The new Skyler Man collection, The World is Yours, shares a commonality of the natural world; natural stones, pearls, gold and silver in all of their jewelry. The jewelry is rich in style as well as substance – it will not lose value as the seasons change, but become a timeless staple in your wardrobe. The World is Yours is dedicated to the distinction between the romantic and dark side of nature. Pre-order pieces from the newly launched collection here!
I really appreciate the message you have behind your jewelry. How did you got involved with sustainable goods and what inspired you to move towards that?
We pride ourselves on the point that Skyler Man is an eco-responsible brand and we aim to be as sustainable as possible in everything we do. Not only do we use recycled gold and silver, as well as conflict-free diamonds, but we are committed to this pursuit even behind the scenes. Our packaging materials, our tissue paper, our stamps, ribbons, mannequins, everything we use, is either recycled or recyclable, locally produced and made in the USA. It’s really just our signature, what we believe in and this philosophy extends beyond our jewelry line and into the way we want to appreciate the world because, why not?
If you can minimize your carbon footprint, then why not do that? But also, jewelry is not so much a philosophy but an aesthetic luxury, and truth be told, it’s also the way a piece of jewelry looks and feels when it’s hand-made that really led me on this journey. I decided right from the beginning how I wanted the jewelry to look, and that required it to be hand-made, which required local production, which led to local refineries that utilized recycled materials. I then sourced local companies which offered conflict-free stones and gems. So I would say that my designs and desire towards a certain aesthetic is what originally drove the need for a sustainable product.I wanted that look and feel, so it became a win-win.
What was your designing journey like? Growing up, is this what you aspired to do?
I come from an artistic home. My mom is an artist, a painter. She used to paint little tiny figures and stories on miniature canvases. I can’t paint, but I have been designing for as long as I can remember. I started dabbling in jewelry design at least 15 years ago with the idea for Skyler Man coming about around 5 years ago. It began with the desire to create edgy, punk- rock, urban pieces that embodied a vintage presence through a modern interpretation.
I mostly liked to wear “real” jewelry, meaning made with real gold, silver, and gems. I like the way I feel when I wear a precious piece of jewelry that also holds more value for me. I feel I can pass it on. Instead of a splurge, I feel as if it’s an investment. So there weren’t too many cool pieces of “real” jewelry out there at the time, so I started to make my own. I learned a lot over time, because my school and training was actual practice and real life mistakes. The brand has evolved over time and naturally through the design process, to include a wide range of pieces that are more affordable and easier to wear, much like the collection we are doing for Luevo.
For each collection, you have a brief description about the inspiration behind it. Do you do any additional research leading up to each collection? i.e. listening to music, researching history, basing a design off of a picture or texture of clothing etc.
I don’t do research leading up to a collection, but I definitely get inspired by various elements and definitely all of those that you mentioned. I don’t need to travel to a distant land and be thrust into foreign experiences to get completely inspired to design and create. I think that comes from within a designer and it can and will be inspired and triggered by immediate circumstances that ignite an idea or thought that lives within. We are all made up of experiences.
I am lucky enough to have grown up in New York, where my artistic interpretation has been shaped by the rich diversity that paints this city. I am and have always been inspired by the urban streets, past and present, and always the unique styles that represent the times, which primarily include music and clothing. Also, I have a Masters in literature, so my mind is always naturally travelling to different times and various places. I have been conditioned to pay attention to the circumstances which shape thoughts, and so my thoughts are shaped by past experiences and styles, and they manifest themselves and are interpreted into my designs.
If you designed a collection that was solely based off of your personality would we see a lot of colour, texture, and design?
My personality is a dual one. I think most of us are that way. We are not strictly one way or another. My style is black but expensive, an example being the Black Celebration collection. A lot of black diamonds, encased in 18 karat gold, where the diamonds are set upside down so they look like spikes. It’s a sort of edgy glamour or a gothic luxe look.
At the same time, my dark personality is conflicted with my romantic side. Perhaps this comes from my love of Romantic poetry, or perhaps it’s because black spikes look so beautiful paired with bright flowers. Everything looks better and becomes more complimentary when it’s set against its opposite. I would have to say that all my designs are really pieces of my personality. I have to design things that I love and things that I would wear myself. I have to be true to myself and only then I know the designs are good.
I feel that a lot of your pieces stand out on their own and can easily be worn as a statement piece. How long does it take you to find the right materials for a collection? What is that process like?
Sometimes a piece starts with an idea and sometimes it starts with an actual piece of material, like a gem, then I have to build the rest of the piece around that. The hope is always that the piece I make flows smoothly but that’s rarely the case. Like with everything, there is always a multitude of problems, and sometimes I can’t find what I am looking for as easily as I had hoped, but honestly, with experience, the process becomes a lot smoother because at this point I know a little more of what I am doing.
Since fathers day is coming up, what would be your top 3 suggestions as a gift from your collection?
I take pride in the fact that many pieces from Skyler Man are androgynous. It obviously depends on the guy who is wearing it, and on the budget, but if I had to choose for my man, the cufflinks in both gold and silver are great, because you really can’t go wrong with them. I also have teeth cufflinks which look amazing, and they’re cool because they’re teeth, but they’re really substantial and solid.
I also love the Fallen Ring, and the Howl Ring for men, and I found that men love those pieces too. The Pyramid Macrame Bracelet is a really cool, casual piece which I have sold to both men and women alike. Some men who like to be more bling are into the inverted diamond studs and the Black magic earring. But you have to be blingy to pull that off. And if you can, they look amazing.
Is there anything that Skyler Man has yet to do in terms of jewelry that you are looking forward to doing in the future? i.e body chains.
I’m not really into creating jewelry like body chains, I like more classic jewelry, although we did some midi rings which are fun and super cute. The only thing I really look forward to, in terms of design, is more design ideas that I currently have residing in my head. I have an idea for an amazing limited edition, One-of-a-Kind collection. I really can’t wait to do that, but those collections are expensive to make so….soon.
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This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun.