Just a few months after a late 2013 launch, W. Britt, the industrial-inspired jewelry line from Brittany Weiss, has become a red carpet staple. Her pieces have strong architectural lines, but maintain a subtle level of softness. We spoke to Brittany about the line’s debut and where she gets her innovative design ideas.
SHOPBOP: You launched your jewelry line in October 2013, but your background includes engineering influences. How does that background influence your designs?
BRITTANY WEISS: After graduating from George Washington University with a BA in art history and fine arts, I went to study in Israel at Shenkar, a design and engineering school. My area of study was jewelry design, but the school as a whole focused on engineering. Because of that, certain ideas and skills were also imparted to me during my time there. The industrial and technical elements that I learned while abroad have definitely inspired my work. I've always been drawn to architecture and elements of urban cityscapes. I like to take pieces from everyday functional design and reinterpret them in different ways.
SB: All of the collections have a unique theme. What’s the inspiration behind each one?
BW: All of my collections have dual meanings. They reference both the construction of the piece as well as the conceptual side of creation. Assembly Line, the name of the full collection, speaks to how things come together in both a literal and conceptual sense. Within Assembly Line, I also sought to tell a story with mini collections. Building Block is the foundation of the collection—fitting because it was the beginning of a journey for me. Pipe Dream is the second phase of the journey—it speaks to striving to accomplish a dream—and is also quite literally inspired by piping and scaffolding. Finally, Raising the Bar serves as a continuation on the scaffolding concept, but more analyzed and dissected. It also references the desire to keep raising the bar with everything that I try to do.
SB: The pieces are both tough and feminine. How do you balance the two sensibilities?
BW: I try to play with contrasting elements, creating a balance between the two, and bringing them together to create a more interesting and strong piece. I love to juxtapose the concept of masculine and feminine. To me, the two sides of the spectrum work to enhance each other.
Industrial-inspired W. Britt jewelry.
SB: Your designs made quite a few appearances on the red carpet this winter, but they work equally well dressed down. How do you work them into your everyday look?
BW: As I design, I try to create pieces that are versatile for many occasions. I wear my pieces while running errands, but the celebrities who are fans have shown that they can be worn just as easily on the red carpet or to a black tie event. On any given day, you can find me in a simple black shirt with my Big Block Necklace and Big Block Studs, but I also love piling on rings for an edgier look.
SB: What is the one W. Britt piece every woman needs in her jewelry collection? Why?
BW: When I designed the Building Block pieces, I worked to develop them so would be extremely versatile. Some styles can be worn as a bracelet or as a choker, giving them duality and the ability to be personalized. I like having options in my wardrobe, especially with my jewelry!
Shop W. Britt jewelry.