TFG Exclusive: Q&A with Emanuela Duca 
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sheba Sheikh

As part of our coverage of NYFW, we here at TFG are especially excited to feature the work of emerging designers and highlight the talent that the CFDA has selected to be a part of its Incubator program. As noted in a previous post, the CFDA's Incubator program was launched in 2009 in partnership with New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Newmark Holdings to support the next generation of fashion designers in New York City. The program has helped catapult the careers of Prabal Gurung, Cushnie et Ochs, and Joseph Altuzarra, all graduates of the Incubator. It has also fostered the development of handbag, accessories, and jewelry designers, such as Gemma Redux.

Members of the current class are already gaining a good foothold in the industry and receiving well-deserved press during NYFW, most notably in the recent campaign with W Hotels. In this exclusive post, we are excited to continue bringing attention to such a talented group with our interview with one of the members of the Incubator's class of 2014Emanuela Duca

Born in Rome, Italy, Emanuela Duca established her line in 2005 in New York after receiving her degree from the School of Art in Rome and the European Institute of Design. It was there that she discovered the marriage of movement and sculpture in jewelry design. As a recipient of the 2009 American Craft Council Award of Excellence, Duca's work first caught our eye when she was selected to be a part of the CFDA's Incubator Class of 2014. Her designs have a distinct haunting beauty that instantly captivated us. Each piece is like something out of a dream, a testament that Duca is not just a jewelry designer- she is a true artist. Below, check out our interview with this amazing talent and her latest designs. 

Q: How did you come up with the aesthetic for your jewelry line? Was it an immediate gravitation towards movement and sculpture, or did the look evolve over time?

A: My work has evolved very much over time, but I have always been interested in three-dimensionality and movement. The raw, primitive and sophisticated look came with time as I got to know myself.

Q: How do you feel your line captures both your Italian background and your current life in New York?

A: The rough surfaces express my Italian heritage reminiscent of the ruins of the ancient Rome, and the clean, minimal lines belong to my New York experience. It is not an easy balance to achieve, but is something that I am proud of.

Q: What has it been like for you working under the umbrella of the CFDA Incubator program? 

A: It is an amazing experience. Sometimes I still feel like I am dreaming! I have built my business by myself and created healthy relationships with art jewelry galleries through out the country. But then I realized that I needed help bringing my designs to a bigger market. The CFDA Incubator Program has welcomed me with great warmth. I am consistently offered opportunities to look at my business with the eyes of an entrepreneur and not just with the eyes of an artist.

Q: How has the CFDA Incubator program helped you in developing your brand and business? What are the greatest lessons you have learned both as a designer and as a business person in going through the program thus far? 

A: The CFDA Incubator Program has helped me in learning how to work with a group of advisors and to push the boundaries of the world that I knew. There have already been so many lessons. One thing that was very hard for me to understand was how to communicate a clear value perception of my work.

Q: What advice do you have to offer for designers who are thinking about or who have just started to launch their jewelry line?

A: The biggest rewards come with taking bigger risks. Go outside your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to re-invent yourself. 


For local retailers carrying Emanuela Duca's jewelry, click here. Check out Emanuela Duca and the other talented designers of the CFDA Incubator Class of 2014 in this video with W Hotels. More interviews to come!

Article originally appeared on The Fashion Grid (
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