What makes Dirty Librarian Chains stand out is that designer Susan Domelsmith knows avant-garde fashion can be sustainable. Her collection is founded on a zero waste design model and ensures the production of every piece utilizes USA made materials dating from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Referencing the surroundings of her NYC home base, Domelsmith incorporates bold retro-futuristic structures into her jewelry designs. The collection is continually evolving, but throughout the years it has retained the same distinct eye-catching playfulness as when she started DLC in 2004.
Her collection has been seen many times on the runway during New York Fashion Week as well as featured in countless publications including British Vogue, Elle, NY Magazine, Huffington Post, WWD, and Teen Vogue. Her distinct collection has gained many celebrity followers, and her pieces have been worn by Jessica Alba, Eve, Anne Hathaway, Debbie Harry, Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Princess Superstar and Emily Deschanel.
For nearly a decade, her work has been at the forefront of the sustainable fashion jewelry movement and has offered alternatives to inspire others to also think about the issue of wasteful fast fashion manufacturing. Domelsmith continues to spread her sustainable expertise by teaching zero waste designing. She fosters creativity in other aspiring designers through teaching apprenticeships as well as offering workshops where her students learn the basics of jewelry making and create new pieces from their own meaningful treasures and heirlooms. For the diy-phobic, Susan also works with clients to design custom jewelry using unworn pieces from their own jewelry boxes.
Dirty Librarian Chains is celebrating nine years of handmade sustainable jewelry and wants to thank you for your continuing support!
Where are the materials for DLC found? Susan finds jewelry components on roadtrips across the USA, (any excuse to travel, right?) at flea markets and vintage stores around the world, as well as in bulk at jewelry factories that have closed. Most of the jewelry mass production has unfortunately moved overseas, but there are still components to be found from the USA based jewelry boom years from 1960-1980.
What’s in a name? Dirty Librarian Chains got your attention? Designer Susan Domelsmith was originally nicknamed the “Dirty Librarian” because of her look – cat eye glasses, a bun and vintage blouses. The librarian theme fits well with the vintage aesthetic of the collection, and several lookbook shoots have been staged within the grand libraries of NYC. Domelsmith supports libraries and literacy locally and throughout the US through her charitable work raising funds for libraries as well as by working with Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. DLC displays and packaging are also tailored to the theme by repurposing vintage encyclopedias.
How long has Domelsmith been making jewelry? Susan made her very first pieces as a little girl growing up in New Orleans - she even had jewelry making themed birthday parties a few times. Many years later, DLC was founded in 2004, and her passion for making jewelry continues to this day.
What happens during the DLC workshops? Students bring in jewelry that they no longer wear or heirloom pieces that they would like to get more use from. Susan teaches jewelry making basics, as well as the importance and environmental impact of using found materials. From there, each student creates his or her own piece with her assistance.
Can Susan teach at my special event? Yes! Send an email to email@example.com to request a date and to start the conversation about your event.
How are the vintage materials cleaned? All materials are cleaned with an organic, hypoallergenic soap using an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.
Will the different materials tarnish? We wear test samples (usually on the dance floor!) of as many of the components as we can, but sometimes something slips by. If your piece tarnishes, we would be happy to replace the part.
Do you offer repairs? Yes. Make your repair request by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss how to get your DLC piece back on track.
Susan is also a musician, playing keyboards and singing in the bands Open Ocean and Time Reveals. Hear some of the songs here:
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Portrait by Dustin Cohen
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