We’ve talked before about minimalist jewelry, simplicity of design and geometry, but this time will be a little different. Plastic, color, excess and just a touch of the tacky and fun nature of the jewelry from Doodad and Fandango.
Nikita Majajas (Nikita Margarita), the designer behind the label, travelled to Japan in the late 90s and immersed herself in the esthetic of Harajuku and the street style explosion that was taking place. On her return to Sydney, she set out on a path that would lead her to the creation of her exciting and sassy accessories label.
As Nikita puts it: “Doodad and Fandango encapsulates her love for color and pop art in the medium of fantastic plastic. It is inspired by the costume jewelry heyday of the 1930s to 1950s, when metal was scarce and new materials like bakelite and galalite were being used to create fun and irreverent jewelry.” Her favorite material is Perspex, (polymethylmethacrylate), a strong and lightweight material with the appearance of resin.
Nowadays, Nikita is looking to move on to designing bags and footwear. We talked with her recently at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins and, as always, we’ll be following the career of this designer as she continues to bring even more colorful and lively accessories to the world of fashion.
Photos by Natasha Killeen
SO CATCHY!: Tell us a bit your life before Doodad and Fandango.
NIKITA MARGARITA: I did an Advanced Diploma of Jewelry & Object Design in Sydney and graduated about 10 years ago. It was an intense technical course that taught mostly metal working skills and conceptual design. I came out of the school expecting to be an exhibiting contemporary jeweller-artist of some sort and gave that a red hot go for a while. I struggled to find a place in that very niche world, the truth is I never felt like I fit in. I’m just too tacky I guess. For years I also applied for work in the fashion industry as an accessories designer, something I thought I’d be brilliant at, but doors just slammed shut in my face due to my lack of experience and the desperate lack of jobs. Eventually I did a residency through the Brand X arts program and had the physical and mental space to play around and explore another side of myself, the side that lives for color and fun and statement jewelry and is fashion obsessed and just wants to regurgitate what I see and love in pop culture.
SO CATCHY!: Where did the name Doodad and Fandango come from?
NIKITA MARGARITA: The name DOODAD AND FANDANGO was lurking around in my brain for a while. I had another business name that I’d registered and loved as well, and that I had a graphic designer friend working on a logo for. However the doodad one kept nagging at me. I love the ridiculousness of it. Basically doodads are just silly cute things and fandango is a word a good friend has used for years to describe fabulous things. I like the way they sound together. It was a last minute gut instinct thing to change it to D+F and it’s just always felt right. I really don’t care if people remember it or not. If they need to they’ll work it out.
Photo by Natasha Killeen
SC!: Describe the kind of person who wear your pieces.
NM: The kind of person who wears D+F is basically just totally awesome with great taste! Obviously! In my mind that person can be any age, gender, size, color Etc. The bottom line is they have a sense of humor.
SC!: What is your favorite material to work with and why?
NM: I love love LOVE plastics! I was trained as a metal worker and spent years and many dollars investing in the tools necessary for making silver and gold jewelry, but it’s an expensive medium and so time consuming to produce good work. I still have pieces that I’ve made and LOVED that will never sell because no one will pay for the true cost of the labor. I fell in love with plastic jewelry after working for a year in retail at a vintage costume jewelry shop after graduating college, where I was schooled in the history of costume jewelry by the owner. I learnt all about various plastics like bakelite, galalith, resin etc and learnt a new respect for the materials and the ideas behind the designs. I love working with Perspex and laminates because it’s relatively fast to produce, I can make it all myself in my workshop and it’s not toxic to produce like resin, there are so many colors available also it’s light to wear so you can go BIG!
Photo by Natasha Killeen
SC!: Your main inspiration comes from…
SC!: Define your style with a few words.
NM: My style is: kitsch, tackytastic with splashes of Afro pop and 70’s dolly-bird.
Photos by Elvis Di Fazio
SC!: You sell online. Where do most of your orders come from?
NM: I believe most of my orders come from the stylish people of Melbourne, Australia. Kiss kiss to you all!
SC!: Accessories fashion world is in need of…
NM: Accessories fashion world is in need of more color, humor and doodads.
Photo by Stuart Marshall
SC!: What has been your greatest success till now?
NM: My greatest success so far is where I’ve come to with my brand, even though it’s a tiny baby I’m proud to have have built it from nothing but blood, sweat and tears. I treasure it with my life and want to nourish it forever! But really the best sign of success is seeing my designs on people and seeing them get a kick out of them, making them smile and feel generally awesome and special.
SC!: What’s your next step?
NM: My next step is to go hard making new designs, expand the business into other areas and keep collaborating with inspirational people.
Photos by Stuart Marshall
SC!: Do you plan on designing other kinds of accessories like shoes or bags in the future?
NM: I would LOVE to move into handbags and shoes, if there’s an investor out there who’d like to support that amazing idea please get in touch!!
SC!: Accessories or Jewelry designers you admire…
NM: Other accessories designers I admire are the trailblazers of this medium: Yazbukey and Tatty Divine. If I could achieve their kind of level of AMAZINGNESS and longevity I’d be very happy indeed. There are of course other designers doing similar stuff and I admire them all and feel we all have a place and a voice and an audience, so good luck to us all!
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla