Imagine a high-end piece of jewelry whose materials – the finest silver and semi-precious stones - elegantly camoflauge a host of technology designed to maximize your personal performance. Haven’t you seen this somewhere? The MICA bracelet at Barney’s? Tory Burch for Fitbit? No. The versatile collection of smart luxury jewelry that hosts bio and emotional feedback, performance and GPS tracking, and Bluetooth enabled alerts, exists in the case study that won fashion student Elva Jiang a 2015 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship for $30,000.
Balancing her roles at Savannah College of Art and Design as an All American athlete on the university’s golf team and double major in fashion design and fashion marketing and management, Elva could very well be the target customer of her Spiked Orchid collection of smart rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. By wearing any of these pieces and using the accompanying app, a woman could track her golf or tennis swing with the motion sensor, get bio-feedback with the skin conductance sensor, access her favorite music, and stay on top of incoming messages via Bluetooth.
These prototypes by Yinglei Liu (B.F.A., jewelry, senior) helped bring Elva’s concept collection to life. Photographs by Niduan Zhou (B.F.A., photography, 2014).
An average week for Elva includes four days of classes, up to three hours of golf practice five days a week, including a minimum of three workouts, and Bikram yoga sprinkled in during her rare free time.
Being a student athlete pushes me to work with hyper-efficiency because knowing that I have less free time than regular students, I make sure that I cherish every minute I have to complete my school projects in time. In other words, being on the golf team gives me the momentum I need to work harder and to always strive for better.
Elva is on the path of the driven and discerning woman who inspired Spiked Orchid. She laid the foundation for winning the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship when she won a Young Menswear Association (YMA) Scholarship for $5,000. In response to the challenge put to the 2014 YMA Scholarship hopefuls to present a plan to help retailer JC Penney connect with the millennial customer, Elva created a label called Glass Ceiling. In her words, Glass Ceiling would, “Empower the young, business-minded Millennial woman who strives to transcend economic and social boundaries to take over the ‘corner office’ and become the top executive of a company.”
When SCAD selected Elva to represent the university in the competition for the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship, she continued this theme of using fashion to empower the modern woman, while also tapping her passion for golf.
Women’s empowerment has been a running theme throughout my YMA case studies because I simply hope that modern women, including myself, can be treated and empowered in ways that allow them to achieve their full potential.
Golf has been a catalyst, giving Elva an edge in fulfilling her potential. This firsthand experience is what helped her build on existing products like Cuff to deliver a product proposal perfectly suited for women whose business endeavors transcend office walls.
Elva completed a summer internship in the corporate marketing department of Global Brands Group. In between designing a look book for Jonathan Adler’s accessory collection and graphics for Tignanello’s social media platforms, she took advantage of YMA’s "Breakfast with the Bosses" series, which put her in striking distance of CEOs in the fashion industry. At one particular breakfast, DDK Apparel CEO Paul Rosengard mentioned his next goal was to become a single-digit golfer. Elva immediately introduced herself and was soon enjoying a round with Paul and the general counsel of Li & Fung.
On the golf course we’re all equal. They don’t treat me like a student. If not for golf, I wouldn’t have built those relationships, which were very helpful in my presentation for the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship.
As a resident of Taiwan, Elva believes the scholarship will help her obtain the O-1 Visa so she can begin her career as a buyer in New York following her graduation from SCAD. But just like the women she had in mind when creating Spiked Orchid, Elva’s vision isn’t restricted by geography.
Growing up in Beijing allowed me to witness the civilization and the fast-growing fashion industry in China, which has influenced me to believe that Beijing and Shanghai both have the potential to be the next fashion capitals in the world.
Wherever she lands, the convergence of wearable tech and active sportswear are sure to keep Elva inspired and equipped for success.