I originally encountered Misty Sidell briefly about a year ago during a dinner with some mutual friends. I remember hearing her make a comment about a ring that she had just made, and I remember quickly glancing over to look at what she was talking about. Sure enough, I saw something pretty fabulous, but at the same time, I didn’t really think anything of it. After all, I was at a dinner with all of my friends who go to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Of course the people I was surrounded by at the moment had talent. After that evening, however, I never saw Misty again. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago, when I was trying to find some eye-catching jewelry online for back-to-school, that I remembered Misty’s work. I decided to do a little research on this, since I remember her saying that she had her own line. Sure enough, I found an article on comparing Misty to Alexander Wang and detailing his own personal advice to her. So, of course, since this girl is still impressing me a year after I barely met her, I had to interview her as my designer of the week.

CollegeFashionista: So, what was it like getting personal advice from Alexander Wang himself?

Misty Sidell: It was so surreal, just because he’s kinda encountered similar situations to me, only 4 years prior. Everything I was going through at that moment, he had gone through at that same point in his life…the experience was really full and enriching, so it was hard to be completely in awe. But then again, I want to be a fashion journalist, and to observe Jane Herman interviewing the both of us at the same time was the most surreal.

CF: How old were you when you first started making your own jewelry pieces?

MS: I’ve always been making jewelry. My grandparents inherited our family business, which is a chain of jewelry stores located across New England. I remember going to Cape Cod in the summer and making jewelry from age 5 on. When I moved to New York 2 years ago, I started to work for What Goes Around Comes Around, and the technical designer told me to make my own line since I always wore the jewelry I made. I honestly thought she was crazy – who would want something from me? And then I interned at Paper Magazine, when one day they used my jewelry during a shoot. They told me I had to make a name for them to credit, and that’s how my line started. It was unbelievable, because I had made this necklace a year and a half before, before I even went to college, and now this same necklace was going to be in the magazine.

CF: What can you tell me about your jewelry line, Misty by MWS? Are you doing anything new for fall?

MS: Right now, I’m in the process of finishing both my spring line and my fall line simultaneously. It’s a little crazy right now since I do my own design, production, and press. It’s really a one woman show, and since everything is happening while I’m interning and going to school, I’ve been really busy trying to get everything done. What I really wanna do right now is make my line more simple. I’m kind of sick of the whole bib-statement-necklaces direction. You can only wear a so-called statement necklace 5 times before it becomes completely boring, so it defeats the purpose. Jewelry should be something personal. I think that a lot of jewelry has been so mass produced that the women who are actually wearing these pieces feel alienated, like there’s no connection between the piece and them personally…hand-making jewelry and having a really personal touch on something makes a tangible difference. That’s why I try to make my jewelry semi-precious. I use real pearls – a glass bead is the lowest quality I’ll ever use. I would never use a plastic or a resin in my pieces. As a result, I gear everything to a fine jewelry aesthetic while maintaining a costume theme. Everything is supposed to be layered. It’s not loud jewelry. It’s definitely not where trends are headed now, but I’m totally fine with that. It shouldn’t overwhelm the market. I’m creating the alternative to that.

CF: Where do you find inspiration for your jewelry pieces?

MS: I’m attracted to balance – grunge vs. delicate, chunky vs. thin, etc. I feel like I can find this balance everywhere in the Garment District. For example, I think the Garment District is so grungy, yet it’s the place where Carolina Herrera dresses are created and made.

CF: Who do you hope wears your jewelry?

MS: I don’t really care, as long as whoever’s wearing my jewelry really feels like it belongs to them, that no one has what they have. I want them to truly feel like my jewelry is part of them. I feel like jewelry can be such a part of someone’s life, since it can be passed on generation to generation. That’s what I want for my jewelry to be – to be one of the most sentimental items someone can own.

CF: So where can I buy your pieces?

MS: My line is going to be in 8 stores this fall nationwide, including 10 over 6 in L.A., Roslyn in Chicago, Albertine in the West Village in N.Y.C., and Uncle Pete’s, a new store on 12th Street in Boston.

CF: What’s your goal in the long run?

MS: I’d like to become a fashion news editor eventually. I enjoy giving fashion a voice, which is why I like my jewelry line, since it’s honestly jewelry that’s very personal. Fashion so often is smoke and mirrors, and no one can really see or understand what’s happening in a picture most of the time. You can see a photo but not know its background. Writing gives a voice to what normally doesn’t have a voice.

Needless to say that after almost all of Misty’s responses, I was even more impressed with her. She is extremely thoughtful – everything she does seems to have meaning, and the fact that she is only 20-years-old still stuns me. No doubt that this voice that she wants to give will be heard, whether it’s through her jewelry or through achieving her ultimate goal as a fashion journalist. Check out an exclusive first look at some of her newest jewelry pieces, photographed by Leia Jospe.

All photos by: Leia Jospe

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