After having unveiled her debut collection last year, jewelry designer Folasade Ologundudu’s shockingly seductive pendants and earrings have attracted almost cult like appeal. Finding Inspiration in the female figure, Folasade designs to empower women to nurture their femininity and sexuality. While her first collection offered a full assortment of 14K gold and sterling silver sexy silhouette pieces, Folasade is set to debut her latest collection, An Ode to the Game.
Q: Ripe has become very popular especially on the downtown NYC scene. Has the reception surprised you?
Yes, a little bit. The response from everyone has been amazing. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do what your passionate about, and have people connect with that.
Q: So when did you decide to start designing jewelry?
I played around for about a year. The final decision came right after the Golden Hanger pop-up shop. It was when I realized that there was something spectacular about what I was designing. No one had ever explored it, (it, meaning pin-ups) in such detail, so I spent the months that followed tweaking the collection.
Q: What was the most important thing you took with you after leaving jewelry company Bijules?
Let me take you back, pre Golden Hanger. Spring 2007, Jules and I are on the Lower East Side walking and talking. I’m conversing with her on my doubts about the jewelry. Jules looks at me, and I quote, “Sade, no one will ever buy into doubt, you have to be sure, you have to jump off that diving board, don’t wonder, just do it!” That was the single most important piece of advice I could have been given at that moment. I have such love and respect for her, because at a time when I was unsure of myself, she believed in me.
Q: What inspired the concept behind Ripe Jewelry?
Well yes, we have to talk about this! I was really getting tired of feeling like an observer in the life that I was living. If you’re in the downtown New York scene, then you know what I’m talking about. We’re a small group, designers and artists of various kinds, we all mesh and know each other and yet, we who are the reason for the creative movement itself aren’t the ones calling the shots. The parties, the clothes, the music, they are all inspired by youth culture, and I wasn’t seeing the youth in control of that movement. Only within the last few years has that happened. And street wear in this instance must be given its due credit, because you saw young people becoming business men and women, and it was very inspiring. Attending the parties and wearing the clothes, and having no aspirations above “the scene” looked and felt so passive, and I’m not one for that. I didn’t want to be a consumer anymore, I wanted to be totally immersed in our lifestyles, it happened to come out in the form of jewelry, but that drive and desire to be creatively active was more paramount than anything.
Q: What would you say is the most important aspect to you of the design process?
For me it’s all about product development. With the ‘La Femme Fatale’ collection, I debuted it during the summer of 2007, but for 5 to 6 months after that I worked on the collection, the tweaking and making changes. You start with an idea and end with the product, but everything in between that process is the most important, i.e. the execution.
Q: Which piece of Ripe Jewelry would you say represented you as a woman?
As of right now, the infamous Jezebel without a doubt! She’s a bad broad I swear, every time I put her on its like you cant mess with me!
Q: Who would you love to see wearing Ripe? What celebrities?
I’d love to see Chloe Sevigny in Ripe, she’s the quintessential downtown NYC girl. The Ripe consumer has a keen eye for fashion and crosses many lifestyles, being multicultural in tastes and ideas, but all in all it’s great to see anyone in Ripe.
Q: What makes Ripe different from other jewelry collections?
I don’t think of Ripe in terms of trying to be ‘different’ at all. I just do me, and no one else is doing what I am. The jewelry industry as we see it today, is stagnant, there aren’t that many women’s faces within the industry, and there damn well aren’t that many black faces within the industry, and with that said, as a black female designer, Ripe is already ‘different’ off the bat. But more, it comes from an innate feeling of knowing that I have something to offer the industry, I’m creating what you have never seen, and therefore I am filling a void.
Q: As a new designer where do you see Ripe going in the future?
A friend asked what my New Year’s resolution was, and over the blasting music I told her Mo’ Betta, Mo’ Betta, Mo’ Betta, and that’s what I see for Ripe! More great ideas manifested, expanding to bigger markets nationally and internationally. The industry is Ripe (pun intended!) for something new, and I’m passionate about bringing that to the table, and the boardroom!
Q: Tell us what to look forward to with the next collection.
In my head I’ve already done four collections! I swear I can’t stop thinking about more designs. The world will be waiting with baited breath! The new collection, ‘An Ode to the Game’, is a limited edition, six-piece collection about revisiting our childhoods. It’s a play on all things youthful and remembering that feeling of what you did, and where you played as a kid. I can’t wait!
For more information on Ripe Jewelry please visit ripejewelry.com