Brisbane designer and blogger Sammi Burley’s creations for her wonderful jewellery line chase.dakota are simply gorgeous (not to mention super affordable!). Some of my favourite pieces from her latest collection ‘Riders On the Storm’ are made from crystals including beautiful amethysts and quartz. She sells her creations from etsy (as well as at select stockists) – trying to buy a lot of her supplies used for chase.dakota there to help support her fellow etsy sellers—isn’t she the loveliest! Sammi’s chase.dakota blog is also a treat! A feast of fashion, creativity, colour and all-around awesomeness! Here’s our interview about all things chase.dakota!

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is quite minimalistic… occasionally I like to dress a little eclectic.  But all in all I love a good plain white t-shirt.

Is fashion always something that you’ve always had an interest in?
I guess to some degree it has… i remember when i was younger I always had a favourite outfit, and whenever my mum would go to wash it, I would make her pull it out of the wash so i could wear it to preschool.  But it wasn’t until towards the end of high school when i started realising my real love for fashion and design.

What motivates you to do what you do?
The thought of going back to my old job in an office!! Haha

How did chase.dakota begin?
Chase.dakota jewellery started early 2010.  I had been making clothes and jewellery well before this… but had a growing request for me to make pieces for my friends… which evolved into selling monthly at The Village Markets in Burleigh.  Becoming a regular at the markets each month I minimized my stock down to just jewellery as it was easier to transport and set up.  From then my brand was becoming more known to shoppers at the market and online, and then I started getting requests from stores to stock my jewellery.

What’s the origins of the name: chase.dakota?
There is a song by the Stereophonics called “Dakota” and every time I would listen to it, it had a really inspiring vibe which made me think of my dreams and goals.  Having my own fashion label was chasing my dreams… so i thought chasing dakota… then just shortened it to chase.dakota… and from that my label grew.  So the name is like a constant reminder to me that i am lucky to do what I love and chase my dreams.

What kind of person would wear chase.dakota?
A strong brazen woman, who embraces her own personal style!

Tell me about your latest collection.
My latest collection “Riders on the Storm” is a rough, dusty and moody collection.  I used mainly brass with a touch of silver, and of course the collection was created around crystals.

Who or what inspired it?
Riders on the Storm was inspired by old western films and the battles between cowboys and Indians.  It was a mixture of inspirations from the dusty sets, to the weaponry and the attire/oversized neck pieces worn by the Indians.

You use crystals in your jewellery line – what drew you to use them?
I love how with crystals, every piece is different and unique, so even if two people buy the same style necklace, they are still different.  I also believe they bring positive energy when wearing them.

What is the most enjoyable moments of designing the collections?
Picking out the crystals that I am going to use… and also putting together the lookbook… I’m so interested in finding sets, photography and styling… it gets me pretty excited to see the designs come together as a collection.

What was the first piece you ever designed?
Ummm from what I can remember it was a little origami crane made from a world map on a necklace.

What matters to you most as a designer?
Designing pieces I would actually wear myself…. I am passionate about each and every piece.  Also, knowing your craft.  Anyone can get clothing or jewellery made and sell them,  I mean I’m not up there with any top jewellery makers… if anything i am a beginner, but i am continuing to teach myself and grow with my skills.

Do you have any ‘official’ qualifications? Do you think having formal training is important to what you do?
It’s not in jewellery making… but I do have a certificate IV in fashion design (currently completing my diploma, and maybe advanced diploma).  And I also have a Certificate IV in Business…. and I have done some other short courses related to fashion.  I think it really helps, maybe not so much on the creative side (as some people are just born creative), but to develop your skills and understanding of your craft, and definitely the business side.

Who do you look up to in the creative world and what is it about them that appeals to you?
I really look up to some of our own… such a Kym Ellery, and Camilla Freeman-Topper.  Besides the fact that they have amazing labels, they are young, successful, gorgeous women, who seem so down to earth amongst the crazy world of fashion. Also my peers studying fashion… the things they come up with sometimes are just amazing!

chase.dakota is a very affordable line, is that something that is important to you?
I think it is important… especially in today’s financial state. My new collection will have pieces for everyone’s price range.  I do feature more pieces at a higher price range, made from precious metals, but then i also have the same designs in some cheaper metals, so that the designs are accessible for people’s different budgets. Everyone should be allowed to embrace fashion.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in regards to chase.dakota?
Finding the time to fill orders while still studying, and also fund my new collections on a student’s income.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on my new collection.  I’m at the sampling stage at the moment, and I am hoping to release it at the end of the year… stay tuned!

For more chase.dakota. Sammi’s blog. Shop chase.dakota.

Have a magical day!