Meet the Maker: Annie Rocchio of SUN + GLORY

Meet Annie Rocchio — traveler, creator.

I’ve always been a bit of a magpie, drawn to jewelry and odds and ends and bits of material. Shiny things have a tendency to capture my attention and set my imagination wildly aflame — a bit of crystal, the glint of copper, the intense hue of amethyst — anything that captures the mysterious essence of the inner workings of our Earth. Extra points if you can wear it. So when I spied the work of Annie Rocchio hanging in our studio recently, my reaction was that of sheer excitement. Crafted from ethically-sourced leathers, faceted crystals and metallic beads in hues of silver and copper, the jewelry from her line SUN + GLORY is meant to be cherished, a treasure to become inherent in one’s wardrobe. Instantly smitten, I just had to know more about these crystal, leather and metal creations, creations that pair so perfectly with all of our FP favorites. Read on to know more about Annie, her travels and the inspiration behind her gorgeous designs…

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Deep V Rib Tee

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Where did you grow up? What was your favorite part about being raised there?

I grew up in a small town in Indiana, about 45 minutes outside of Chicago.  Kind of a typical all-American town, but with the luxury of the city so close by.  My favorite part was the little bit of woods we had in our backyard.  There were paths and ravines, even a little creek.  I spent a lot of time playing in those tiny woods and it is such a great memory to me.

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Do you feel the environment in which you were raised had any influence on your path to becoming a maker and stylist?

Yes, absolutely! I am the youngest of four so I had a lot of inspiration to soak in.  My mom was always watching period films and shows and I was fascinated by the costumes and history.  She was also a great shopper and takes a lot of pride in her style.  My sisters and brother were teenagers when I was just a kid, so I got all that 80s and 90s alternative music and trends that were a little beyond my own generation of friends. My dad often traveled abroad when I was young and that resulted in my curiosity of others’ cultures. We also took a lot of trips to the mountains out west and that is where I fell in love with Native American culture and spirit.  Being a maker is just something that has always been there for me. I can’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t coming up with some sort of project. I think it is the influence of my surroundings that fuels most anything that I create.

What was your impetus for launching SUN + GLORY? 

It actually happened unintentionally. I was spending a lot of time in New Mexico and bought some leather at a local bead shop in Taos.  I took a vintage 70s macrame book and taught myself to macrame using the leather… And the first necklace was born. I started wearing it to work and around town back in LA and friends and coworkers started inquiring about how to purchase. I started coming up with new designs and it just kept growing from there.

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High Noon Crystal Choker

Have you always worked with leather, crystals and other natural materials? 

I only started working with the leather when I started the line. I have always been a collector of natural materials though, gathering things on trips to the beach, mountains or a hike. I have been collecting crystals for awhile now, but only introduced them into my work this past season.

What connection do you have with those mediums?

I am fascinated by the parts these mediums play in different cultures. Especially in Native American tribes. Deerskin was a big part of many tribes and their adornment and daily practices. The culture honors the circle of life and treats everything in nature as sacred.  I read once that the tribes of southern California would leave behind a piece of hair as an offering when harvesting white sage. It is in this single notion — that every thing has a purpose, a purpose which should be respected and honored. Many indigenous cultures look for clues and reasonings in their natural surroundings and I wish we, as a modern society, were more connected this way. I suppose working in these materials allows me to feel more connected to what is actually sacred and true. But I also want to respect that I am not Native American and in no way want to exploit their heritage or culture. It resonates with me and it always has.  

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Tessa Tee, High Noon Crystal Choker

You’re based in NYC now, correct? What spurned your decision to move there?

It was a now or never kind of thing. I keep taking chances, exploring everything I want to do. I did LA for 10 years, a cabin in Colorado. NY was always on the list, but I never actually thought it could be possible, until it just was!

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What role does living in New York play in your creative process?

Well…the people-watching is truly amazing. The trends pop up and fade out so fast it challenges me to find new inspirations and ideas, and hopefully stay ahead of the curve while staying true to myself.  You have everything at your fingertips in a city like this — it is hard to not get inspired. I have also been taking some classes to expand my abilities and knowledge in lost wax casting and botany.  I don’t think I have ever been as focused as I have been since moving here. 

Do you think your work has shifted since moving from LA and Colorado to an East Coast city?

Yes! I definitely had a deeper west coast carefree vibe in my designs while living in LA and Colorado. I think my designs since being in NY have become more structured and concrete, which pretty much describes NYC, right? I hope to move back west someday, so it will be interesting to see the shift in my work at that time. I think it is important to find new avenues of creativity to build on your initial vision.

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What does a day in the life of  Annie like? 

Typically, rolling out of bed salivating for a cup of coffee. Next,  a workout (or not), emails and then diving into tasks like finishing orders, shipping orders, ordering supplies. At this point, my dog Wylie is staring at me for a walk in the park. The afternoons I save for coming up with new designs or I head into the city for sourcing and inspiration. I try to stop working by 8 and meet friends for dinner, but more often than not end up binge-watching a tv show on Netflix. I used to be less predictable…

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Strapped Brami, Seven Peaks Leather Duster

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

You aren’t who you are in your best moments or your worst…but somewhere in between.

And the worst?

Someone prominent in my life at the time told me NOT to move to Colorado…but it ended up being the best thing I ever did.

Words to live by…

Stay curious and grateful.

Any exciting plans or projects coming up that you can share? 

I am launching a new line of metal jewelry in about a week or so, as well as a line of candles and apothecary goods. It has been a big labor of love the past few months!

To be free is…

To let go… and TRAVEL!

Thank you Annie!

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Shop all SUN + GLORY here

Be sure to follow Annie on Instagram and check out her website!

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