We're relatively simple people: we lust all over gorgeous jewelry and gems, we like to poke through old musty vintage stores, and we try to fit in a great '80s movie when we have time. Hence why we really admire people like Ashley Pittman, who, after getting her law degree and working in finance, volunteered for the Clinton HIV/AIDS Foundation in Rwanda in 2006. This life-changing experience in Africa inspired her to get personally involved, and she set out to build a sustainable company that would provide employment and business training to local artisans. Fast-forward to today: Pittman's line of bold, playful accessories not only employs more than 75 people in Kenya (where all the jewelry is made), but also insures that each employee is paid with fair wages, given opportunity for growth, and are even schooled in business development. We are smitten with the handcrafted pieces, all of which feature materials indigenous to East Africa, including repurposed horn, gems and bronze. Jewelry that looks good + designers who do good things = time well spent in our eyes.
What's your idea of ultimate luxury?
Not having to set an alarm clock...
The gemstone you are currently lusting after is...
African rubies! My birthstone.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another CFDA member, what would it be?
I am in love with Coomi's gold and antique coin necklaces...the combination of very old coins with beautiful craftsmanship makes them so special.
Where's the last place you visited that inspired your creativity? Give us some details!
I had such an amazing time in Marrakech. Wandering through the Jemaa al-Fnaa square at night is enchanting. There is a smokey haze in the air from the vendors cooking meat, families laughing and dancing, music, snake charmers, and plenty of things to buy. And of course, I could spend days wandering in the souks. The spice souk is my favorite...so beautiful.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, what would it be and why?
Libertine – Johnson's a close friend and I love his energy and enthusiasm for life
If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be?
I'm fascinated by medicine and would love to be a doctor.
Be honest – who is your celebrity crush?
What's your spirit animal and explain why.
Elephants – for their incredible memory and ability to show emotion.