The second class of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator program left its communal space on West 38th street in New York City and came to Atlanta last week, the first stop on an around-the-world type tour to meet retailers, customers and media in local markets thanks to a new partnership with W Hotels. One of the four program participants to come to Atlanta was Italian jewelry designer Emanuela Duca, a woman who is familiar with travelling in order to further her career – fifteen years ago she decided to take a big risk and relocated from her hometown of Rome to New York City in order to place herself in a market more welcoming to new, contemporary designers.
Her Italian heritage, however, remains a driving force in her work. The pieces of her current collection take inspiration from the textured surfaces and raw, primitive aesthetic of the ancient ruins in her native land. Constructed of sterling silver and treated through processes like oxidation to produce a black finishing, Duca has mastered her techniques and her aesthetic through many years of experimentation. “It’s a funny thing, but you get to know when a piece is finished,” she explains. “In shapes, dimensionality, in surface, all the elements have to come together to have a nice balance, so you know when you have achieved that balance, it is finished.”
Describing her process in the same way you might imagine a sculptor describe molding a piece of art, you can tell that Duca truly is an artist. It was, in fact, while pursuing an art degree from the School of Art in Rome and the European Institute of Design that she found her artistic calling in jewelry design. After moving to the states and starting her own line in 2005, Duca is now embracing the advice of her mentors in the CFDA program to grow her business and expand her audience including exploring the idea of a fashion jewelry collection that is set to come out at the beginning of next year. Emanuela’s own advice to aspiring, young designers: “Take the courage to take a risk.” Her own biggest risk was moving from Rome to New York City. It certainly has paid off.