Jewelry designer Pearl Naidoo should have been dancing with joy. It was the February 15, the big night before her Couture Fashion Week show. But instead she was in her living room bawling uncontrollably. Her publicist, Wm. Michael Reid, gently coached her and gave words of encouragement, “you can do this Pearl… we got this.” Success is a very scary thing and even though we all wish and pray for it, when it actually arrives, it is a lot to deal with. Anxiety, fear and self-doubt come into play and you start to question if what you are doing will be a success; will people love your craft as much as you do? But with the encouragement from Reid and others on her team, including longtime friend, National Lancôme celebrity makeup artist Tarek Abbas, Pearl knew what she had to do. She dried her tears, ditched her signature Pearl Naidoo jewelry line plan and went with her gut. “This is not going to be about Pearl Naidoo jewelry, this is about my clothing and shoe line - this is the launch of DENKAY!” And it was the most successful show of her career.
Pearl Naidoo broke into the Fashion Industry in October of 2009. A native of South Africa, Pearl left her homeland at the age of 18, fully aware of challenges she would face coming to America. Already a smart business woman at a young age, she laid out a mental map of what she needed to accomplish and determined to fulfill her dreams, Pearl pushed forward in the fashion industry. With no formal training or education in jewelry design, she learned by observing and spent countless hours, days and nights practicing her craft. Eventually she met celebrity designer and stylist Kythe Brewster. Mr. Brewster noticed Pearl's talent and knew that she could excel in the fashion industry. He later offered Pearl her first official job in the fashion industry. While working as Mr. Brewster's assistant she learned the in’s and out's of fashion and the rest is history. On February 16, 2013, Pearl Naidoo proudly and humbly walked down the runway of Couture Fashion Week in New York City amongst thunderous applause and praise for her DENKAY collection which was just shown to a packed house. “Twenty minutes before the event it was crazy but when I saw the first model walk out, it was not about being a diva for me, it was about seeing family, my Pearl Naidoo family, come together.”
Couture Fashion Week was the official launch of the DENKAY collection, Pearl’s new clothing and shoe line. “I had been thinking about a clothing line for years,” said Pearl. “The concept of DENKAY came from my boys [brothers] Denver and Kaylin. DENKAY combines the two names and has the meaning of a sister’s love.” Family is very important to Pearl and her entire family has been involved in fashion in one way or another. Her aunts’ worked for one of the largest clothing factories in South Africa, and her grandmother was a machinist for twelve years.
In addition to being a designer, Pearl is also a philanthropist. “Everything I do is with a purpose,” she said. “I love to give back.” In the past, she has worked with a number of charities including Sync-now, She's The First, Seeds of Peace and Step it up Africa, to name a few, and meetings with fashion-based non-profit, United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) are underway. The Pearl Naidoo brand will also be sponsoring the gift bags here in New York for “South African National Day,” a holiday held on April 27 which celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections in South African held on that day in 1994.
So what can we look for going forward into 2013 from Ms. Naidoo? “Well, I have partnered with Gabriel Acevedo Jr. from GAJR Photography, whose photos are shown in this article, to work on a Pearl Naidoo commercial which will be launched internationally.” But it’s not just any commercial, Pearl plans to take it to the next level pulling small segments of the video and posting on YouTube to create a “pilot” for the Pearl Naidoo brand. These segments will show behind the scenes in the personal and professional life of a rising star in the fashion world and leaves nothing behind, focusing on the bad as well as the good.
So make room world, Pearl Naidoo is a permanent fixture on the fashion scene and she’s not going anywhere, and we don’t want her to.