Exploring the Fantastical Universe of Dopl World: An Interview with Selena Norman

Escapism and the art of jewelry making: Selena's journey to building her brand

Welcome to this interview with Selena Norman, the designer and founder of Dopl World, an independent luxury fashion brand that creates jewelry and garments with a unique blend of retro-futurism and Rococo style. With a background in industrial design, Selena utilizes traditional processes like 3D printing and CAD modeling to create beautiful and functional pieces. In this interview, we chat to Selena about her inspiration, challenges, and creative process that informs the fantastical universe of Dopl.

YUGEN: Selena, your designs are a blend of retro-futurism and Rococo, creating a unique and fantastical universe. What inspired this combination of styles, and how does it influence your designs?

Selena: I've always been drawn to past eras of design, especially how they communicated the ideals of their time. Beyond modern trends, I see craftsmanship and artistry that are simply not common today. The blend of Rococo, burlesque, and retro-futurism in Dopl World is my way of interpreting standalone material culture, a dimension in which the themes of the past harmoniously blend with the innovation of the present. 

YUGEN: You have a background in industrial design. How does this background inform your approach to creating jewelry and garments?

Selena: Coming from a non-traditional ‘fashion’ background has been a blessing. I found that my tools, which I assumed would be mismatched, blossomed into an unconventional approach. Utilizing traditional ID processes like 3D printing and CAD modeling form the backbone of the way I actualize within Dopl World, creating a unique blend of beauty, form, and most importantly, function.

YUGEN: Your designs are often described as romantic and otherworldly. Is there a personal reason why you strive to create a sense of escapism and fantasy through your creations? 

Selena: Escapism is my mode of transportation, Earth can get a bit boring after a while. A big part of Dopl World is the desire to carve out a pocket universe, a place removed from the confines of the reality we subscribe to. Growing up, my imagination was heavily influenced by my father, a theoretical astrophysicist. He strived to instill in me the same sense of wonder for the unknown, the wonder that man has been asking for thousands of years, ‘What exactly is beyond?’ Dopl World lives as that manifestation of the beyond - ripe for exploration and evolution like any natural world.

YUGEN: Building an independent brand is not an easy mission. What were your biggest challenges so far?

Selena: Building out Dopl World has been hands down the most difficult thing I have ever challenged myself to do. It’s like a marriage, some days are bliss, and others can feel nearly impossible… but you know that you are in it for the long haul. Dopl World has been an exercise in self-love and patience, every day exciting, challenging, scary, and everything in between. The truest definition of a labor of love. 

YUGEN: Your brand is based in Brooklyn and produces small-batch designs. How does your location and production process influence your creative process and the final product?

Selena: Living in such a metropolitan location has been a blessing when finding local artisans or shops to partner with. In NYC the world is at your fingertips, so through those resources I have been able to build relationships with incredible creatives who breathe their craft and give life to my own. Aside from outsourced partners, creating small batch collections in-house allows for the final product to live more as a tight-knit family rather than a sterile assembly line. I find giving the care and attention each collection requires results in objects being cherished. 

YUGEN: Can you walk us through the process of world-building and artifact creation that you use to develop the Dopl World universe? 

Selena: During the infancy of Dopl World I wanted to create a solid foundation to both constrain as well as give direction to my creative process. Using the Germanic lore of a ‘Doppelgänger’, blended with my upbringing in astronomy, I naturally developed Dopl World, a pocket universe shaped by all things I hold close to my heart. Dopl World in its essence is a space with rules and structure that informs my workflow, an internal home that speaks through my artifact creation. When I begin my concept ideation, I pull inwards, close my eyes, and feel Dopl World allowing for my senses to shift into this alternate reality … and the rest really just flows from there.

YUGEN: Your second collection was focused on fully realizing the DOPL World persona. How do this persona and the broader universe you've created influence your designs and brand identity?

Selena: I like to look at Dopl World as organic and evolving just as any thriving ecosystem would be. Each collection I call a ‘Family’ comprised of species (my pieces) as a way to allow for a fluid progression of artifact creation. Using one ‘Family’ to grow into the next builds a beautiful family tree, dissolving the urge to force an idea but moreover allowing the Dopl universe to expand outward as it sees fit. The ethos of Dopl World is to explore your ‘alter ego’, a maximalist persona that lives beyond your physical form. I am looking forward to seeing how this organic approach feeds into the ever-evolving Dopl persona.

YUGEN: Finally, what can we expect from Dopl World in the future? Are there any upcoming collections or projects that you're particularly excited about?

Selena: Yes! I have been quietly working on a Dopl World ‘Essentials’ collection that taps into a more inclusive price point. The exclusivity of Dopl shouldn’t be limited to economic status but more to those who want to coalesce with the altered self and money should not dictate one's imagination. I am very excited to release this new family of creations and moreover to see a wider audience tap into their own Dopl Ego.

Check out Dopl World collection available at our website, link bellow:


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