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Erika Designs For The Curious

Jewelry designer and lover of life – Erika Pena creates for the curious.

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Name, rank and serial number please…

Erika Peña. Top rank. Serial number: 252

How did you grow up?

In my early years I grew up in Puerto Rico, where I was born, then we moved to Miami and eventually to Fort Myers, a small coastal town on the west coast of Florida – think of any Jimmy Buffett song and Key West. Then it was on to NYC.

What was most important to you when you were young?

Being creative, designing, dancing and being with my family and friends.

Was there one event that occurred during your early years that taught you a life lesson?

Yes – my father died when I was 13. I learned that life is short and we need to value it and express and create everything while we have the opportunity to do so.

How and when did you get into fashion?

I remember wanting to be a designer since the age of four, but my mom tells me that I would pick out my own clothing when I could barely walk and talk. So I guess at three years old?

Tell us about your jewelry…

I’ve always been inspired by jewelry, even when I was designing clothing.

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Especially the jewelry of primitive and tribal groups. I remember being so taken by the beauty of adornments created from limited resources. So one day when things weren’t going as planned, I was out of job and flat broke, I started making earrings from a beautiful shell lamp from Bali and that’s how I got started. Sometimes at the lowest times in your life opportunities come to us and they become a blessing.

Many of the pieces are very bold…

I like bold pieces, statement pieces. I guess growing up in the ’80s I was inspired by Robert Lee Morris and Christian Lacroix. I design jewelry for the woman who wants to feel like a Goddess.

Who would you like to see wearing your work?

A strong woman, a traveller, someone curious.

How competitive is the world in which you exist?

Very, but I don’t feel threatened. In fact I like competition. I like to see other people creating beauty. There’s enough room in the world for all of our designs. One day you’re the IT designer and the next it’s someone else. Anything different from that would be very boring.

Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?

From places I visit, people I meet, photographs, buildings. I am very much inspired by Bali.

Do you tend to follow fashions with your designs and if not, how do you pick the next trend?

I just design. I try not to look too much at fashion magazines and just go with what I’m feeling at the moment. Often I design collections that don’t sell for two seasons and then all of the sudden they start selling . . . because it has become a trend. I try to design timeless pieces that withstand the pressures of time and are just beautiful in and of themselves.

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When did you discover that Bali was the place for jewelry production?

Two friends brought me here, and as soon as I stepped off the plane I felt this was my place. I loved the people, the energy and the creative spirit. It’s a blessed island.

Where can we buy your jewelry?

I sell worldwide but also at ModaOperandi.com or at www.erikapena.com or at my Erika Peña Bali boutique on Jalan Padang Linjong No 38 (across from Samadi Village) in Echo Beach, Canggu …

When’s the next big showing of your designs?

Miami Swimwear & Resort week. We’re showing at the Hammock Show in the W Hotel.

When will we next have lunch?

Whenever you like, I’ll be waiting your call!

Thanks for your time Erika.