A Conversation with Jules Kim

A Conversation with Jules Kim of Bijules

The Six Scents Parfums team has been friends with New York based Jeweler Jules Kim for many years now. We have seen her grow Bijules into a worldwide brand that counts celebrity tastemakers such as Rihanna among it’s clients. Despite her successes Jules has always stayed true to her convictions and her own unique personal aesthetic. We sit down with Jules to speak about the jewelry business, her inspirations, scents and what’s to come.

Q: Tell us a bit about the first pieces you made and how you went about creating them. 

A: I started Bijules in the basement of my first East Village apartment 8 years ago. I was throwing parties and DJing and when I went out I found the best audience for selling my work was my peers. I wore double of everything and pushed to sell while I was out! I understood that what I was making was important, but the way to communicate what I was doing was just as crucial.

Now, the quality of both the product and the story around it has become Bijules’ strongest attribute and has set it apart from its competitors. Each piece was born with its own unique personality. The jewelry speaks for itself and its wearers don’t have to say a word. It is an obvious decision what type of person my clients want to be… someone confident and someone who takes time to research what makes them happy.

Q: In many ways you are the face of your brand, was this a conscious decision you made when you started?

A: I definitely did not start Bijules with a 5 or 10 year plan. I began because I wanted to. I felt the overwhelming need to create tangible products but with intangible connections and I asserted myself as the storyteller. No one could do it better and no one has. I believe what I have to say is not unique to just myself but my thoughts and lifestyle choices are shared by millions and THAT is called a marketplace. If I exist in a marketplace then who better to cater to and that is what I have helped create… I am lucky to be an outgoing character and I use this “all risk no shame” mentality everyday…

I made my decision to risk everything I had and everything I could have to build Bijules; therefore, now – I am passionate about sharing my successes and also my failures. That makes me a human being and all of my clients, whether they are Rihanna or not, are just as humble. It’s the shared act of buying Bijules, which makes all of them similar.

Q: Where do you look for inspiration on new designs?

A: I look everywhere. I am a world traveler and when I am out and about either in Paris or Berlin, etc. I am eagerly looking for inspiration! I see a Con Ed guy hanging from a streetlight, I am thinking, “holy shit, look at his body harness. That’s hot!” I keep a pretty tight peripheral vision though; I am not an artist who needs to input what other people are doing. It’s a diversion and I’d prefer to stick to my own original  thought. I see things in a different way and it is this unique vision I communicate with Bijules.

Q: You always seem to have so much on your plate with your business, travel, and a little partying on the side. How do you manage it all?

A:Who says I am?! Ha! I try to maintain a constant schedule of business mixed with a little carousing. I cannot take myself or what I do too seriously or else I’d neglect who I really am! I do all of this because I am obligated to find new business and new inspiration but I am also obligated to find new people and friends!

Q:You have been creating jewelry for over seven years now. What are some tough lessons you’ve learned and some big successes you’ve achieved over that time frame?

A:There are so many! I have learned that consistency is the key and that one must build diligence in everything they do. Each of us measures success differently so it is always a tricky response to what I feel is successful. Ask anyone who you might measure as “successful” and I guarantee they don’t agree. I have a long way to go and have no intention of slowing my pace. I am proud to be an innovator and herald the known and unknown clients who wear Bijules, but I still have dreams and aspirations as designer, artist, and businesswoman. To answer candidly, I have made some huge mistakes in production, billing, pr, blah blah.. but so has everyone and thank god I fucked up because I will NEVER repeat those mistakes!

Q:Speak a bit about the creation of the fashion film Amasia.

A:This film was an amazing opportunity for me to work with the best. It has been screened in respected venues all over the world and seen by eyes that may or may not have known what Bijules is. Diane Pernet asked me to take part in an exhibition in northern Italy for the gold tradefair, Vicenza Oro. I was honored and elated she considered me a top jewelry designer. Using one of my favorite conceptual designs as the basis for the film I approached Hunter Lee Soik and Guido Callarelli. Together we developed a concept not based on skinny models or expensive clothing, but on the base raw human feeling of dramatic change. The theme for Diane’s curatorial project at Vicenza Oro was to “contaminate jewelry”, because frankly, the gold industry aesthetic is dying and so is the fight to keep its value. The industry needs change, and in my eyes – a very dramatic change! Using Iceland as our subject, the talented crew flew, drove, and hiked all over the country in search of the strongest imagery they could find. The final product made me cry like a baby. It is this emotion I wanted to invite the viewer to witness and the gold industry to understand.

