Designer and Founder Gorjana Reidel (Photo credit: Gorjana & Griffin)
It’s not everyday that you come across a fashion company that builds charity right into their brand DNA. Gorjana & Griffin has done just that–made philanthropy and the support of social causes an integral part of their company mission. While most brands are content to align periodically with charities-of-the-moment, Gorjana & Griffin have an entire section of their site devoted to “Altruism,” spotlighting three central causes: children, hunger and the environment. To date, the company has helped support organizations such as CHOC Children’s, Feeding America and One World One Ocean.
Inspired, we caught up with designer and co-founder Gorjana Reidel. Her story and that of her husband’s, Jason Griffin Reidel, is truly a fairytale match made in charity heaven. And while the two are in the business of fashion and adornment, they make it very apparent that the most beautiful accessory of all is that of a grateful heart.
Q: Can you tell us how Gorjana & Griffin started? We hear it’s a true labor of love!
A: It was definitely a labor of love. I always knew that I wanted to create and design, but jewelry sort of fell into my medium for inspiration. Jason, my husband, and I started this company on our apartment floor–making jewelry that I loved and wanted to wear. From there, we started selling to boutiques. It was a building process from the start and took a lot of work and commitment. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary next year and it’s amazing to see the journey we have traveled and how far we have come.
Q: On your site, there’s a little tab called “Altruism.” We love this, can you explain the concept behind it?
Python Collection (Photo credit: Gorjana & Griffin)
A: It comes from [knowing that] we are very fortunate and are so appreciative of what we have. We feel that it’s so important to give that energy and good fortune back.
Q: Philanthropy seems to be such a big passion for the brand. How does this set you apart from other accessory labels?
Being philanthropic is a key part of our DNA and we hope that our customers also possess that same characteristic. We would love to think that the philanthropic work we do will inspire others to do the same.
Q: What is the design inspiration behind your latest Fall Collection for women?
This fall we were really inspired by nature and animals. It’s the year of the snake and that definitely has had an influence on our designs. Our Boa and Python collections very much reflect our design inspiration. We also created a great novelty stud [earrings] group, inspired by some of our favorite animals. It’s a subtle way to tie animal prints into your everyday look.
Q: What are your top 3 trends for Fall/Winter? Any must-have pieces you love for their versatility?
Damsel x Gorjana Collection (Photo credit: Gorjana & Griffin)
Layering is one of my favorite fall trends. It’s the season where you can layer your jewelry along with your clothes. I love layering necklaces, bracelets and rings in different ways and creating new combinations daily. White is also something that I really love right now, especially paired with black. One of my favorite holiday bags is the Bleeker over-sized clutch. The contrast of the snakeskin white with black paneling really goes with any outfit you are wearing. Another fall trend that I love is military. Army green is everywhere right now and I am really feeling the color.
As for our jewelry trends, the Taner bar necklace is the most versatile because it looks great with a T-shirt or a cocktail dress. Also, our Perry satchel is a great transitional bag.
Q: Any big charity projects and/or partnerships coming up in the near future?
We have our annual Team Hunger
food drive coming up November 16th and 17th, which is our way to help the fight against hunger. It’s something that we do as a company. We stand in front of local grocery stores and accept food donations for those in need. All the donations go to the Second Harvest Food Bank
, which gives back to those who are less fortunate. It was our original philanthropic event and it’s always so rewarding.
Gorjana and Jason Griffin Reidel (Photo credit: Gorjana & Griffin)