When it comes to fashion, Bonnie Yam is Canada’s bread and butter. As the designer and owner of ROXX jewelry, she utilizes a potent combination of innovation and business smarts: a rare skill set that has already earned her the 2011 Passion for Fashion Award (presented by Toronto’s Fashion Incubator and YES), editorial features in Flare Magazine, showings at Fashion Art Toronto, and the runways of Simon Chang and Pavoni. So, when Bonnie teamed up with PRODUCT, I was thrilled to interview a woman of such vast influence. In the end, our encounter exceeded my expectations.
Bonnie arrived at the PRODUCT headquarters, punctual and chic, dressed in a fabulous fringe dress. She delicately laid out her latest designs on the coffee table – letting her crystal bracelets shimmer in the light. We were instantly blown away by her collection, especially a multi-functional necklace that has the ability to transform into earrings. Bonnie’s pieces are mesmerizing enough for Audrey Hepburn, with their natural, earthy materials contrasting with those man-made. In that moment, it was easy to imagine why ROXX often sells out throughout Toronto, in shops like Eleven and Made You Look.
I curiously asked how her passion began. “I was a graphic designer before,” she revealed, “but my interest in [accessories] was sparked from working at Bitter Sweet – it inspired me to create things to gift to friends and family.” She goes on to explain that it was only two years later that her hobby turned into a more serious affair, after her acceptance into the Passion for Fashion program in collaboration with YES and Toronto’s Fashion Incubator. During this program, Bonnie was mentored by several industry experts and was “forced to write a business plan”. This, in turn, encouraged her to launch her first bridal line, which proved to be both well-received and extremely commercial.
Bonnie, who is also a private piano teacher, has not only entered a Barbie contest (designing a doll dress, featured in Flare magazine for T.F.I’s 25th Anniversary) but has been hard at work to further expand her brand. ROXX now has two truly distinctive and one-of-a-kind collections, Crystal Clusters and La Principessa, both made from materials scouted from her travels to India and Egypt (where she camped out in the desert for month.)
Bonnie’s abilities as a designer are both impressive and inspiring. There isn’t very much that Bonnie hasn’t done herself when it comes to the look of ROXX (she even designed her own website) and her hard work has paid off. I am eager to see her company flourish, for Bonnie is a true visionary – producing statement accessories that add sparkle to any outfit. Whether it’s that business suit or that vintage Dior gown, ROXX jewelry adds the finishing touch to your look.