspired by color lately, and each of my recent collections have been very eclectic and bright. I wanted to go back to the basics a little bit and create pieces that you can wear with anything. It is a more subdued, simple color palette and there are more "everyday" styles that I think will be well-worn.
If you had to wear one piece of jewelry for the rest of your life, what would it be?It would have to be something sentimental. I'm sure I'm supposed to say one of my own pieces, but I think it would be my heirloom Star Ruby ring from my grandmother.
Does Love Really Win?
Everyone has their own sense of style- to have a “good” sense about fashion or jewelry is to find things that express who you are without saying anything. We appreciate traits such as humor, intellect, kindness, determination, among others, that make a person unique. All of these things exude from within and speak to who a person is at the core. Some of these we are born with, some we choose, and some we need to work on to achieve. For example, some people are innately joyful. You know the type- extremely happy and optimistic, no matter the situation. But for the rest of us, we often find ourselves needing to choose joy. In the end, who we are at the core, whether inborn or chosen, is the person that everyone else sees.
This blog’s topic has nothing do to with fashion or jewelry, but it has everything to do with who we are at the core, and what we should all strive for. Also, let me start off by saying that I am writing this as a reminder just as much for myself, as I am for some of you.
This past year I have become increasingly aware of all the judgement in the world. Both in my own life (including judgement against me, and the judgement I give), from and against those around me, and everywhere else- news, social media, magazines, etc. It bothers me. I have been reminded time and time again that it isn’t our place to cast any type of judgment on anyone else. Who are we to tell someone that who they are, or what they are doing, is wrong? Last time I checked, we don’t live in a coutry of Dictatorship. We cannot deny anyone else the simple, fundamental freedoms that we, ourselves, are blessed with having. It doesn’t matter if it involves the music someone listens to, the clothes they wear, the faith a person lives by, the colour of their skin, or whom they love. You don’t need to understand it, you don’t need to “get it”, but you do need to allow people to be who they are. You don’t need to support their actions or decisions, but you do need to support their happiness.
I don’t understand veggie burgers. I don’t understand the concept, or the desire someone has when they order one. But if they do, I don’t chastise them and make a picket sign that says “You Should Love Meat!” I don’t know their story or what has led them to make that decision. For all I know, meat causes their bowels serious distress during digestion, leading them to hospitalization. I don’t know, and I also don’t need to know. It’s not my place to ask why, to tell them they should be doing otherwise, or to look at them any differently.
We are unworthy to judge- when we accuse others, we are excusing ourselves. When we cast judgement and throw hatred at someone, we are denying them of their freedoms. At the very moment that those harsh words come out of your mouth, as you saying them, you are excusing yourself of every “wrong” in your own life- lying, deceit, hatred, etc. Think about your day yesterday- did you speed while driving? Tell your boss, parent, child or spouse a half-truth? Cut corners on a work or school project? Do a personal errand during paid work time? Speak unkindly to someone? Even the very action of casting judgment on a person can be considered “wrong”. None of us are blameless of judgement, nor are we blameless of any wrong-doing. So how can consider ourselves worthy of throwing other people under the bus, if we aren’t the picture of perfection?
Like I said, I am in need of this reminder just as much as anyone else. Oftentimes I need to remind myself that my way is not the only way. Some people would say that I have a strong personality. I am decisive, loud at times, somewhat opinionated and a generally confident person. I can find myself getting a bit annoyed while watching someone complete a task because they aren’t doing it the way I would. My husband is often on the receiving end of this, especially when it comes to dealing with our children. Saying words like “What are you doing?!” or “Why did you do that?!” I’ve had to take a step back and realize that A). my words and tone are hurtful and not full of love and encouragement, and B). his way gets him to the exact same end-point as my way would, so what’s the difference?! My way is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the right way. I can’t come down on my husband, or anyone else in any other situation, just because they aren’t doing what I would do, or what I believe to be right. Nobody deserves to be torn down based on my own systems.
If we all adjust our outlook and choose to support everyone’s happiness, and accept everyone’s uniqueness and individuality, that will also reflect in our own selves. Some of us need to choose to be accepting, some of us need to choose to be kind or loving to all people, and some of us need to stop ourselves before we speak in order to hold back the judgement. When we do this, when we make these decisions, it changes who we are at the core. It may just be me, but when I am with people who are already like this, I am drawn to them. It’s a beautiful thing to be supportive and loving of everyone.
It's Simple :
My point is simple- support a life of happiness, for yourself and for those around you.
All I ever want for my family and friends, and for myself, is that we live a happy joy-filled life. I may not fully understand why someone is the way they are, or some choices they make. I may not “get it”, and that’s ok. I don’t need to. I choose to support a life that is full of love and joy.
Matchmaker Matchmaker, Make Me A Match...?
How to wear Gold, Silver and Rose Gold
There are so many options out there when it comes to jewelry- Yellow Gold, Rose Gold and Silver are the classics. These days, Designers are coming out with more and more jewelry designs that include copper, brass, patina, and dark steel. With all these options, you may feel like you’ve gone to Applebee’s and open their ten page, double sided, size 9 font, menu. How do you decide on just one thing?!
