By Sarah Ward
Photography by Sarjoun Faour and iMn Photography (courtesy of the designer)
Gardé Del Avante dares to be different.
Created and launched by designer Naanafya in September 2010, the highly unique Toronto-based jewelry line pushes the limits with stunning signature pieces. With a French name that means avant-garde, Naanafya’s line has a reputation for being both out-of-the-box and incredibly unique.
“I got started being quite bored of the accessible pieces in select stores. In my opinion, these pieces weren’t daring enough, so I decided to create [something] without boundaries…Our mission statement is to empower those who strive to be individuals without inhibition, by creating jewelry that diverges from common culture or what is traditionally considered the ‘norm’,” says Naanafya.
A self-taught designer, her interest in jewelry design grew as a result of her previous job as a freelance wardrobe stylist. “I was unable to find accessories to pull for editorial spreads, fashion shows and video shoots; therefore, I began creating them myself,” she says.
Gardé Del Avante has pieces for both men and women, with three collections that cater to a wide audience.
“Our Haute Couture collection consists of statement [numbers] that are considered our more luxurious, high-end and limited-edition designs. Our Signature Collection is what our company is most known for. These pieces are easily transitioned from everyday wear to evening wear and our GDA collection, which is made up of GDA Classic and GDA Trend, continues to strive towards excellence and affordability. These pieces are very artistic, stylish and easy to wear.”
While Gardé Del Avante’s Haute Couture collection sells for $300 to $1,000 a piece, its Signature and GDA Collections’ prices range between $28 to $300, making them accessible to all.
Naanafya says she draws inspiration from anything or anyone who is thought-provoking, or challenges the idea of what is traditionally considered the norm through their individual sense of style and way of life. She names Viktor and Rolf, Alexander McQueen and Lady Gaga as being just a few of her inspirations.
The designer shows no signs of slowing down with Gardé Del Avante, and has plans to take her company worldwide. To her: jewelry is much more than simply a decorative piece. “It isn’t just a fashion statement; it speaks for those who know they don’t have to speak for themselves, without guilt, or regret.”
“Jewelry to me has always been the ultimate expression of style. It speaks to people without words, touches people without sensations.
“Gardé Del Avante is fearless, bold and uncompromised!” says Naanafya. “If you looked at one of my pieces and ruffled your face, I’d know I did my job.”
Gardé Del Avante will be showcasing at this year’s |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week, which runs from Apr.24 to Apr.28, 2012.