I recently had the amazing opportunity to shoot at the Kimberly McDonald flagship store in West Hollywood, and am so excited to finally share my time there with all of you. This week represents a couple of ‘firsts’ for Just Jilli: my first interview on the blog (with Kimberly McDonald’s Design Assistant – after the jump), and my first (of many) videos. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to have Kimberly McDonald as my ‘first’ in these regards, because I really respect this brand on a number of levels. It goes without saying that her collections are TO DIE FOR gorgeous! (Watch the video and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). But what I especially love about this brand is its commitment to sustainability and appreciation of nature!
I wanted to dig deeper into this very special brand, so Design Assistant Christina Chapman kindly agreed to let me interview her:
Hi Christina, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy life to do this interview for my readers and I! I’m already a huge fan of Kimberly McDonald, but some of my readers may be unfamiliar with the brand. Tell us what Kimberly McDonald is all about…
- During my time spent with Kimberly and her brand, I have found that honoring nature is fundamental to the Kimberly McDonald brand and to her personal lifestyle. Kimberly believes that nature needs not to be tampered with, that being said her ultimate goal is “to preserve the integrity of the material and its unique energy.” None of the materials we use are color treated or tampered with in anyway. Kimberly sees her line as possessing soul and character. Radical beauty. Defying convention. Individuality. The idea of digging deeper has depth; it has spiritual and social inference. And if you’re not into that…it might just symbolize adding a fabulous one-of-a-kind piece to your collection!
Other than undeniably beautiful pieces, what drew me to this brand is its commitment to sustainability. Can you please enlighten us about these practices?
- We strive to use recycled gold, reclaimed wood and diamonds. The Kimberly McDonald philosophy is “nothing is better than nature.” This is the best way to express what our practices are all about. Creation without destruction is just how we operate. We seek out the finest natural materials, recycled 18k gold, and reclaimed diamonds to handcraft the collection in the United States with sustainability in mind. Kimberly’s design aesthetic has always focused on letting nature speak for itself, so these environmentally respectful practices evolved organically.
You are a Design Assistant for Kimberly McDonald. Walk us through a day in the life of your job.
- Well, I would say I’m a woman of many talents! The company is growing at such incredible speed—all hands need to be on deck every day. Thus, my schedule is quite fluid. My days can consist of meeting with stylists to show them all the latest jewels for their celebrities, creating mood boards filled with inspiration, or even making sure new collections/collaborations are running smoothly. But on some days, my favorite days, Kimberly and I sit alone in her beautiful office while she dreams up all of these inconceivable pieces that are now in front of you… and I do what I can to help her in that process.
There’s no denying that you managed to score a dream job! What’s your best advice for somebody thinking of going into the fashion industry?
- I started off as an intern for Kimberly in the New York City offices. I had no idea what I was doing but I learned along the way and made sure I did everything to 120% of my capability. My parents encouraged me to find something I was passionate about and go for it with gusto…and that is exactly what I did. My passion for KMD started after seeing a pair of her earrings on my mother’s ears. I was prompted to go introduce myself to Kimberly at one of her trunk shows in Nashville, TN—my home town. I walked into the store, introduced myself, and told her that if she ever needed an intern—I was her girl. That was that, I started my internship that winter break at KMD. My advice is to take chances on the unknown, delve into something that is unfamiliar because it might end up being something you simply can’t stay away from.
What are some of your favorite jewelry trends to watch out for this fall?
- I would say that hand candy has been one of the biggest trends to catch my eye. I’m hoping to acquire a KMD ring. There is something incredibly elegant about hands, their movement, and capabilities – especially when adorned with some stunning rings. Plus, in the colder months the options are limited when it comes to exposed skin!
Michelle Obama is one of your most visible supporters! What has that been like?
- It’s an honour to work with First Lady. Not only is she a stylish, intelligent, dynamic woman, but she has access to everything in the market and wears what she likes so the relationship is 100% authentic.
What does the future hold for Kimberly McDonald?
- BIG THINGS! Wow, I wish I could tell you what is in store for the company. You are just going to have to wait and see.
Thank you to the Kimberly McDonald team, for letting me play in your life-sized treasure chest for one afternoon! My wish list has grown infinitely longer, and my fiancé has YOU to thank! For more information on Kimberly McDonald, check out their website: http://www.kimberlymcdonald.com/lku5yf59jdbqlebhg6mm9vgyfuxjt7
And thank you Max Zien for helping me put this video together