Activist, Author, and Now Jewelry Designer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Hosts a Cocktail Party With Foundrae
Yesterday evening, activist and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and New York–based jewelry house Foundrae hosted an intimate gathering in Tribeca to celebrate their forthcoming collaboration, a series of pendants benefitting PEN America. Though this is the first time Adichie has tried her hand at designing something wearable, she has long loved fashion and experimenting with her personal style; she takes care to regularly represent emerging Nigerian designers at events and speaking engagements. So, when PEN came calling about the opportunity to fundraise with Foundrae, Adichie answered immediately.
“They said, ‘We’re not sure who can help us, but we’re thinking of doing this’, and I said, ‘I will, I will!’ ” laughed Adichie, who was dressed to the nines in a white dress by the Abuja-based fashion house NKWO, her gold creation twinkling at her neck. “PEN is an organization I adore because I think they do such essential work. I thought that before this president’s . . . political situation . . . and I think that even more so now. The idea of being able to speak freely is something that seems deceptively simple, but it’s not. I love that PEN stands to protect that, even when it’s very difficult. So given that they stand for everything I stand for, when I was approached about raising money for them via a world that’s kind of very different—you know, fashion, jewelry, another world I love—I wanted to sort of bridge the gap and do this to support them. It was such an effortlessly good fit.”
The limited-edition series features a gold medallion-style centerpiece that comes in various sizes and different chains. For the design itself, Adichie paired off four symbols that together represent our collective human freedoms and a reminder that we must continue to work to protect them: an infinity sign to “honor the endlessness of the things we hold dear,” including free speech; a fire symbol to recall “that which we can embolden and energize but can also consume”; and two arrows facing off, representing the need to press on while also acknowledging that life is short and should be lived with passion. “People will make of the jewelry what they will, and while I respect their individuality and don’t feel that jewelry has to be heavily symbolic, I do hope that when they wear this particular piece, they remember how important it is that this movement is something we can’t forget to stand up for. It’s fragile; democracy is fragile. You have to always be on guard. And we can’t fall asleep on it.”