Okay, a moment for nostalgia: We've been covering Brooklyn jewelry designer Meredith Kahn's beautiful, wearable pieces since we started this lil ol' site. And my, how we've all grown. True to form, this true jewelry genius has been growing and evolving right alongside her expanding line Made Her Think—she's added an adorable little girl to her brood, she has a partnership in the works with Club Monaco, a men's jewelry collaboration with her husband, she's expanded to handbags and belts, and...phew, she's also souped up a pretty rad oasis in Brooklyn she and her family like to call home. Here, Meredith sits down with us to share another glimpse into her pretty amazing world...just check out the cozy snapshots right after the jump.
What was the catalyst for creating your jewelry line, Made Her Think? "Well, I like to always say that Made Her Think sort of found me. I am trained in apparel and was designing denim and kind of making jewelry on the side. I've always been obsessed with jewelry, specifically antique and vintage. I used to live at the flea markets and just buy tons of weird objects, charms and chains. I love junk! In the beginning Made Her Think was totally inspired by Dia De Los Muertos and Frida Kahlo, but then it started to evolve into Victorian Mourning Jewelry, then into the Art-Deco period. All that ultimately led to a signature style of a soft and tough moody elegance, using elements from all of these different forms of inspiration mixed in with a New York City grit that defines each collection."
You've got so much going on lately! Tell us more... "This season, I have so much going on, I can't seem to remember what day it is or if I am dressed or in my pajamas! I'm currenly working on introducing a men's collection that I am collaborating on with my husband, launching my third collection of handbags and belts, and launching a line of Meredith Kahn for Mark jewelry for Holiday 2010! Boy, I need a nap."
We hear you're also working with Club Monaco...can you tell us a little about that project? "Club Monaco approached me to work with them on a collection. It's not a collaboration, but rather a select group of Made Her Think pieces that would go with their fall collection. It's sleek, simple, elegant with touches of vintage rock-and-roll. I took a lot of semi-precious items and redesigned them to be offered in costume for a more digestable price without compromising the look of the piece. I love all the pieces that they're carrying!"
Describe your personal style in three words: "How about two: Lost and found."
What are the five things you find yourself wearing over and over again? "Vintage destroyed denim, motorcycle boots, tortoise sunglasses, long black coats, and leather jackets."
You were part of the first wave of Brooklyn's now-booming art resurgence. What makes Brooklyn special for designers? And how has it changed? "Thank you! Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, has always had some kind of magic. The people here have a different focus than they do in Manhattan, and a lot of the artists don't focus on money when they're creating. Obviously, it's important to have a sense of business in order to maintain a company, but when you start one and you don't have money on the brain, magical things happen. I think living out here and starting my business out here was great because I was around so much creative energy, and that was really encouraging. It's a real community where people work for trade and appreciate creativity. Even food trends have began here and have filtered into some of the most successful restaurants in Manhattan. It has definitely changed in the way of the people that live here being a bit more commercial and less 'artist.' There's a lot of that moving in, but there are still amazing stores and restaurants popping up with that same special magic."
What's your best cheap score of late? "My best friend gave me a pair of Alexander Wang snakeskin and suede gray booties from the new fall collection!! That's as cheap as it gets!!"
When you're feeling stuck creatively, from where do you draw inspiration? "I simply walk outside, put my headphones on, breathe in the air, and stroll down the street."
Who are your style heros? "Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, Yohji Yamamoto, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, Bianca Jagger, Daphne Guinness, and Britt Bardo."
If you could raid anyone's jewelry box (dead or alive), who would it be? "Cleopatra and Queen Victoria."
Tell us about your tattoos... "My tattoos always tell a story. My first one was all about self empowerment..typical for a teenager. I have a dagger on the back of my neck for what I call the 'painful reminder'. It's not negative, just a way to remind us that life is amazing and delicious but when tragedy happens, we have to think fair and not be so surprised. It all comes in the same package. I have my best friend's initials monogrammed on my arm and she has mine. I have a beautiful illustration by Earnst Haeckel on my arm that is sort of my own personal ode to myself! It was my first venture into a color piece and its blue. I love blue. I also have 'Love or Perish,' which are words that I live by. I have a fig leaf that turns into a wing as a sort of strip-down-and-take-flight message that I got when I was single in NYC at 19 and just living! I dont have one for my husband because I think I'm sort of superstitious about that for some reason. The next one will be for my daughter."
Jewelry is such a personal thing--do people tell you any interesting stories about wearing your pieces? "I always like for my pieces to feel sentimental and emotional. I think people totally feel that when they see and wear the pieces. They feel personal, and always seem to tell story. The collection kind of started that way and I think because I'm such a diehard romantic, I can't help but emit that."
Do you have a secret store or place that you're willing to reveal, or a favorite neighborhood haunt? "New World Order in New York City."
If your style were a song, what would it be? "'Modern Romance' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs."