Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Peace-is Of Bianca

Jamaica is full of great fashion talent and one such talented one is my friend Bianca Bartley, designer and jewelry-maker for the house, Peace-is Of Bianca. We party and socialize all the time, but as a firm believer in the strength of her talent, I decided to interview her professionally in an effort to introduce you to this great and wonderful woman.

1. At what age did you start designing jewelry? 

Well, professionally I started in summer 2008; I’m timeless- I don’t divulge my age lol!

2. How is designing jewelry different from designing apparel?

I think of jewelry AS apparel in a sense… to me accessorizing can make or break an outfit and without the right accessories- u may as well not wear the clothes cause no justice is done to the ‘peace’ OR the outfit, so I treat them as one in the same. Personally my outfits are focused AROUND my accessories- it’s like you're decorating a Christmas Tree, u keep adding till the look is JUST right. My main focus of design right now, however is my jewelry.

3. Would you consider branching out to designing apparel, or are you satisfied with doing jewelry and accessories?

I like to think of myself as the next ‘Martha Stewart’ or ‘Cynthia Rowley’ for the world- except I am Bianca Bartley- Peace-is of Bianca… I plan to do IT ALL not just fashion.(smile)
4. Describe the aesthetic of Peace-is Of Bianca.
Peace-is of Bianca- every aspect of it is ART! In every sense of its being- whether visual, literary or performing- YES performing too! It’s a reflection of all that I see, think, feel, taste and smell. It’s like literally wearing and experiencing the world! I love to USE all we have around us, re-invent the ‘norm’ and push boundaries. My tag line is ‘defy conventionality’. Peace-is of Bianca is really a ‘peace' of me- a constant pushing of the ‘SAYS WHO??’ boundary!

5. Tell us how you came up with the name for the line.

I always mess with words, break them up to the roots and look at what they really are saying, like beautiful-Beauty-full for example. Even people’s names.. I rarely call someone close to me by their proper name.. I always find some version of it that suits how I think or feel about them.
When I came up with ‘Peace-is’ as a play on the word ‘pieces’ it was at a point where I became at peace with all that I am and stand for… no frills just simply- ME-BIANCA , no compromise, with the realization of ALL that I AM and have to offer in terms of my creative/artistic ability and ME as a person, I decided that I wanted to share each ‘piece’ of me- my words, my time, jewelry, make-up art, philanthropic efforts, photography, general design and all else I’m sure I’ll fall in love with at some point- with the world. I don’t think we’ve come to ‘this place’ for ourselves; I think we come to serve those around us and live to the best of our ability, trying to make the world as beautiful and harmonic as it can be. It sounds corny but I really believe in achieving world peace. Giving myself the suggestion ‘Peace-is OF Bianca’ forces me to constantly monitor myself in helping to achieve this, no matter how small an effort, it may be. SO Peace-is of Bianca is really a brand for each ‘peace’ of me that will surface at different stages throughout my service. 

6. How does styling tie in with you being a jewelry-maker?

As I alluded to earlier, I may do things a bit backwards, in that the BASIS of a fabulous look to me- are accessories- that’s why they’re called just that! That little something in a house, on a car or on a person that completes the look and appeal. I like when clothes complement the accessories. I find that both internationally and locally there are few designers of both clothing and jewelry that really push the envelope… we’re recycling too many eras past and its very boring to me. I love DIFFERENT! To me, couture lines are everyday wear! I hate being a uniformed ‘square’ and find that many people get stuck in that because of the typical options and examples we’re given. I LIVE outside the box and invite all freeforms stuck in their squares to just step out and LIVE YOU! People will look at me and say they wish they could do my ‘look’ I say WHY CAN’T YOU? Do what you feel! Some people need some help finding their style or getting it ‘right’ and  I love to dress people and help them improve their mood, feel and opinions of themselves for the better!

7. Who do you design for, who is the ideal Peace-is Of Bianca client?

I laugh every time this question is posed to me because of my answer. In all honestly I design with MYSELF in mind… every peace I do is for ME! I have to LOVE it, FEEL it as a part of ME, otherwise I discard it or never re-produce it! The irony of it is that I don’t own ONE SINGLE PEACE of my own. Which is why a typical Peace-is of Bianca client is like meeting a different side of myself. They are people that LOVE ‘different’ and have a high appreciation for art, nature and life, which are what my peace-is all reflect.

8. Tell me some of your favourite famous clients and where has some of your pieces shown up?

Hmmm... this is a hard one...  I really love designing for Attorney-at-law and socialite Simone Bowie- she’s almost like a muse for me and she LOVES exclusive designs like myself… even with my exclusive designs, i've re-designed for her for obvious exclusivity lol. Sarah Moss-Solomon, CEO of boutique Two Dragon Fly is also a fave of mine- she really loves my stuff especially my yellow ‘Tropics in Bloom’ earrings, she calls her ‘happy earrings’- I think she wears them almost every day. I got an email from someone the other day whose father saw Sarah in the airport and fell in love with them! I love that my peace-is affect mood… that’s what I want. Ms.Empress Mullings, Public Personality and co-owner of boutique Stanley& Empress, has given Barbados a glimpse of Peace-is of Bianca at Caribana. She literally stripped me of four of my prototypes on the spot before she left Jamaica a few months back. Queen Ifrica also wore a yellow ‘Tropics in Bloom’ ring for the launch of her newly released album Montego Bay. A new client of mine that I like working with is Patrice Wilson of Bars-To-Go- we’ve had one meeting and it’s like we were so in sync with the outfits she selected before coming for my peace-is.
Where have my Peace-is shown up?
My big debut for Peace-is of Bianca was in Skywritings magazine’s July-August issue. Dexter Pottinger, who is also a forward thinking designer and stylist, mused them for the shoot. It has made my ‘vintage whimsical’ neck-peace turn heads even more! Ali Lue, who is an awesome designer invited me to do the June ‘Island Couture’ show where I accessorized her line, after which I was invited by the Festival Commission to do the accessories for the launch of Jamaica Festival 2009 at the Jamaica Pegasus. I had the opportunity of doing an amazing shoot for the summer (July) issue of BUZZZ Caribbean’s swimsuit spread featuring Kris Kelli and the gorgeous, upcoming model Toni Hibbert. Page Two in the Jamaican Observer has also caught many of my Peace-is on some of my favourite clients and promoters. After taking Sumfest by storm, Peace-is of Bianca was asked to be interviewed and was featured in the Gleaner’s FLAIR Monday August 3, 2009 and as a result of that has been invited to appear on the popular local morning show- Television Jamaica’s Smile Jamaica on the 11th of August 2009.

9. What are the plans for the Peace-is Of Bianca line for the next 5 years and are there any plans to have a boutique where anyone can view and access your pieces? or do you plan to keep it super-exclusive?

I never plan- i'm going to do it all! No limits. Clients will soon be able to view some of my popular peace-is at a location to be disclosed. However, I like to have a hand in assisting them with choosing a peace that suits them personally, not just one they like- one that is in perfect synergy with who they ARE so I will for the most part keep it exclusively by appointment and consultations. Since I am the sole designer and producer of these peace-is for the time being and I am not a machine, I’m keeping it exclusive for now…. Especially in terms of design replica. *smile*

10. Who would you love to work with locally and internationally?

I see Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani or Rhianna in one of my Peace-is on the cover of Elle… Maybe Vogue. Locally…. Brick and Lace, Queen Ifrica, Etana... EVERYONE- I want to spread peace across the world no matter who you are, so I’m waiting for Marc to call! lol

11. Describe your personal style. What kind of girl are you?

I always hate this question- lol I’m just me- I do what I feel when I step in front of my closet- I have staple accessories that I have to wear,so it’s a good thing I don’t have any issues with not ‘matching’. I love being comfortable, sexy and classy all at the same time. I like to mix and match and create a ‘costume’- that’s what dressing is to me- costuming. I LOVE dresses and skirts and my favourite pair of ripped up jeans from Old Navy that I ALWAYS wear formally or informally. Cause I don’t follow dress codes’ I do ME!

12. What's your opinion of the local fashion scene here in Jamaica; do you think Jamaicans are fashionable enough, and how do you feel about the industry itself?

I’m not really a big follower of the fashion scene, but what I do see from time to time does impress me to an extent- Ali Lue- is out of this world! H.O.D by O. B. Williams is gonna do very well, Dexter Pottinger has some awesome things as well and  I love the simple classic lines of a Heather Laine line- I really love a simple base which is why I think I’m drawn to her clothes. I’m sure there are others, but I know the looks- not the names. The industry here is underrated but I think that people are taking note of our local and regional talent which is on par with those internationally in my opinion and sometimes far surpasses other established talents. Jamaican people however, I find are a bit afraid to do the extraordinary because we’re influenced by what we see on TV everyday and think that that’s where it should stay. Fashion is life and people need not be afraid of how other people see the- life is too short not to live it the way you like.


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  2. Dwayne!!!! what an amazing interview! thank u so much!!!!as I told u on the day-THAT WAS THE BEST MOST DIRECT interview i have EVERR had! ur questions were NOT BORING or typical in the least! PEACE AND LOVEEEE from Peace-is of Bianca

  3. love u, darling! got to know u so much better through this interview, I respect your craft and talent even more now! MWAH!

  4. Wonderful creations, Bianca!
    Visiting from Facebook via Wade's post there...

  5. Thank you SO much Angela! Please feel free to Join my facebook group Peace-is of Bianca for the extended version :-)