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Donatienne's Nikki Erwin On Her Edgy New Jewelry Line, Established

Photos: Established Jewelry
Photos: Established Jewelry

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Nikki Erwin is our city's next major multi-hyphenate. Although her dreamy bag label, Donatienne, is known for its cool and colorful carryalls (and celebrity mom-approved status), the LA designer decided it was finally time to explore her dark side and her first love. Enter Established, Erwin's new budget-busting brand of edgy-luxe accoutrements.

Comprised of stackable stunners crafted from 14K and 18K gold, rose gold, and silver, the made-to-order range includes standouts like a ring etched with "thug life" in cursive ($1800), a white gold razor blade necklace ($7,500), and a rose gold and sapphire evil eye bracelet ($20K), among many other gem-covered creations.

Given its starry launch party, the brand wasted no time living up to its name: the bash was hosted by sisters and Barely Famous faux reality stars Sara and Erin Foster, while the guest list included Demi Moore, Hilary Duff, and fashion powerhouses like Rachel Zoe and Gwen Stefani, among others. Know that Established didn't gain its famous following overnight; the brand has been ten years in the making, starting when Erwin was hired at 19 as star-faved jeweler Jennifer Meyer's first employee.

Below, get to know how it all began, what inspires Erwin's designs, find out a few of her favorite pieces, and more.

Established-Jewelry-Nikki-Erwin-01_2015_03.jpg

What's the story behind your brand's name?

The brand itself is very in-your-face and unapologetic. The name seemed most appropriate for that vibe. I wasn't going to wait around for someone to tell me when or if it was established. I commanded and demanded, leaving no choice.

What inspired you to create the line?

It was really a very slow process. I started making single original pieces for myself that I couldn't find anywhere else and it just snow balled from there. Naming the line actually happened very early in the evolution of the line as well. Once I decided on the name, it geared me in the creative direction I needed to get things going.

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What are your three favorite pieces and what inspired those designs?

If I HAD to choose, I would say my evil eye, my friendship plates, and my torpedo. I love the concept behind an evil eye but hadn't found the perfect one for me so, I made one! I loved the idea of buddy jewelry that signified love and appreciation for one another.

I wanted to create something original that wasn't as intimate as a ring or a as feminine as a broken heart so I came up with my friendship plates. The torpedo I had actually made about three years ago for myself. Every time I wore it, someone would ask me about it so I credit that piece as a huge push to the start of Established.

Where do you go in LA to find inspiration?

I love to people watch. LA has such a wide range of people so full of flavor and life. Posting up at any heavy traffic bar or restaurant, there's endless inspo here.

Now that you're dreaming up handbags and jewelry, what's next on the list?

Haha, a nap hopefully. I have found myself most busy right now but I must say, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.