I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I shop and where I purchase my clothes from. In our search for convenience and fast fashion, it seems that a lot of traditional craft practices are beginning to get lost. For me, it has become increasingly important to purchase fewer pieces for my closet by buying items that are well-made, that I truly love, and that will stand the test of time. Consequently, in my search for quality craftsmanship, I have set out to find artists in Toronto who are making beautiful clothes and accessories and maintaining traditional artistic practices. I will be featuring these artists and small business owners on my blog and I hope that it will inspire you to shop locally as well.
In March, I spoke with Della Chiu who is a certified Jack of all Trades and the founder of Air-Row Jewellery (“Air-Row”). After receiving a degree in Media Studies specializing in Photography from the University of Guelph-Humber, Della started working at Risque Clothing in the Annex where she has worked for the last six years. She now serves as their General Manager, Head Stylist, Assistant Buyer, and Visual Merchandiser and is responsible for many of the photographs behind their Instagram account. Della’s style represents minimalism at its best: clean and simple without being boring. While not professionally trained in jewellery making, Della started Air-Row five years ago as a creative outlet. After searching for the perfect necklace, she was inspired to create her own jewellery line which led to the birth of Air-Row and her pieces are now sold at Risque Clothing as well as through personal commissions.
Specializing in wire-wrapping jewellery with a focus on crystal and gem necklaces Della gains inspiration from social media, fashion bloggers, people watching, art galleries, and other jewellery lines. She believes that it is important for artists to expose themselves to other creative practices outside of the medium they are working with by watching films, reading, and going to galleries. While Della would like to expand her jewellery line and currently promotes it through social media and word of mouth, she is primarily focused on her current client base. By avoiding catering to a mass market, Della has been able to make connections with the people who appreciate her craftsmanship most. By taking the time to use traditional techniques and quality materials, Della hopes to use her jewellery to add to women’s wardrobes and create an outlet to expose the amount of artistic talent that exists in Toronto. Her work is proof that you never know what you’re capable of achieving until you try and the importance of using style as a way to please yourself instead of others.
Della certainly inspired me to appreciate the work and dedication that goes into hand making jewellery, to streamline my wardrobe, and to be more confident in my own personal style. I hope that her jewellery line will also inspire you to shop local and to look within yourself and around the city of Toronto for further fashion inspiration. If you are interested in checking out Air-Row, you can find Della’s work on Instagram @airrow_jewellery.