TRAVEL COMPANIONS

Nothing separates a girl from her jewelry.

In this article:
September 28, 2018

photography by ANDREW KUYKENDALL 
hair by JORDAN KING 
styling by SHANDI ALEXANDER 
art direction by SARA ANGELUCCI
model ALEECE WILSON 
jewelry
ARMATURE
showroom the RESIDENCY

interview by YACHI GAULT

What is your most influential inspiration for your pieces?

I am inspired by everything daily, and I can draw inspiration from everything I see. I find beauty in things that people may not necessarily think are beautiful. I like when things form organically as opposed to anything that appears forced. I take my cues and colors mainly from nature, but there are exceptions such as the Armature223 REM Single Bullet Ring that I comprised from a man-made destructive device and transformed into a beautiful form of art.

When you were initially creating your company, were there any designers or artists who were role model figures that impacted your designs?

Christobal Balenciaga, Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel; old world couture as well as more contemporary innovators like Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen.

When was the moment in your life you realized that fashion design was the right career for you?

I’m constantly reinventing myself, and I’m still relatively new and young to the game, so lets see where it goes. I don’t have a lack of ideas or interest, so who knows.

You are known for creating design pieces that are inspired by the “obscure”, what are these types of inspiration?

I get inspiration from other artists and I love to see work in all different mediums. I insert what the artist is trying to say and connect it to my work.

You were trained by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who had created the Rodarte fashion line in 2005. Would you say that you had incorporated their similar style into your own designs? Or, was there any part of their training that had developed your career?

The experience of working with them was very eye opening to the unconventional way they approached fashion; however what I do and what I create is completely my own.

What pushed you to finally establish your own fashion line?

I have always been working towards and striving to create my own line from the day that I graduated school. I also realized from the get go that it is a very long road, so I steadily worked towards what I liked to do and hoped that people would like it as well.

What made you decide to pursue jewelry in fashion design?

My exploration with other mediums led me to experiment with metals; and the development of the Armature Bullet Rings led me to continue my unique exploration of jewelry.

Have you ever considered pursuing clothing design?

Yes, that’s where I originally come from. I was born from fashion design and evolved into jewelry design, but I still take great pleasure in creating one of a kind pieces for entertainment people. Celebrities like Sofia Richie, Steve Aioki, Ruby Tose, Maye Musk and more have worn custom armature fashion.

Out of your Mirage and Orion collections, which one do you feel better represents you and your style?

I think both represent the juxtaposition of masculine against feminine and hard vs soft in a harmonious design. I think celebrities like Brooke Candy, Nicki Minaj, Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker and Janelle Monae are drawn to the jewelry because it has an edgy, avant-garde vibe while the appeal attracts everyone, proving it exempt from gender. They all have worn Bullet Rings or Barbwire cuffs, which are great examples of how fluid the collection can be.

It seems that for the Mirage collection you focused more on designs derived from more earthy elements such as the desert, whereas the Orion is particularly derived from astronomical/celestial origins. What drew you to using such varying designs that are both rooted in nature?

There is no disconnect from the sky to the earth to me, its all just one whole. I think the same level of correlating unity is showcased in the mirage collections, as bone cuff, talon cuff and barbwire ear cuff all represent more abstract artifacts from Earth, the cycle of life and rejuvenation. The Orion collection encompasses the celestial connection we have to something that is not tangible but as a collective group of humanity we are deeply connected to.

Is there any particular story you try to portray using your jewelry designs?

The story of romanticism with an edge is portrayed through the Mirage and Orion collections with the visuals I create alongside the pieces.

Are there any new ideas you are conjuring up for future collections?

I currently have a few things on the back-burner right now, and I’ve currently been throwing around some ideas of perhaps mixing gold types and developing a hand made contemporary couture capsule collection.

Did you design the photo shoots as well for your collection? If so, what drew you to photographing the pieces as you did?

Yes. I tell a story, but I like to evoke emotion and imagination through my art direction and design.

Do you think you will continue to use elements of nature as inspiration for your future designs?

I couldn’t possibly imaging being inspired by anything but Nature. It has it all; an endless spectrum of soft and hard as well as a plethora of colors and textures, and is always transforming.

Are there any fashion icons that have driven you to your career?

Madonna is a big one, but I also like classic icons like Katherine Hepburn.

Do you feel like your designs have changed at all since you began your career?

Yes, when I first designed the 300 REM Bullet Rings, I was hammering out reclaimed shells that were collected and then made into rings. Now the rings are made from a mold of bullet casings cast into solid brass. I started Armature with street wear that evolved into more ready to wear clothes and I am now exploring contemporary couture with my fashion designs. I also paint, so I’ve been playing around with drawing and painting on fabrics, as well as custom dying and exploring different mediums with fashion. As an artist, I think growth comes with repeatedly creating and everything builds on a foundation. That’s how I came up with the name of the company “Armature”, as the technical definition is the foundation for a sculpture.

Were there any hardships you faced in launching your collection?

I am basically a one woman show, and although I try to do most things myself, sometimes its true that not everything can be accomplished alone. It’s a hardship I face as a new company, but the Armature brand is growing and so is the team. One of the most important things in building a company is also building a strong team that believes in the brand.

What was the most difficult thing you’ve faced in your career?

I guess the hardest thing when you’re in the art world is trying to protect your intellectual property, which is a struggle that everyone faces. When you develop or create something, there is always someone right behind you ready to dissect what you have created.

If you could give aspiring jewelry designers advice, what would it be?

For me, I like my brand and art to show diversity in what i create, instead of just designing jewelry. Instead of being pigeon holed as a jewelry designer, I like to design fashion and clothes as well, as that helps keep things interesting. I also paint; I draw off of all mediums, so I enjoy showcasing diversity in my art. However, that’s not the advice that I would give someone, as they have to do what feels right for them. That’s just my own personal method.