From chunky, colorful rings to beaded phone straps, summer’s biggest jewelry trend isn’t going anywhere. In fact, we have a feeling that this style will last through fall, and the latest designer to add to your kidcore-leaning accessories collection is Above Average.
The Toronto-based jewelry brand, founded and designed by Sarah Dunn in 2016, is known for crafting its pieces with sustainable yet high-quality materials, such as recycled gold. For its latest collection, which dropped on Saturday, Aug. 7, Dunn leans further into nostalgia, tapping into the ‘90s and 2000s comeback of childhood accessories. The new release features beaded pearl necklaces, floral earrings, and hand-painted enamel rings. It’s both dainty, chunky, and on-trend in all the right ways.
“This collection really pushed me out of my comfort zone in terms of new materials and incorporating more color,” Dunn tells NYLON. “Our past collections consisted of simple gold pieces and white pearls, while this collection brought in more whimsical shapes, enamel, and a lot more color. Growing as a designer, it’s fun to push yourself in terms of what you might consider to ‘sell well’ versus following your intuition and designing items that are more unique and fun.”
With most items priced between $60 to $95, having a new addition to your jewelry collection won’t break the bunk, and Above Average’s subtle take on trendy styles makes them even more timeless. Below, Dunn walks NYLON through her creative process, inspiration, and more.
What was the creative process behind this collection?
Almost every time I create a new collection, I circle back to vintage. It always gets me inspired to start designing and drawing. For this collection, I knew I wanted to pull in stones, color, and enamel with classic shapes like our Jelly Ring and Cosmic Heart Necklace. Something I also keep in mind during the creative process is sustainability. Is this item too on-trend that in a year from now someone won't want to wear it? If so, how can we change it to be a more classic shape or even a tamer color so that this won't be the case? Our pieces are made sustainably, so we want to echo that through the design. Everything is then brought to pen and paper and then designed on Illustrator. It takes a ton of trial and error to come up with the perfect shapes, colors, etc., and we create a few samples to see which turns out best.
How has social media influenced the creative direction of the collection?
Social media has always influenced me in my design process! This season, specifically, was seeing how adventurous people have become in choosing what to wear. It feels like everyone is coming out of their shells and choosing to wear items for themselves, not for the approval of others.
If you had to pick, what is your favorite piece from the new launch?
It's hard to pick one! For me, it's the Cosmic Heart Necklace with the mother of pearl center. Funny story behind the piece: It was originally intended to be quite small — the size of a quarter. But there was some miscommunication on our end with our manufacturer and the sample ended up being much bigger. A very happy mistake because once I received it and tried it on, I knew it had to remain that size. It's such a statement piece without being too over the top. And who knows, maybe someday we will end up doing a smaller version, too.
You can now shop the collection online at aboveaveragestudio.com or shop Dunn’s favorite piece, below.