Sheanan Bond and Cherise Trahanmiller - the fashionable, free-spririted , spunky duo behind the hip and haute jewelry
line Adha Zelma - agreed to meet with me for a quick chat on a hot New York City day. I was waiting for them in a glass-
paned office. As soon as they walked in, I knew those were my girls. Together they have this effect – like the John
Gallianos of this world – they look like their art. I thought, ‘Yes, these really are the designers of Adha Zelma’. Meeting
these lovely ladies is like seeing fashion onomatopoeia at work. Just like their hand-crafted art, these ladies had an
inherent flame, an unshakeable sweetness and sense of self in the world they inhabit. Most women wish to be as
comfortable in their own skins as Bond and Trahanmiller and it would only make sense that this team would be the ones
to come up with the traditional, yet modernly torqued pieces that make up their Adha Zelma line.
After getting to know each other a little bit and having a few introductory laughs I got to asking Sheanan (pronounced
Shannon) Bond and her partner in artisanal crime Cherise Trahanmiller about how this wonderful line came about, what
inspired them to create their latest collection – Rock & Bone – what really is up with all their strange materials (goats
teeth anyone?) and why it is that whether it’s the schoolteacher in the Midwest, the rebellious hipster in Williamsburg or
the business professional in the city – why all women from all crossroads continue to head down the Adha Zelma way.
Casts A Wicked & Charming Spell with
their Rock & Bone Collection
By Alexander Patiño
FASHIONQANDA.COM: How did you two conceive the Adha Zelma enterprise? Is there anything about your
individual pieces, which I can see you’re wearing now, that say something specifically Sheanan or this
element is specifically Cherise?
CHERISE TRAHANMILLER: Our creative process is very collaborative. So I would actually say Sheanan is the
rock and roll to my magical fairy. Somehow that blends perfectly and gives you Adha Zelma.
SHEANAN BOND: Adha Zelma actually started because I was invited to do a group-artist show years ago and I
was like – I can’t do this alone. I was curating this three-day show by myself. Cherise and I had previously
worked in media together for years and the last night of the show the response was so tremendous that, well
– we were half joking, half serious over a glass of whiskey afterwards – that we decided “this should be a
FQA: You two use Czech beads, python ribs, goat teeth – you guys run the gamut when it comes to really
idiosyncratic materials. Where do you get this stuff? Is there some exotic piece you haven’t gotten your
hands on yet?
BOND: We source domestically right here in New York and internationally as well. In terms of feathers, we
have some of the best plumiers in the world here. I’ve also gone as far as Alaska to get imitation eagle
feathers; we have purchased tourmaline from Brazil. There is a bone shop in California that we get a lot of our
TRAHANMILLER: But specifically for the Rock & Bone collection, Sheanan and I were inspired by this
photographic journey we encountered of this huge tribesman gathering in Papua New Guinea. Basically,
tribesmen from all over descend in full-out regalia - face paintings, feathers, bows, holes, other metals.
Sometimes tree leaves were a part of their overall look. And this adornment style for them is all about bringing
wood spirits, their ancestors, the trees and birds to this overall gathering where they would talk about tribal
nuances. We saw it and we were like ‘this is rock and roll’.
FQA: So would you say that women would be able to wear your Rock & Bone collection all year round or is this
how you’re feeling this spring?
TRAHANMILLER: We feel that Adha Zelma is less of a seasonal trend and more of a lifestyle. It’s really about how big
you want to do it.
BOND: Also, how much attention you want to bring to yourself. Wearing something as simple as ‘Skin’ can be rocked
with a tank top or if she’s a corporate lawyer she can wear it to the boardroom as well.
TRAHANMILLER: Sometimes when people think of working with bone or feathers, they immediately think “Oh my
gosh! It’s so out there!” I find that what we do is we take inspiration from traditional adornment concepts and we
reinterpret for modern sensibility. People who rock Adha Zelma – they get that blending and they’re perfectly
comfortable with it.
FQA: You just mentioned inspiration and I know that your Rock & Bone collection pieces are each individually
named with the likes of Nicks, and Chaka, and Joplin, and Hendrix. Are there any modern muses that get your
creative juices flowing?
BOND: I would definitely have to say Zoe Kravitz. I have great respect and admiration for creativity and self-
expression, so immediately I’d think of Zoe.
TRAHANMILLER: I’d also have to say Les Nubians. They tend to do a lot with their personal style of blending African
and high-fashion. And maybe Erykah Badu.
FQA: How was it participating in the 10th season of Brooklyn Fashion Week?
BOND: Well, Brooklyn Fashion Week was a huge honor and after the tragedy in Haiti – we felt it was only right to be
part of an event that was trying to give back to Haiti one way or another.
FQA: What has been your most popular piece and why do you think that is. What’s your favorite personal piece
that you’ve made?
TRAHANMILLER: Our most popular piece are these earrings that we call “Honey Tear Drops”. They are multi-strands
of 24k Czech beads. I think they’re so popular because they’re so playful and flirtatious but you can wear them with
BOND: I call it our little black dress. It is that piece that every woman can wear and certainly I think that says why it’s
so popular. You can throw it on with a pair of jeans and flip-flops.
|"We feel that Adha Zelma is less of a seasonal
trend and more of a lifestyle. It’s really about
how big you want to do it...how much attention
you want to bring to yourself."