Local accessory designer launches jewelry collection to benefit NKF-MD


— “New Vintage by SAM,” a lifestyle apparel and accessory brand dedicated to making a positive change in the world through artistic and fashion expression, has “stepped into the ring” with a powerful combination of style and philanthropy.

The Baltimore-based company just launched its Knock Out Kidney Disease (KOKD) collection of bracelets with “purpose-filled” trinkets to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland (NKF-MD).

This collection mixes the Foundation’s signature orange color with metallic and crystal elements, including Jasper, Agate and Onyx (black, brown and cream), “to help shine light on kidney health awareness.”

Each special trinket possesses its own unique design – staying true to the New Vintage by Sam culture of individuality, while each complementary combination of beads and charms has its own meaning and healing properties consistent with the theme of holistic well being.

A total of seven designs are available in three different bead sizes: itty bitty (6mm) for $20, midi bitty (8mm) for $30, and standard size (10mm) for $40. All products within the KOKD collection are packaged with a limited edition velvet dust bag, composition card and a special thank you from the line’s creator, Sam Smith.

A Reisterstown, resident Smith aims “to utilize her creativity to leave a lasting impression on her community and individuals alike.”

Introduced to fashion and design at an early age, Smith taught herself how to draw and create wearable art. In high school, she participated in several local fashion shows and productions as both a designer and model.

While attending Morgan State University, Smith continued to hone her design skills while pursuing a degree in Health Education. Shortly after graduating in 2007, she created New Vintage by Sam.

“My brand is a true reflection of me: quirky, fun, colorful, tastefully rebellious, always fabulous and designed with love,” Smith explained. “Each bracelet in the KOKD collection is simple, yet so intricate and detailed with various materials, personality accents and healing minerals to encourage peace and love energy while telling a colorful story.”

The collection’s inspiration came from two powerful women: Smith’s grandmother who passed away from kidney failure, and her friend, Franchon Crews: a member of Team USA, the #1 female boxer at the Olympic weight class of 165lbs. and a 2012 world silver medalist.

Crews, who lives in Baltimore and is hoping to make the 2016 Olympic team, learned about chronic kidney disease when her mother was diagnosed with it in 2005.

“I have always shined light on her condition and people have followed us through our journey,” Crews said. “I am glad to use my exposure, my face, my time and my sport to bring attention to the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.”

Crews has “Rappelled for Kidney Health,” scaling down the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront 28 stories from the roof to the fifth floor pool deck, and participated in the Greater Baltimore Kidney Walk and Santé: A Culinary Odyssey— three signature events which all support NKF-MD’s patient services, education and research efforts.

No stranger to fashion herself, Crews is known as “The Heavy Hitting Diva,” (www.theheavyhittingdiva.com) who “represents strength, beauty, resilience, humor and creativity.”

When Crews asked Smith to team with her to help the Kidney Foundation, Smith graciously rose to the challenge to lend her artistic talent to the cause.

“It is a privilege to create this conscious collection of trinkets geared to helping spread awareness about kidney disease,” Smith said.

The KOKD collection is available online at www.NewVintagebySam.com and at For Rent Shoes (www.forrentshoes.com) located at 515 Cathedral Street in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood. A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to NKF-MD.

“We are thrilled that Sam is using her talent to spotlight kidney health awareness,” said Traci Barnett, president and CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland. “This is a unique way to raise awareness of a disease that affects 1 in 9 Americans each year.

“Here in Maryland there are approximately 9,300 people on dialysis at any given time,” she added. “Not only do we find kidney orange to be a very flattering color, but the beautiful ‘bling’ that Sam is creating is also a great way to focus on knocking out kidney disease.”