Gemma Redux

...evoking a sense of fantasy and discovery

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gemma Redux designer Rachel Dooley spent most of her childhood in a constant state of creative exploration. Whether she was crafting lanyard necklaces to sell at the community pool, smashing glass with a hammer for impromptu stained glass mosaics, or sewing and painting her own clothing, Rachel always explored the full potential of her creativity. It was Rachel’s interest in raw materials that led her to study mechanical engineering and material science at the University of Michigan, and her fiery spirit that took her to law school at Fordham University. While at Fordham, Rachel reflected back on her college design classes – the creative passion she had as a girl never left her, and it was her continuing desire to create and explore that steered her life on a path she hadn’t planned. Taking a break from studying for the New York Bar Exam, Rachel made her first mixed-metal necklace from vintage and industrial materials. Gemma Redux was born. Within months, Rachel’s designs were appearing in publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Zink, and were featured on the successful fashion show Gossip Girl. It didn’t take long for others to take notice, and trend-setters, such as Cameron Diaz, Blake Lively, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jessica Alba and Molly Sims, were seen wearing Gemma Redux. Rachel was also selected in 2009 to be one of twelve designers in the inaugural class of the CFDA Fashion Incubator, a programme established by the CFDA and NYCEDC to support the next generation of great American designers. Rachel’s focus on exploring new stones and gems to blend into her collections continues to give Gemma Redux customers something new, season after season. Rachel explains this inspiration by expressing: “My passion is to find new materials and create unique silhouettes that evoke a sense of fantasy and discovery.” Gemma Redux collections are a combination of ideas and inspirations: geometric shapes and mathematical repetitions, a contrast of masculine industrial metals and shapes with feminine faceted stones and delicate metal elements. Despite these juxtapositions, the finished pieces are always fluid, serpentine and delicate forms that organically envelop the body. The determined focus of Gemma Redux is to empower each woman with confidence and femininity. “Jewellery should be 100% fantasy and should make you feel excited to put in on.”

Nothing inspires me like…
Colored stones. I am forever in awe of and inspired by the incredibly beautiful colors the earth can produce.

I hope…
To be doing this for the rest of my life... Maybe just with a touch more vacation days.

Cultural influences…
Everything around me, including my life in NYC and my past in Grand Rapids, MI. It's a mix of high fashion and casual fun.

I got where I am...
Through stubborn determination. I hate to lose.

Fashion can sometimes...
Be dismissed as a frivolous concern. Fashion at its best is wearable art, something that makes you happy and excited throughout your entire day. Few things are more personally influential than that.

Money makes…
Me so, so bored. I love the business and I love the art, but I just really don’t like money. I am a huge fan of exchanges (my current is handbags for massages, for my masseuse’s bridesmaids’ gifts).

My biggest regret...
I really don’t have any yet. I try to live without regrets, even at the risk of making a mistake, but I think its better to actively make mistakes than regret inaction.

NYC is…
Really the only place I can live. I don’t know how to explain it, but this city has soul and she gets a hold of you.

My dreams are…
To launch our one of a kind, fine collection (coming this year!) and then spend my days travelling to find the next amazing stone and designing on a boat (at least part-time).

Love is…
Total and complete partnership and trust. My husband is our CFO and I could not imagine doing this with anyone else.

Creativity comes from…
Letting yourself play and daydream. Everyone has some in them, it's just a matter of figuring out how to let it out.

I like making...
Everything. I’m a DIY lover. I make hand-painted bedspreads, pillowcases out of old 70s towels, stained glass mosaics broken with a hammer. I love to experiment.

My mum...
Is my inspiration. She thoughtfully raised me to be a strong and independent woman, with my own views and passions. She thinks maybe she did too good of a job.

My vice is…
A little of everything. A little smoking, a little drinking, a little decadent eating, a little too much designer shopping. Whatever, you only live once.

I wouldn't want...
To stop working. I love that what I do is what I want to do, what an amazing privilege.