If there is a silver lining, however frayed, to the economic maelstrom and its effect on the fashion industry, it may be that many formerly employed designers are back in their own studios cautiously creating new work. Case in point: Laurel Wells and her new line of jewelry, one that has already inspired a mild degree of obsession around this office. Wells moved to Brooklyn in 2003 and launched her eponymously-named clothing line. Four years later she shuttered the line and signed on as director of apparel at cult brand Hayden Harnett. Now back in her native Atlanta, the 31-year-old has launched a collection that trendsetting boutiques like Sodafine in Brooklyn's fashionable Williamsburg neighborhood and Eskell in Chicago have already snapped up. The hand-dyed rayon fringe necklaces, punctuated with delicate chains, feathers and a loom-beaded medallion of Czech seed beads, reflect a main source of inspiration for Wells: Native American artisanry. But the unique color gradients of the fringe, rendered in intense hues like electric blue and canary yellow, make a more modern statement. "I like to think an extraordinary accessory can completely transform any outfit," says Wells. We couldn't agree more.
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