This is a question I asked the women in my life. I wanted to know if there were times that they felt unsafe like myself during their commutes. The response was overwhelming. I learned that this feeling is common and began to explore how we might be more prepared for uncertain situations that could occur in our everyday lives?
What if there were objects that could instill us with a feeling of safety that we could carry or wear everyday? This is the concept behind Enable, a line of self-defense jewelry created by women, for women. I am collaborating with six jewelry designers to make this happen.
I’m asking for your financial support to conduct research with women from around the world to understand their experiences, to create prototypes that can be properly tested before sending them to market, and to commision the jewelry designers for their talent and dedication to this project.
Growing up in India wasn’t easy. It’s a place where hundreds of women are sexually assaulted each day, almost to the point of desensitization. Like most Indian women, I’ve dealt with these issues too. I was four years old when I first experienced sexual harassment. I didn’t even know this was the term for what was happening at the time. I wish that was the first and last time it happened, but that wasn’t the case. Being stared at. Being called out inappropriately. Being whistled at. Being followed. Being touched inappropriately. This is my norm and this is the norm for every single girl around me. Sadly, instead of defiance, it instilled fear. Fear of wearing what we wanted to. Fear of going where we wanted. Fear of speaking up when we needed to.
My decision to delve into this problem is a direct influence from my experiences growing up a woman. A problem that doesn’t exclusively exist in India but all around the world. According to the UN, 1 in every 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Through this project I want to empower women to start feeling empowered as opposed to feeling afraid. I am asking for you to financially back and share the Enable campaign to make this project a reality that can help women all over the world.
Enable is a research and development design project that aims to create a collection of self- defense jewelry made by women from around the world.
These would be pieces of jewelry that someone would be proud to wear every day, that could also be used as self-defense weapons. My hope is that they could potentially help women and girls feel more secure, and if needed, in times of danger. To achieve this, I am collaborating with six jewelry designers from all around the world to design these pieces jewelry.
From Day 1 of our design process, we want you to be involved with our project and take part in this journey. We want to check in with you, update you about our progress, take feedback and eventually put it in your hands..
This is not just any jewelry or any program. It’s for women and by women. More than building a collection of self-defense jewelry, I want to build a safe and proactive community around this issue. Let’s raise questions and start conversations. Let’s empower women, and make them realize they are capable of feeling and being safe. Let’s remove the barriers keeping them from their hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been in touch with designers from across the world that are dedicated to working with me to create Enable.
Sneha Saksena (New Delhi, India)
Born and raised in New Delhi, Sneha is a fashion and lifestyle accessories designer who studied at NIFT, Ahmedabad for 4 years. After that she worked for an indie label called bhane as jewelry designer for two years. Determined to break from conventions and eager to design everyday wearable clothing and accessories for women, Sneha started her own label called OLIO a year ago.
Informed by traditional craft practices and jewelry-making experience, Sneha's design is enduring and full of covetable pieces for everyday use and enjoyment. Sneha is always eager to explore new mediums and techniques and allows the materials to guide her. Her collections are often described as ‘jewelry for the non-jewelry wearer.’ Each piece of jewelry is made with care and given special attention to detail, embracing natural imperfections of the hand at work. Inspired by travels, modern design, and an appreciation for well-made objects and heirlooms, Sneha's work includes handcrafted, metal-made jewelry and simple everyday adornments pared down to their basic forms. All of her work can be found at: www.theoliostories.com
Carrie Mae Rose (USA)
Carrie Mae Rose is an artist, technologist, and seeker, whose research overlaps into the fields of fine art, technology, fashion, science, and mysticism. Rose’s work has evolved from her Wearable Weapon sculptures series made from TSA scissors and razor blades to creating sculptures, prints, and Computational Couture with a 3D printer and embedded with technology. Her current project, Solar Species, involves a dynamic team who is building and testing, using EEG & HPV sensor feedback, a set of Bodycrowns, Bodysuits, and Bodypods to train future astronauts in meditation. She has participated in events with the Brooklyn Museum, Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, Microsoft Social Computing Symposium, NY Hall of Science, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, IgniteNYC, Princeton Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, and Parsons, The New School for Design. Recently in New York, she has exhibited work in BETA Spaces, Devotion Gallery, Gallery 151, Con Artist Collective, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and an online MoMA project entitled Design & Violence.
