Island Girl Makes It In the Big City
Selina King Daly
Island Girl Makes It In the Big City
by Denise Milanese Photography (right) by Christian Lee
It’s a more frequent trajectory than you might expect. Lowcountry artist makes it big in New York City, arguably the toughest art and design market in the world. It must be something about the natural beauty flowing through the soul of an artist like the tidal currents that fill up and nurture our beloved Lowcountry sea creatures.
Selina King Daly is a true Lowcountry Island native made good. She designs and produces a beautiful, internationally and celebrity-admired line of jewelry based on a vintage theme reminiscent of the artist and craftsman movement of the 1960s and 70s. Selina’s mother and father were native New Yorkers, who moved to Hilton Head Island back in the swing-bridge days long before it became a popular resort and retirement destination. Her Dad opened the island’s first thrift shop—Noah’s Ark—and later established a jewelry store called Crystals and Things, featuring pieces he designed and manufactured. Both parents were active in the island’s charitable activities and organizations, and taught Selina and her brother at an early age the importance of reaching out to and lifting up those in their community who are in need.
Selina established herself as a force to be reckoned with when she was selected from thousands of applicants to receive a scholarship from the (Bill) Gates Foundation to attend the illustrious Parsons School of Design in New York City. Selina then scored a plum student internship at Elle Magazine, where she saw the gritty reality of the stylist and fashion industry. The lessons learned there have stood her in good stead in her current enterprise. Her work in design attracted the attention of Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” fame, who provided the extra support to propel her to the top of her class—completing her degree in a mere three years.
After her academic triumph, Selina returned home to marry her high school sweetheart, Gavan Daly. Although Selina had put her former ambitions in fashion and styling behind her, a passion for creativity and design still coursed through her veins. When she signed up for a local evening class in metalworking, presented by a SCAD professor, she found the perfect meld of her love of design and her roots in jewelry making. From that point forward she knew what she was meant to do. She and Gavan packed up and moved to New York City where she joined an artists’ studio collaborative in Brooklyn and in 2006 founded SK Jewelry. The company has grown steadily. She now contracts with a New England based foundry for casting and extra heavy plating for her pieces and employs apprentices in her studio engaged in finishing every detail of each order to her exacting standards.
“A glamorous woman is one who owns her unique personal style with grace and confidence. Beauty, whether a woman or an object, evokes an emotion, not a physicality. A beautiful woman is one who wears her style effortlessly without concern for trends.” Selina believes that confidence and knowing who you are, are the foundations of great style. “True style is not trendy! We, as a society, are so trend-driven through our devotion to our social media culture that we lose our connection to our authentic selves.”
Selina says that she strives to incorporate her own unique style into her designs. She asks herself, “Does it have balance and symmetry? Does it lie gracefully on the body without snags or sharp edges or perpetual fussing and fixing by the wearer? Is it lightweight and comfortable? Is it a classic whose versatility can carry it from the beach to an evening out?” She takes her inspiration cues from everywhere imaginable … people watching on the streets of New York to browsing in her beloved vintage shops. Her design sensibility is grounded with an undercurrent of a love of nature and her Native American roots. Selina infuses her pieces with her caring, responsibly sourced philosophy. She works tirelessly, handling each and every piece that leaves her studio, making sure they are all comfortable, wearable, durable and of the highest quality. She believes her clients can feel her commitment to them and her concern for others when they wear her jewelry.
You may have seen her: As an extra in Orange Is The New Black (S3 and S4)
Modeled for: Several MTV commercials in the mid 1990s.
Married to: Artist Gavan Daly, former member of blue grass band Low Country Boil.
Back in the Day: She was Miss Pre-Teen South Carolina in 1992.
Looks forward to: Some day opening her own independent studio.
Made in America: All SK Jewelry items are made in America. Check them out at www.selinaking.com