Published in Plaid Magazine Online, September 2011
Photos provided by Fredrick Prince
Torontonian Melissa De Luca is the owner and designer of Fredrick Prince, a hand-crafted jewellery line born “With the power of a King and the class of a Queen.” She gave Plaid the scoop about her new line and how to host your own Fredrick Prince Soiree!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your education and business background? Did you always enjoy crafting jewellery?
Not always. I’ve been creative, but making jewellery just happened a few years ago. I graduated from the Humber College Fashion Arts program. After I finished school, I [worked] in a fashion buying office for four years. That was crazy.
What was it like creating your own brand? How has it expanded since 2009?
It’s been fun and very challenging. There’s always something to do, change, improve – it never stops. There has been lots of trial and error, and blood, sweat and tears – literally! It’s developed quite a bit; at first it was only available at local trade shows and fashion events. Now it’s available online and through retail outlets in Toronto and the GTA, and that list is growing.
You presently have three collections for the season: 925 Sterling (sterling silver pieces), Fall/Winter 2011 (bohemian-chic), and Holiday 2011 (festive gold and silver). Why did you choose to create three different collections for the season, and what is the inspiration behind each of them?
I wanted it to be easy to find exactly what the buyer is looking for. I feel like sterling silver is a staple and every woman should have at least one sterling silver necklace in their personal jewellery collection. I’m bored of seeing the same ‘ol silver necklaces and didn’t want to fall into that trap so I went with something that was functional and fashionable. The whistle blows, the flask and purse open, and the magnifying glass actually works – they are irresistible!
For the Fall/Winter collection, I decided primarily to work with brass plated chains and rough stones. It was something new for me, essentially an experiment that went really well. I’m really feeling the idea of the bohemian lifestyle, free-spirited wanderers with a curious eye. It’s a reflection of how I’m feeling right now.
For holiday, I went with the classic silver and gold. When I was making the pieces, I was thinking about my Christmas tree as a kid, which was covered in silver tinsel (not sure if they even make tinsel anymore, haha), and red and gold ornaments. Sounds like a disaster but somehow it always was pulled together and looked beautiful.
What differentiates your jewellery from other mass-produced costume jewellery in terms of the process, materials, and retailers?
Fredrick Prince is locally-made. Everything is hand picked and crafted from start to finish. I personally source products by traveling to the most amazing places and thinking outside of the box. I also purchase materials locally. All of the materials are quality tested at our studio. Everything I look at, I somehow think of incorporating it into jewellery. So if it’s art, it would be colour. [For] fashion, it would be using fabrics and buttons in jewellery. The list goes on and on.
What is your favourite piece in the collection?
Right now my favourites are the rough stone necklaces because I personally believe in the power of stones. I will choose a stone necklace based on how I am feeling that day. Lucky for me I have eight to choose from (Pyrite, Agate Druzy, Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Blue Chalcedony, Crystal Quartz, and Orange Calcite) I also love the Zodiac necklace because it has a connection to who I am.
Can you tell us about the Art of Fashion Designers Boutique that you are participating in on October 1st?
Yes, this is my favourite fashion event in Toronto hands down. There are ten fashion designers that compete to win an amazing prize package which includes cash and resources to successfully start their own fashion line. The contestants’ works are on display, usually within an elaborate set-up which gets the theme across quite clearly.
I love it because it’s interesting to see the designers’ different perspectives of the same theme. The designs are always wicked and very well made. Alongside the competition is the designer boutique (where you’ll find Fredrick Prince), where 20 designers from Toronto are hand picked to showcase and sell their product. The event coincides with Nuit Blanche, so the vibe is always so positive and open minded.
How do you become a “Style Icon” of Fredrick Prince? How does this connect you to your customers and supporters?
To become a Style Icon, buyers can go to our website and upload a photo of themselves wearing a piece of Fredrick Prince jewellery and submit one sentence describing their personal style. The idea behind it is that everyone can wear Fredrick Prince no matter what their style is. We have 16-year-olds to [people who are] 50-plus who wear Fredrick Prince – it’s amazing. It’s a chance to be seen with no judgment, just appreciated for who you are. In a way it’s saying thank you to all of our supporters by supporting their style.
How can I host my own Fredrick Prince Soiree?
Anyone can do it. We bring a complete set-up, you invite your friends, family, co-workers, whoever you want. It’s a good excuse to get together with the people you love and celebrate one of the things you love…jewellery! All the items we bring are for sale and the host receives perks. They can run as long or as short as the host likes.