Carrie Mae holds an M.F.A. in Design and Technology from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City and a B.A. from Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona. More of her work can be found at http://carriemae.com.
Casey Sheppard (Los Angeles, USA)
Nomad jeweler Casey Sheppard lives on the road in a converted live/work space traveling across the U.S. 2 years ago, Sheppard left a successful career in Los Angeles for an unexpected adventure. The transition from a life of normalcy to a life of wandering has opened up newfound philosophies to ponder about culture, society, gender, race, and much more. Using jewelry, along with other mediums, Sheppard expresses the challenges she faces as a solo traveler, as well as the random acts of kindness she encounters. Sheppard is a self taught jeweler/metalsmith and has shown her work worldwide. She is also a published writer, mountain biker, lecturer, educator, classic cocktail wench, adventurer, animator, community gatherer, brand ambassador and really a Jack-of-all-Trades.
Emily Johnson (Minneapolis, USA)
Emily C. Johnson is an artist and studio jeweler from Minneapolis, MN. Emily received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a concentration in sculpture. She’s worked in the art and design fields since college, including work as Assistant Curator at a contemporary art gallery and Gallery Director for a high-end custom jewelry gallery in Minneapolis, MN. In 2009, she left to pursue her jewelry line, EC Design, full-time, and continually draws from her fine arts background to create unique and sculptural pieces of jewelry.
Often described as subtle, but edgy, EC Design jewelry is a playful mix of simple shapes and unexpected details. In addition to her collections presented in galleries throughout the nation, Emily creates unique, custom wedding and commitment rings. Her work has appeared in Lark books, 500 Gemstone Jewels, American Style Magazine, Art Jewelry Magazine, Niche, and Modern Midwest. In 2012 her Cell Band wedding set was named winner for Best Wedding Ring in the 2012 Niche Awards.
Manuela Jimenez (Philadelphia, USA)
Manuela Jimenez was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She graduated from Los Andes University with a degree in Industrial Design. Following graduation, she set up her own studio focusing on jewelry, where she worked independently for two years under her own brand in several commissions, development of technical skills, and personal projects. In 2011, she pursued an MFA in Jewelry+Metals at the Rhode Island School of Design where simultaneous to her education, was able to participate in several student exhibitions and other outside venues. After graduation, she has worked for different companies in the jewelry industry. Currently, Manuela is a Jewelry Designer and Studio Coordinator at Bario-Neal in Philadelphia, PA and New York City. Her own work can be found at www.manuelajimenez.com
Da som Kang (South Korea)
Born and raised in South Korea, Da Som Kang is currently studying fashion design at FIT in New York. Previously, she studied jewelry design and received her B.F.A. at Gongju University in South Korea. While growing up, Da Som's parents gave her self-defense equipment and instead of making her feel safe, it made her realize how harsh and cold this world actually was. Da Som is now determined to make sure that girls don't feel the way she did.
We will be breaking down the project into 4 parts, each ending in significant milestones:
Continuing to conduct extensive research to understand a diverse cross section of women's notions of safety and what can be done to make them feel more secure, is the necessary foundation for Enable. The aim of this research is to gain insights into building this product and formalize design principles which will define the basis of the jewelry we create.
With solid design principles in mind and taking inspiration from research and their own experiences, the designers will explore different possibilities of jewelry design. To test their theories they will build prototypes.
We will then test our prototypes and iterate our designs based on the feedback we receive, before producing our first collection of self-defense jewelry.
We want to showcase our designs in an exhibition and then finally, we will bring Enable to market, making it available to women worldwide.
In the future, I want to extend this project beyond jewelry. I want to create a platform for creative minds to come together and change the way women are perceived, by themselves and by the world around them.
These are a few custom enamel pins you get on backing this project:
A special shout out to:
Christina Xu, Gary Chou, Catalina Spinel, Victoria Tillotson, Juan Pablo Buriticá, Melanie Moore, Christopher Rand, Amy Ashida, Sebastian Harmsen, Wolfgang Gil, Ruth Tupe, Nour Maleb, Katarina Yee, Azu Roma <3
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for this project will be finding people to talk to and building products that people find useful on a daily basis, as the notion of safety is personal and unique to each person.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (9 days)