About Allison Schiller Designs
Chicago designer Allison Lee’s unique line of vintage and original jewelry embodies pure style, beauty and quality. Lee has the ability to find treasures from all eras and carefully craft them into dramatic designs of high style and fashion. In the past year, she has established herself as a known designer, creating innovative jewelry for women who want to liven up their wardrobes.
Schiller became captivated with fashion as a child when her mother brought her from their home in Providence, Rhode Island for shopping excursions in New York City. She credits her mother for instilling her with a sense of admiration for high-end design and haute couture. "It was 1981 when my mother first brought me into the designer boutiques that line Madison and Fifth Avenues. I was eight years old. I remember watching her try on dress after dress, each one more beautiful than the next. And she just glowed, radiating a confidence that I associate with her to this day. I began to realize what fashion and beautiful designs could do for women."
Schiller’s obsession with detail affects not only the jewelry she designs, but also the natural stones she selects; In this spirit, for her premier collection, she spent weeks scouring flea markets for vintage designs and gem shows for colorful stones, utilizing her fashion design and marketing degrees from the University of Rhode Island, to draw inspiration. That sophistication-meets-carefree charm defines Allison Lee’s designs.But before she realized her passion for jewelry design, Lee spent over 15 years in several different sectors of the fashion industry. After working in visual design with exclusive fashion houses on Bond Street in London and for Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, Lee worked in textiles as a fabric sourcing manager for Guess, Inc. as well as Spiegel, Inc.
Lee also owned and operated a showroom in the Los Angeles Merchandise Mart selling novelty yarn to well known sweater manufactures such as St. John Knits, Theory, Laundry, Barneys Co-op, Banana Republic, Gap and Catherine Malandrino. But it was while selling jewelry for Barney’s New York where she discovered a love for high-quality, intricately-made jewelry. Lee, however, felt that the contemporary jewelry market gave women limited options. She experimented with incorporating what the jewelry industry had to offer into her wardrobe and realized that the jewelry available wasn’t enough. She wanted to contribute to fill in the gaps that the industry was leaving. "Woman today wear a lot of black and muted tones or simply jeans and a t-shirt. I wanted to use jewelry and accessories to add color to my outfits, but was always let down by the jewelry selection the stores carried."
Disappointed and frustrated, Lee was motivated to launch Allison Lee Designs in order to design her own line of jewelry. Now Lee designs jewelry for New York’s elite, for their public appearances as well their own personal style. She created Niki Taylor’s sleek quartz earrings for her Bravo reality series Make Me a Supermodel as well as the Moroccan inspired earrings she wore to attend shows at New York Fashion Week. That star appeal has translated itself into a successful line of natural jewelry, each piece unique. But Lee is taking her success in stride. "I want to create jewelry that make woman feel sexy and feminine. I want to inspire them the way I have been inspired."