Susan Alexandra on the Launch of Hanukkah-Themed Judaica Collection
It’s giving chutzpah.
Known for its truly whimsical jewelry and home decor pieces, Instagram-favorite brand Susan Alexandra has launched its Judaica collection, just in time for Hanukkah.
The New York-based brand celebrates the eight-night-and-day-long holiday with a wide array of fruit-inspired menorahs and rainbow-colored candle holders and accessories, complete with Jewish iconography. The cheeky array of wearable art includes a fun selection of beaded necklaces featuring classic Yiddish phrases, like “Oy Vey” or “Chutzpah” in curved handwriting.
Elsewhere, Nazar, or eye-shaped amulets arrive in the form of elegant pendant earrings, casting off any bad luck thrown your way, while an oversized rose place mat makes the perfect resting place for your challah bread.
Hypebae spoke with founder Susan Alexandra for the full details on the Judaica collection, which is available on the brand’s website. Continue scrolling to read the full interview.
With the release of your Judaica collection, how is this collection emblematic and representative of your grandmother, as well as a celebration of Judaism?
Through the process of designing this collection, I realized I was paying homage to family and heritage. This takes on a meaning so much greater than any other product launch. I feel like it’s in service to my family and other Jewish families whose stories have been erased.
What are some of your most cherished memories with your grandmother and why?
My grandma was a force of nature. She was cantankerous and tough, but above all, she was proud. She was proud that I was born in America — a personification of the “American dream.” My memories of her are entwined with Miami Beach, deli food and Judaism.
How have your grandmother’s values and beliefs inspired you in your personal and professional life?
The memory of my grandmother and all the ancestors who suffered is a constant reminder to me of why it’s so important to be outspoken and compassionate. It also enforces a certain resilience. If my grandmother could survive the Holocaust, I certainly can do hard things.
By injecting joy, color and dazzling details into each of your wondrous designs — what are some ways the collection and campaign can educate and inspire people to be more compassionate?
I wanted the campaign to be shot in a way that was a stark difference from anything we’ve ever done aesthetically. The whole theme was “emerging from darkness into the light.” When there is so much very visible hatred, there is power on being seen together.
Can you describe the design process when creating the collection? Are there any specific pieces that are meaningful to you and if so, why?
I started to design the pieces this past spring. We worked with so many new artisans on new pieces, which took a long time. It was such a joy for me to take very traditional pieces and inject them with some color and humor. This is the first collection and I can’t wait to continue to design more products.
Your brand is firmly rooted in the community — who are the people you chose to spotlight in the campaign and why?
I love working with friends and people I admire. These are people in my community, many of whom happen to be in the fashion and media world. The beautiful thing was everyone said yes without question. My friends Hunter Abram and Adam Eli said, “we show up for each other.” That was very powerful to me. You will see editor Willa Bennett, activist Adam Eli, photographer Hunter Abrams, writer Naomi Fry, editor Liana Satenstein and many more amazing, multi-faceted Jews.
“My hope is that in this time, when public figures are perpetuating anti-semitic myths and synagogues are on high security alerts, that we can come together and celebrate the beauty and community of Judaism.” Based on this quote, what are ways the fashion industry can come together to drive awareness around anti-semitism and ways unity as well as acceptance of others can be facilitated?
I think awareness is always step one. I also think this is something that industries like fashion and media should discuss especially because they are largely populated by Jewish people. To be transparent, I’m not sure what the next steps would be and that is why my Jewish friends and allies need to come together to make a plan. Jews have been persecuted for thousands of years, this is nothing new. What is new is the ways in which we can share information, communicate, come together and support.