Today you get to meet a new favourite, Elana Ginsberg. Why should you love her? Just scroll through the slideshow above and see the bespoke goldsmith build everything by her own hand, in her Queen West studio for her label Kvell & Co.. Her creations are truly spectacular, never mind one-of-a-kind, Ginsberg has an eye for gem stones to die for, and my personal favourite, art deco settings. You should also fall in love because Ginsberg grew her company over the past 10 years with vim and vigour. Plus opened two cafés/bars on the side, one still standing that you may have imbibed a few in—Unit Bar, the one with no sign.
Ginsberg had me over to her studio one hot hot summer day and let me touch and play and ask a million questions about her creative process. We chatted about business, being creative, and the idea of limits.
Read on to see our Q+A with Elana and don’t let the tattoos fool you, she’s sweet as pie.
1. Age, and preferred title?
30, Empress. Hahaha, Bespoke Goldsmith.
2. When did you fall in love with fashion, precisely?
Probably the moment I realized it could be whatever I wanted it to be, so at birth?! Nah, honestly, I think it was when I read this article on Diane Von Frustenberg when I was in my early twenties. She was talking about how she was the woman she had dreamed she would be as a child. That was probably the moment that I realized what “fashion” actually was in terms of personal style. Its an elegance, your character, and a lifestyle, not an accessory. It’s representational of a movement and the presentation of your being. If you allow it to be.
3. When did you know you wanted to make a career out of fashion?
Its funny because I never really thought that I had a career in fashion! I don’t adhere to trends, I don’t produce a “spring/summer” collection… I guess I just always thought that I make shit for a living, whether that’s something that people wear, or look at, or sit on, I just make. When did I know that I wanted it to be my career?! Probably when my Dad told me it was time to stop struggling and get a real job. I value his opinion so I actually considered his advice. Then I realized that I didn’t even know how to write a resume and that I had actually never worked for anyone other than myself! All I could think is well, do whatchu know, do it well, and make that shit work. So here we are.
4. With your eponymous label you have also designed for brands, others in the past, how do you find a balance between your personal work and when you are designing for someone else?
I have the luxury within my own work to be able to create my own deadline sessions so generally if a project invokes passion, I can make it happen. And typically, when I need a break from my own shit, the universe has a way of presenting other opportunities, whether it’s with a side project, label or whatever. So more often than not, the balance comes naturally, or so I think….
5. What is your favourite part of the creative process?
The speed. I love the rush when something inside your head clicks and you just go. I’m not naturally a creative being, I’m a very technical person, so the “creative process” is sometimes pretty difficult for me. However, when I get into it, its pretty awesome.
6. If you were reincarnated and could do anything you wanted, what would it be?
I’d totally be an acrobat. (like for real)
7. Favorite Canadian designers?
Too many to name. We have a really great community here in Toronto. Klaxon Howl and Hoi Bo are two my favourites, their attention to the small details kinda blows my mind. The guys at Castor are doing awesome things in the design world, they don’t do fashion, but they’re dope. My business partner Matt Beckerle continuously blows my mind with what comes out of his head (and I’m not just saying that). The guy has taught me more about design than any school ever could and his work is amazing. Its crazy being able to watch that process first hand every day.
8. Favorite Toronto boutiques?
Fawn, The Future of Francis Watson, Klaxon Howl, and Nomad—I love menswear almost as much as I love men
9. Dinner spot?
Ooohhhh, thats a hard one! I have a bar as well and the hours usually aren’t conducive with going out, so typically I cook for myself. I also physically train pretty hard, so eating out isn’t really a good option for me, its too tempting!
My homegirl Kym’s kitchen. She makes me breakfast everyday when I hit up her spot in BK. It’s the best start to a day, EVER.
Besides Unit?! Gimme a good tequila and I’m happy.
Any spot that I’m with my homegirls. They make the party really… Oh, and behind my bar, thats always hilarious.
13. Favourite spot?
Give me water, and I’m pretty happy. Which is weird because I cant really swim. My dad pulled me out of swimming lessons when I was a kid because the instructor threw me in. “she goes in the pool when she says she wants to go in the pool!” Hahaha, explain much?!
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Anyone want to post a picture of their own piece of Kvell & Co.?