By Katia Ostapets
Photography by Aleyah Solomon
It all began with a necklace. Five years ago, while pregnant, Rebekah Price created a blue Swarovski necklace and she immediately knew it belonged in Holt Renfrew and on magazine pages. Now, Price is the next big celebrity jewelry designer with charisma for miles and a hunger to succeed.
Sitting in Timothy’s coffee shop, “bedazzled and beautiful” as her Bubby would say, she explains how she came to be the Rebekah Price we know now. “Fashion has always been a part of me,” she says. “I knew I was going to be an artist; it was something I dreamt of.” After high school, she had decided on fashion. “But fashion what? I was not sure at the time.”
So Price chose to dip her toes in everything. She took a variety of courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology, worked for Elie Tahari – rising quickly from receptionist, to fit model, to Tahari’s own personal assistant – did window displays for The Hudson Bay Company, and even tried interior design.
Her experience at the fashion house was particularly meaningful. “Tahari was really an inspiration because he gave me the opportunity to delve into every aspect of his business. I was exposed to buyers and got a fantastic sense of what was involved in the fashion industry.”
Moving from New York to Toronto was a big change too. Fashion in New York “is limitless, there are no creative boundaries. Toronto is more conservative. It’s a different feel, but there’s a beautiful sense of fashion [here] that I have learned to appreciate.”
Price adds she would love to show Canada that there are no rules in fashion. At the end of the day, however, she makes her loyalties clear: “I am proud to be a Canadian designer, even though I’m American.”
Just like with everything in her life, Price plunged into her new business with both feet. “That’s the way I roll. I don’t really think too much, I just do it. I knew the bottom line and what I needed to achieve.” She knocked on doors and called Holt Renfrew for a year. When the meeting she had predicted finally came to be, it took 10 minutes for them to put in an order. “I believe in timing, that everything happens for a reason.”
Her work paid off. Rebekah Price jewelry is now sold at Holt Renfrew and many other boutiques internationally, and is worn by countless celebrities, including Zooey Deschanel, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Kirsten Dunst.
“I wanted it to happen overnight because I knew it was so darn good! That first excitement is like when you first fall in love with someone. It started from nothing,” she says as she begins to tear up. “I’ll never forget my first cheque or magazine cover.”
All it took was some of Price’s seemingly limitless supply of energy. “I’m always running. I finished high school when I was 16, university when I was 19, so I’ve always been rushing. I used to hold my breath and just keep going.” She says, however, she recently discovered that sometimes one has to stop and take a breath, enjoy the moment and reflect.
But no matter how busy she gets, Price insists she’s a Mom first. She focuses on setting a good example for her three children and showing them how strong a woman can be, taking any setbacks and turning them into the “muscle tone” of the business.
Price also often collaborates with charities, the Canadian Breast Cancer Society in particular, having lost one of her grandmothers to the illness. All of her life experiences contribute to her work. Her daughter and Bubby are among her biggest supporters, both constantly wearing her designs. This is what makes Price’s aesthetique unique – the versatility of the pieces. Her customer can be young or old, wearing them with jeans or a gown. Price describes the experience of wearing her pieces like looking into your grandmother’s jewelry box and finding treasures. “I like my crystals, because they are so happy – it’s happy jewelry! It changes your mood and aura, [making] you feel good.”
As a child, Price remembers being asked to choose an image that represented her. She selected an issue of Vogue with Christy Turlington on the cover, and promptly pasted a photo of herself in the model’s place. Her most recent “I did it!” moment came when the designer herself was recently featured in Vogue UK. It looks like her dreams are coming true.