Imagine this: Every winter for the last three years you have been looking for the perfect pair of boots. You know what you want, but just can’t find it. Finally, you find them and they are exactly what you had in mind! But wait! The buckle is gold and you only wear silver! What to do, what to do. Sound familiar? No need to fret over such small details.
Gone are the days of matching your shoes to your belt to your bag. In the early 2000’s I would never buy brown. I thought that if I bought brown shoes, then I would have to get a brown belt and a brown purse. Then where does it end? I would need a brown (not, God forbid, a black) jacket to wear with my brown shoes, belt and purse, and then I’d need brown shirts, brown eye-shadow…it goes on and on. However, mixing is the new matching. And the great news- it’s so much easier! From patterns, to colors, to metals- anything goes. Besides, I have never heard someone say “Wow! I love how she matched her boot buckles to her purse zipper!”
For now, let’s stick to the jewelry basics- Gold, Silver and Rose Gold.
Gold’s warm tones is extremely versatile, this lends to its more traditional and mature feel. Silver’s cool tones can vary- the darker silvers are more masculine and rugged, while the brighter tones are airy and feminine. Silver tends to be more modern and has a youthful feel. Rose Gold’s warm, blush tones is the more feminine and understated of the three. Becoming a major trend back in 2012, Rose Gold has now joined Gold and Silver to being made a classic.
I recently conducted a survey and found that the majority of women said that they wanted to, or have started to, incorporate Rose Gold into their wardrobe. For some of those women who said they wanted to start wearing Rose Gold, when what the hesitation was- “I don’t know where to start.”
How do I wear something new?
All metals are neutral and can be worn with anything. While some may “go” better with certain colors, or evoke a different feel, you really can do anything. For example, if you are wearing a navy blazer, the contrast of cool-toned silver feels crisp and fresh. While if you chose Gold, it would give off a more traditional, nautical aesthetic. On a different note, Rose Gold would soften the bold navy blazer and give it an airy, ladylike feel.
The easiest way to incorporate a new color of metal is to start small and mix it with what you feel comfortable in. Start with a simple earring or perhaps a bangle and layer it with your existing collection. Add a Rose Gold bracelet to your favorite silver or gold bangles. Even simpler, find a piece the already combines different colored metals- a long gold chain necklace with silver charms can then be layered or complimented with anything! Your Matchy-Matchy instincts may fight it at first and scream that it’s all wrong, but these small additions will add flair and instantly update any outfit.
Whether it’s Gold, Silver or Rose Gold, the important thing to remember is that you can do whatever you want. Stepping out of your comfort zone is always a positive and rewarding experience. If you’re more comfortable taking small steps, you can add something new and layer it with what you already have. Or, for those risk takers out there, get a new bold necklace or earring in a color you don’t already have and wear it with a different colored bangle. One step further- use a purse with a different colored zipper (gasp!).
Feeling inspired? Apostyle carries a great selection of Gold, Silver, and Rose Gold jewelry, plus dark steel, brass, copper, and patina. Introduce a new metal into your wardrobe with any of our midi-rings, earrings, necklaces or bracelets.
Need help? Send us an email with your questions and we will do everything we can to steer you in the right direction.
Have you seen a specific item we don't have by a Designer we currently represent? Or, is there a Designer you would love to see on Apostyle? Let us know! We are more than happy to do Special Orders, and are always on the hunt for amazing talent.
Style goes beyond the pieces of jewelry and clothing you wear. What is style and how do I discover my own personal style?
What does it mean to be an Apostle of Style?
Style is a distinctive blend of soul and substance. It’s not only what is visible – the jewelry and clothing you wear, and the way you move and talk. But it includes your thoughts, emotions, interests and values. Style is said to be a combination of identity, personality and fashion. Your style echoes the care, emotion, and energy that you invest and express in your daily life. Stacy London said it perfectly - “Style is about utilizing the best aspects of you.” Fashion and style connect when we dress to honor ourselves, just as we are, on any given day.
An Apostle is someone that is loyal and committed to their purpose. They’re passionate, unique and authentic. You are an Apostle when you act with intent and drive towards that which moves you. You set out to accomplish each goal with a confidence that comes from believing you’re on the right path, and continue to push forward despite the fact that there may be obstacles and objections along the way.
We are all Apostles of Style.
When you recognize your uniqueness, what separates you from everyone else, you convey that message by simply being you. It doesn’t require soul searching or calculated actions. You are already doing it and have been since you were a child. Every day you choose not only what clothing and jewelry you will wear, but you are constantly choosing your attitude and the way in which you respond to different situations. No matter how hard you may try, you can’t hide you. The good, the bad and the ugly, it is all revealed in some way, at some time. Everyone has that side- the side that embarrasses us and shames us. It happens, and you can’t feel guilty about it. The important thing is that we strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. With that, we should always remember one simple thing:
“You can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it.”
When you are true to yourself, it makes a statement to everyone around you.
We know that our image isn’t reduced merely to the things we wear, but as a whole it includes all that we are passionate about. We communicate who we are, without saying a word.
This is what it means to be an Apostle of Style.
If you are feeling lost or overwhelmed, I have over six years of personal styling experience and would be more than happy to help you discover your own unique style, select items that fit seamlessly with your lifestyle, coach you through the basics, or piece together an outfit for a special occasion.
 Cure For The Common Life – Lucado, Max