SSD: Can you tell us a bit about your process as a designer? It is always interesting to hear a bit about others’ creative processes.
SV: I’m such a hippy. My process starts with pure energy. I have to clear the air– so to speak. I do this every day. I wake up, burn incense, stand at my altar for a moment to collect my thoughts, make tea, and pray a bit (that’s my meditation) — there’s perfect peace in those moments. Then, I get to my desk.
Depending on the project is which desk I go to. I have a standing desk for designing jewelry where all of my tools, books, materials live. I just turn on some tunes and go to town. That type of art calls for classic hip hop or indie R&B.
If I’m doing desk work (most days), I go to my sitting desk with a desktop computer and laptop and lotttsss of notebooks. I turn on sound bath music to help keep the energy clear and then I start my emails.
My days are long, but those few moments in the morning are how I’ve learned to be kind to myself. I’m thankful for a team, so I don’t do everything.
SSD: What or where (or both) is your favorite source for inspiration and why?
SV: The Earth. Mama has many tricks. I have learned everything from nature and how finicky she is. I just listen and create.
SSD: What would you say is the most surreal difference between how things are for Adore Adorn now vs. when you first started?
SV: I thought I was starting Adore Adorn to heal some of my family’s wounds. I wanted for us to have something substantial to build upon. That job became so much larger when I recognized that we, humans, collectively need healing. That’s when everything changed.
I created the Heart Movement.
It’s a way for people to start to face their true selves and begin to heal.
That’s an entirely different article!
SSD: Funny you should mention that, because as a man with a (lengthy) mantra I say each morning, I’m a fan of other mantras when I see them in the wild, so the Heart Movement caught my eye…
…Which of those key points of the Heart Movement do you feel you’re most personally resonating with right now and why? (<< Unless “the why” is far too personal for you — I’m not trying to draw up any bad vibes – so please don’t feel pressed for detail if you’d rather not dive too deeply there)
SV: Never bad vibes. I feel total peace with my healing journey. [To answer your question,] I’m deep in my state of Love right now.
I have always expressed outward love and have/had partners that I love very deeply. Yet, through deeeeep trauma therapy, I’ve learned that that “love” was somewhat superficial. I have somewhat begun to turn a corner to identify what self-love looks like so that I can turn that outwards in a more realistic way.
The reason this doesn’t trigger negative emotions for me is because I know I’m not alone here. I know a lot of people that are covering up self-love with over-working, over-performing, drinking too much, or just blazing out on life. In 2020 I decided I didn’t just want to live, but to thrive. With some spiritual counselors, therapists, metaphysical journeys, etc… I can honestly say that I’m beginning to do that.
SSD: Has there ever been a piece that you designed that you loved so much that you didn’t want it produced for customers (like, you wanted it made – but only as a one-of-a-kind – haha – and maybe only for YOU)? And what do you do with designs that don’t make the cut to production?
SV: All of the time! If I had things my way, all of my designs would be one-of-a-kind pieces. I’m still working on building up that type of clientele. The type that can keep the lights on but not demand over-production of the same pieces.
My first year in business, I took a fashion master’s course and a very well-known designer led a talk. He said, owning a brand means that you’re going to get tired of producing your signature things because it’s going to be season after season iterating on the same things. I decided at that point I would be okay with that because I wanted a brand.
Still, the artist in me wants to keep my collections tight and close to the chest. Alas, duty calls.
SSD: Speaking of brands (I don’t know how you keep nailing these segues) – I see your brand showing up in magazines and shows a lot these days (congrats)!
While I know they’re all badges of honor, do you have one or two that stick out to you as the most cherished? If so, why?
SV: This is easy! Showing up in the press and TV shows that are written by Black women means so much to me. In December I received an Essence award for “Best Buys in 2021” for a piece of my jewelry. Also, I was featured in Insecure’s last season on HBO.
That one was special because the stylist (a Black woman) reached out and asked for Adore Adorn to be a part of it. My jewelry is pulled by many different people/shows/magazines and I never know if it’s going to actually make the final cuts–but it did. I had so much joy when I finally caught a moment to watch the season and saw my jewelry. I was late to the party and no one had mentioned it so I was watching it just for fun.
When my jewelry came across the screen so bright and shiny I just screamed like a little girl. Several of my jewels were worn by Issa and Molly in an episode where they featured all Black designers.
I feel like you have to be Black to understand what that means.
Sometimes we have a hard time supporting each other. I’m just happy to be in good company and liked by creatives that I look up to.
People often highlight these accolades but they don’t see the millions of emails, texts, FedEx runs, and problems that coincide with getting press. Last year, $3000 worth of my jewelry just came up missing with UPS after sending it to a magazine shoot. Yeah, they don’t talk about that. It’s a journey!
SSD: If you could select any celebrity spokesperson for your brand, who would you pick and why?
SV: I don’t believe in celebrities. That’s why you don’t see me forcing my brand down celebrities’ throats. I look up to artists. Some celebrities are artists, but that’s another thing. Celebrities have no loyalty whatsoever.
Of course, I love Rihanna, but she was a spokesperson for Chopard and has her own brand.
Did you see the Pharrell fiasco? He said he was supporting “Black Dreamers’ ‘ but as soon as the pandemic is almost over he goes and designs a pair of sunglasses with Tiffany. Well, the design was heavily borrowed from another designer.
Anyways. I don’t trust them too much. You have to be a true creator and not in it for money for me to trust you. I make jewelry for people, not for looks. I have some customers that have bought jewelry from me more than a dozen times. Those are my celebrities.
SSD: I’m going to randomly insert an appreciation moment here in the form of a small gallery of images because I just loved the energy of this moment. CLICK HERE if you want to enjoy some of Sasha’s POV on this one outside of those 5 images below.
SSD: Ok, back to the interview — Do you think that your Blackness gives you an advantage with consumers in an industry that is only about 1% Black, but constantly inspired by Black Culture? Why or why not?
SV: As much as the magazine articles tell you to support Black, people do what they want. I’m lucky to be Black and have customers. Period. Lol.
My Blackness gives me zero advantage. Most of my customers are non-Black and they support me because they enjoy my creativity. I think one day it will be an advantage but we’re not quite there yet.
SSD: Two Questions in this one to bring it home…
ADORE: To love with one’s entire heart and soul; regard with deep respect and affection — ADORN: To enhance the appearance of something by adding something beautiful (Definitions from Sasha’s site)…
First – What do you wish people adored more about themselves and others?
SV: I wish Black men and women (boys and girls) loved one another more universally. I’m troubled by the fact that we’re in this constant state of competition [City Girls vs City Boys]. It seems funny, but people are really internalizing this state of self-hate.
We are one and the same – but have lost complete control over our ability to completely love one another. That means looking deeper into our mistakes, attitudes, insecurities, and joy. I had a brother and I have sisters, so I can never bash a Black Woman or a Black Man, ‘cause I feel like I know too much about who they are holistically. It’s not me vs them. It’s us. Always.
SSD: Do you feel the value of beauty (by way of adornment) is undervalued or overvalued, and why?
SV: In ancient times beauty and adornment were used as a currency. What you wore told everyone else everything they needed to know about your family, economic status, and circumstances within the civilization. Gemstones, specifically, were worn for protection. Gold was worn as a status symbol. We are all very ancient.
No, I don’t think adornment is overvalued. I think people may be misusing it. I think labels are over-glorified. But I have a label, so it’s difficult to quantify.
I want ultimately, when someone wears my art, that they feel something – and that it triggers a state of true identity. But a person, our community, must face who they are for that inner beauty to be triggered.