A R&D project dedicated to understanding the notion of safety and commissioning jewelry designers to create a collection around it
Growing up in India wasn’t easy. It is a place where hundreds women are sexually assaulted every day. It is so common that it becomes a part of our everyday lives; we’ve become desensitized to it. Like all Indian females, I’ve dealt with these issues too. I was four years old when I was sexually harassed for the first time. I didn’t even know what it meant at that time. I wish that was the first and last time it happened, but that wasn’t the case.
As I grew up, this was part of my norm. Being stared at. Being called out inappropriately. Being whistled at. Being followed. Being touched inappropriately. This happened in some way or another to every single girl around me. Sadly, instead of anger, it instilled fear. Fear to wear what we wanted to. Fear to go where we wanted to. Fear to speak up. My experiences growing up informed my decision to delve into this problem. A problem that doesn’t exclusively exist in India but all around the world. According to UN 1 in every 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point of time in their lives.
Through this project I want to empower women to start feeling safe again.
This is the question I started with. I wanted to know what women did when they thought someone was following them or didn’t feel safe in a deserted neighborhood I started exploring different objects that might instill the feeling of safety in women. Objects that women carried or wore everyday. This how 'Enable' was born.
'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. Pieces of jewelry that someone would be proud to wear everyday, that conceal weapons. These could potentially help women and girls in danger. To achieve this, I am collaborating with six jewelry designers from all around the world to design these pieces jewelry. This is a 6 month long project that aims fund the research and development of this jewelry collection - from research to testing. These designers are from India, South Korea and different parts of United States.
We will be breaking down this program into 4 big milestones:
Research - To conduct extensive research to understand different women's notion of safety and what can be done to make them feel better. 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.
Prototyping - Keeping the design principles in mind and taking inspiration from the research and their own experiences, the designers will explore different possibilities to designing the pieces of jewelry. To test their theories they will prototypes.
Testing - We will then test our prototypes and reiterate our designs depending on the feedback we receive to finally produce the pieces of self defense jewelry.
Selling - Finally, we will put these pieces of jewelry on sale.
From Day 1 of our design process, we want you to be involved in this project. We want you to be a part of 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. Its for women and by women. I not only wanted to build a collection of self- defense jewelry but also build a community around this issue. This is to raise questions and start conversations. To empower women. To get them together. To make them realize that they are capable of more. This is to create one less barrier between them and their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
I need your money and support to
1. To conduct research: We will be interviewing at least 50 women coming from different backgrounds to talk to us about their past experiences dealing with sexual harassment and abuse.
2. To pay commission to the jewelry designers: We need money to build different prototypes and test the pieces of jewelry before we put it out in the market.
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 a couple of 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. Sneha's collections are often described as ‘jewelry for the non-jewelry wearer’. Where 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 paired down to their basic forms. All work work can be found at : theoliostories.com
Emily Johnson (Minneapolis, USA)
Emily C Johnson is an artist and studio jewelry 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 art 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.
Dasom Kang (South Korea)
Da Som Kang, born and raised in South Korea, is currently studying fashion design at FIT in New York. Previously, she studied jewelry design and received her BFA in Gongju University in South Korea. While growing up Da Som's parents gave her a 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.
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
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 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 a 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 US. 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 new found philosophies to ponder about culture, society, gender, race and much more. Using jeweler, along with other mediums, Sheppard expresses the challenges she faces as a solo traveler, as well as the random acts of kindness. Sheppard is a self taught jeweler/metalsmith and has shown her work world wide. 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.
In the future I want to extend this project beyond just 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.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for this project will be finding people to talk to and actually 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
- (43 days)