I first learned of Rosena Sammi back in 2008 when I was a fashion editor in NYC. Working on an upcoming shoot with India-born Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef fame, I was on the hunt for some bold jewelry options which I had been informed Padma hoped to wear for her photos. I came across Rosena's collection, the pieces were the perfect style, and the rest is history. I've been a fan ever since of her modern designs with their stunning cultural influences. In addition to the beautiful styles that Rosena creates, the brand also makes an impact by offering charitable donations from sales of their "Who's Sari Now?" collection. We talked to the busy, working mom to learn a little more about her inspiration and creative process.
Swoon For: How did you first become interested in jewelry design?
Rosena: It was quite by accident. I was a lawyer by day, while at night attending classes at Parsons School of Design simply as a way to engage my creativity. Little did I know that I would take this passion and turn it into a career.
Swoon For: What do you love most about your work?
Rosena: I love the ability to be creative while connecting with my culture. I have always had a fascination with traditional South Asian design; my jewelry translates this inherent love into modern wearable pieces. I’m also very motivated by the mission behind my Who’s Sari Now? Collection, made by survivors of sex trafficking in India using upcycled saris. It’s wonderful to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their children.
Swoon For: Who are your role models in the world of design and why?
Rosena: Donna Karen particularly inspires me. The work she is doing through her Urban Zen Foundation to raise awareness about preserving cultures around the world is very powerful.
Swoon For: Tell us a little about what inspired you to develop your charitable Who's Sari Now? collection.
Rosena: After many years in the business I realized that helping people was more important to me than jumping on the next trend. I was fortunate enough to meet the founder of Apne Aap, Ruchira Gupta. She was inspiring and since I was looking to give back to the community, her organization, which rescues women and children from sex trafficking in India and provides them with a job and education was the perfect match! 20-25% of proceeds from sales go towards educating these young children and I employ many of the women in making the collection. Changing lives in this way has been so rewarding.
Swoon For: What inspires you most, where do you pull design inspiration from?
Rosena: Working in New York it’s easy to find inspiration! And as a working mom, I’m also always creating pieces that work for me in my busy lifestyle—pieces that are easy to take from a play date to a cocktail party.
Learn more about Apne Aap and Rosena's "Who's Sari Now?" collection here and be sure to checkout the designs of Rosena's we're selling in the shop. Earrings, rings and necklaces are up for offer and each is a true statement piece.