Updated: Mar 7
TCB: Emmy! How are you?! Thank you so much for joining us here at The ChaCha Blog! To start things off, do you mind telling us about yourself?
ED: First of all, I would like to thank The ChaCha Blog for having me. I am Emmy, 26, a Los Angeles, CA native, currently residing in Savannah, GA. I am working on my MFA in Accessory Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, my primary focus being women’s footwear. I received my undergrad and two AA degrees at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. My previous degrees are in Footwear and Visual Communications. I have always had an interest in Fashion.
I consider myself an innovative artist. I bring my work to life in accessory form. I am the founder of a small accessories brand TRIBE & TEMPLE. My brand currently focuses on necklaces, primarily chokers, however; I do plan on expanding my brand and adding other accessories, artwork, and home goods to my website in the future.
TCB: How did you end up becoming an accessories/footwear designer? How did that passion develop?
ED: I was a very creative child. I enjoyed painting and being crafty from a very young age. My dad played the guitar and my mother sewed. They were very artistic themselves in their own way, so they were always supportive. I always knew I wanted to pursue a degree in the arts.
At age 16, I knew I wanted to have a focus in fashion. I wasn’t sure what I truly wanted to focus on, until I completed my AA degree in Visual Communications. FIDM gave me all the tools I needed to learn about myself and what I enjoyed most.
However, I took a break after my first degree at FIDM and I joined the military. While in the military I built up the confidence and discipline I needed to pursue design. Sharing your work with the world requires a lot of confidence, and being a successful designer requires discipline.
Once I got out of the Army I went back to school and I knew that apparel wasn’t for me. From a young age I appreciated a woman with nice shoes and handbags. I love the fact that accessories can make any outfit look expensive, its that touch that women go crazy for. I want women to go crazy for my work…
TCB: I’m lucky enough to know you and see first-hand how your background inspires you, but for those less fortunate, can you elaborate on how your ethnicities and cultural background have inspired your aesthetic and your style?
ED: I am first generation. My mother was born and raised in Sinaloa, Mexico, and my dad was Armenian born and raised in Tehran, Iran. My parents were a bit older when they had me. My mother was 34-years-old and my dad was 44-years-old. I feel like at that point they were more appreciative of their traditional ways, but at the same time they had lived in the US for over 15 years, therefore they found a way to balance tradition with an American open, multicultural lifestyle. I picked up on that at a young age.
My parents marriage was frowned upon as well. In the 70’s it wasn’t as acceptable as it is now to date outside your race (I didn't understand that until I was older and started dating myself). I grew up in a multicultural home. My parents had friends from all over the world themselves. Up until I went off to college I didn't realize how segregated it all was. Religions stuck with religions, cultures with cultures. We always just mixed everything up. In my designs I still mix it all up, just like when I was a little girl.
“Influenced by modern day society, inspired by tradition and culture.”
TCB: What is your design process like? How do you take your inspirations and develop a fully cohesive collection? With that, how do you know when to stop designing or when to edit?
ED: I am a sucker for art history, archaeology, and cultural mythology. I always look for inspiration there, in different regions of the world. Most of what we know now is due to the artwork left behind. Art is important for the future and I want my work to have an important meaning behind it. A strong cultural foundation, just like I do.
TCB: How did Tribe & Temple come to fruition? What was the first piece you created?
ED: I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I don’t have a business mindset. I’m a free spirit, to be honest, I just enjoy making.
While I was working in the industry designing footwear I felt like I was limited. I was designing, but it wasn’t my vision I was bringing to life. It was someone else’s.
Tribe & Temple keeps me sane. It is all about me and what I want to create, I like that. Whether I sell product or not, or whether it grows or not, doesn’t matter much to me. Its just a nice way for me to keep my identity as a designer, despite what brands I design for in the future. The brand came from frustration. Just like people need gym time to unwind, I need Tribe & Temple.
TCB: For those that don’t know, I met you in Los Angeles while we both attended FIDM. I know how Los Angeles is very much influenced by street style and culture, but how has being in Savannah, GA changed your perception on style? Are there many differences? How has that played into your aesthetic?
ED: Savannah College of Art and Design has a higher international student population. I get to work with top artists and designers from all over the world. I’m influenced every day by just walking into the campus and I go crazy for everyone else’s work. It's surreal to me that I get the privilege to work with such talented people, it's very humbling. It makes me push myself harder.
I always felt overwhelmed in LA, uninspired. I feel like Savannah has a calmer environment, I can focus. I like that, I need that to be creative. I feel like it's all within you as an artist, you just need to find a good environment that works for you and it will all flow.
I’m not influenced by what I see in the streets to be honest, I don’t care for it. If it’s in the streets already, it’s not fresh enough for me. It all comes from my intuition and heart.
TCB: From designing jewelry, handbags, footwear, and more, what is by far your favorite thing to design and create?
ED: Footwear. I will always choose footwear first.
TCB: Who is your biggest fashion icon? How do they play a part in who you are creatively?
ED: Iris Apfel. I feel uninspired by my Instagram feed. All the bloggers look the same. Everything is the same. Iris Apfel wasn’t connected to the world on a regular basis during her most successful years. She just based her work from her travel experiences, the richness in life, couture, and her heart. I like that. She is a maximalist “more is more, and less is a bore”. I always want more myself.
TCB: What has been your biggest success so far in your career?
ED: I would say that having my first pair of shoes on set with Salma Hayek was mind blowing. Although they weren’t worn by her, it still felt great to know that they were on set with her. One of the most talented and influential Mexican actresses in Hollywood.
TCB: We like to keep it real at The ChaCha Blog and not hide our faults or struggles, so with that, have you experienced any pitfalls or struggles so far? If so, do you mind sharing what that struggle was, and how you bounced back?
ED: So many…The list grows on a regular basis. My fathers death, mother being sick, failed relationships, self doubt in my work, my emotions, depression, spending most of my adult life alone, working through holidays.
I’m very sensitive, and I’m not always put together. Unfortunately, all these things make me a successful artist, therefore I have learned to embrace the struggles. I’ve just learned to let everything inspire me.
“Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them.”
TCB: What does the future look like for you? Near and far?
ED: “I can’t tell you where I’m going, but I promise you it wont be boring.” You’ll just have to stick around to see. ☺
TCB: Last but not least, where can people find you to stay up to date on your work?
ED: Tribe & Temple
My Portfolio (coming soon)
Thank you so much to Emmy Davidian for sharing her story with us!
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