Nails of New York: Ava Farshidi
We’re honored to feature Ava Farshidi, assistant general counsel at David Yurman. We’ve teamed up with David Yurman to create vibrant manicures inspired by their new, limited-edition Solari bracelets. Read more to learn about how Ava got her start in fashion law, how she gets her best ideas, and why she’s drawn to tonal manicures.

How did you pick your color combo?

I’m a monotone kinda gal. I try to keep my head-to-toe looks in the same color family. In this case, a pink suit means pink nails. 

In one word, how does your manicure make you feel?

Fun. I typically go for something a little more conservative, but the design and colors match my personality perfectly.

 Any funny, nostalgic nail moments or what’s your earliest nail memory?

I had a nail-tutorial book that came with a set of rainbow-colored polishes. You could call it my first introduction to nail art. I got pretty good at using toothpicks to make polka dots, flowers, and smiley faces. I once drew stars on my thumbs and stripes on my other fingers for the 4th of July. Naturally my left hand always looked better than my right… I’m right handed.

 

Tell us about your journey to working in the fashion industry.

I’ve definitely got the creative bug and always knew I’d work in a creative capacity—it just took me an unconventional path to get there. I was a classically trained pianist and dancer from childhood until college, and I had a great appreciation for the arts and protecting artists’ rights. I’ve also always been into fashion. I used to steal my mom’s Vogues, and spent years collecting treasures at flea markets and consignment stores. At the same time, I knew how to win an argument and had an interest in defending people who can’t defend themselves so law school seemed like the obvious choice. However, during my first year of law school, I felt out of place and nothing really clicked for me. That is until I learned about “fashion law” and more specifically about the struggle for fashion designers to protect their designs under existing intellectual property laws in the US. Blending fashion and the law together seemed like the perfect fit for me. It was something I naturally excelled at and felt passionate about. I spent my second year of law school practically living on a bus or train making same-day trips to New York City from Washington DC to network with people in the fashion industry.  My classmates thought I was crazy, but I knew getting my foot in the door required extra legwork, even if that meant taking a 4:00 AM train to New York City and turning back around to Washington DC later that night. It served me well, and I landed a gig working in-house at a major footwear company. The only problem was the company was in NYC, and I still had a year left of law school in Washington DC. I took a very unorthodox approach and somehow convinced my law school to let me visit a New York City law school for my final year just so I could take fashion law courses and work at the company. That was the start, and I’ve been in fashion ever since. A lot of networking, work ethic, and perseverance got me into this industry, and I’ve been fortunate to work at several fashion companies throughout my career. I have my dream job, but it wasn’t easy to get here.

What’s a day-in-the-life look like?

It’s cliché, but the beauty of working in-house is that no day is ever the same. My day-to-day is often reactionary to what is going on in the company. Most people don’t realize how many ways the legal department is involved in the business. For instance, I work closely with the creative and marketing teams to negotiate contracts for our campaigns and marketing initiatives—talent and photographer agreements, crew releases, licenses, I could go on and on. Other times, I’m giving guidance on various retail laws in different countries that we operate in. We might be opening a new retail store, so that means I’m negotiating the lease with the landlord, and the construction contracts with the general contractor and architect. What I love about working at David Yurman is that I get a glimpse into every aspect of the business, and I get to work with everyone in the company. It makes me appreciate the work that I do and gives me a holistic view of the business, which allows me to be successful at my job. I make myself relatable and accessible, which is something that my clients value and allows the legal department to work collaboratively with the other business functions.

 

When do you get your best ideas and from where do you draw your inspiration?

Our offices are in Tribeca, and I’m one of the few people who is very fortunate to walk to work. It’s the daily walk to and from the office that gives me the best ideas and allows me to absorb without any distractions. Downtown you’re getting a mix of creatives and entrepreneurs, which I would be missing out on in the sea of suits in Midtown. It’s quieter, which allows me to pick up on what people are wearing and saying. In terms of inspiration, I come to an office every day that is bursting with innovative thinkers and creators who inspire me. They’re experts in their craft and have the ability to provoke an emotional connection to their work. Plus, David Yurman was co-founded by two artists who have built an iconic jewelry institution in a relatively short period of time. Most people don’t realize the company was only founded in 1980. If that’s not inspiring I don’t know what is.

Three things you’re into right now?

First, women’s empowerment. Although, it’s something that I’m always into, right now the US women’s soccer team is top of mind. Second, basket bags. I’m pretty much exclusively wearing them right now no matter what the occasion. I even use a more oversized structured one as my work tote. Third, layering different sized gold bracelets. I’m really into stacking really small widths with really chunky bracelets all at the same time. Some may think it seems mismatched, but I think it gives your wrist more personality. Plus, I like the idea of throwing on a bunch of bracelets and not having to worry about taking them off. Our jewelry is great for that because you can really live in it.

How do you press reset and relax?

I try to travel as much as I can. Even if it’s a weekend somewhere a couple of hours away, it’s wild how different you feel when you’re in a different environment away from the heart of the city. In fact, I think it’s necessary. Other than that, yoga tends to be a solution to clear my mind and get me refocused.