Q:How would you describe your personal relationship with fragrance? 

A:Fragrance is a personal thing to me. I have been wearing fragrance off and on for a while and each scent I keep around like photographs of my childhood. They are secret looks into my past and a hopeful search for something of the future…

Q: If you had the chance to create a scent what do you imagine it smelling like?

A: Don’t laugh but I think I’d like to call it Coke Whore… hahah… It would smell like cigs and sweat… spicy and raw… Whenever I’d wear one of my perfumes after partying I always felt sick and that’s why I stopped wearing them. I figured if I smell like I am always partying then I’ll wear it forever?!

Q: Do you have any advice for new jewelry designers who are just getting started?

A: Follow your own path. If you want to be a real jewelry designer I recommend taking a crash course in metal smithing because if you don’t understand your medium it will own you instead of you controlling it. I see a piece of jewelry in my mind and know how to execute because I got my hands dirty. Do not fear what you do not know and always push your experiences from a place of discomfort to one filled with  confidence.

Q: What’s next for Jules and the Bijules brand?

A:Whoah! A lot. Firstly, to make money. Not money like –  “cool I can get a cappuccino without breaking the bank…” but more along the lines of “cool, I can hire a  full time press agent in house without breaking the bank”. In order for me to reach that point there are spreadsheets to be made and markets to conquer! I hope to build Bijules into a brand that people identify with and one, which provides insight not only into the world of jewelry but into themselves.

Portrait by Francois Dischinger

Questions by Rocky Li

Please visit  http://www.bijulesnyc.com/ to see more.

END

Bantering with The Blonds

Our highly anticipated interview with the glamourous power house known as The Blonds. Needless to say our interns were excited.

David and Phillipe Blond

Q:You have admitted to being inspired by glamorous blonds like Marilyn, but
how do you think you inspire the new generation of aspiring blond vixens?

A:Hopefully we inspire them to be more glamorous! You don’t have to be blonde to be Blond!!

Q: The recent trend after the economy crashed is to become your own brand and
sell yourself. Clearly The Blonds were very successful with breaking into the
industry. What advice would you give for a young designer trying to start out on
their own?

A:You have to choose something you love and stick to it. Create something that’s different and unique. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM!

Q:What was personally the hardest obstacle for you to overcome to reach your
level of success?

A:There are so many obstacles in life but you work through the challenges and most of the time something better than you ever expected comes out of it.

Q:We love your designs whether it’s for the runway or for the stars, but who do
you prefer to design for? Yourself or clients?

A:Our clients breathe life into our clothes and inspire us to do what we do. Of course we love dressing up too!

 

Beyonce in a bodysuit from The Blonds A/W 2011 collection.

 

Q:You are known for being one of the nicest designers in the industry. How
important do you think personality is in fashion? And have you ever had issues
with other people’s egos (no names necessary)?

A:Thanks, being nice is a prerequisite in any field and you definitely catch more flies with Honey! Personality is so important and even more important is a good sense of humor. If we had issues with anyone we wouldn’t work with them.

Q: The Blonds are everything that is glam-rock, but if you had to choose your
favorite look what would it be?

A:That pretty much sums it up.

Q:You have been a staple in fashion for several years and have bumped elbows
with some of the greatest. When was your “wow I’ve made it moment”?

A:Every moment we get the opportunity to spend doing what we love is a “WOW MOMENT”. Recently we had a big one with Barbie!

The Blonds Barbie

Q:With the price of materials going up drastically including leather and cotton
have you found alternative ways to generate amazing looks?

A:Materials is the last thing to be sacrificed when producing a look. Sometimes the budget isn’t ideal but we know how to work it!

and finally…

Q:Many designers are branching out of fashion design and collaborating with
corporations and artists. What do you seem coming next for The Blonds?

A:You never know so stay tuned! ;))

We at Team K would like to thank The Blonds for not only keeping us on our toes, but truly supporting the creative community. We can hardly weight to see what grandiose statement pieces one of our favorite labels struts down the runway. To view their most recent collection click here.

Shooting up.

Vibrant colors, saturated shots, and dynamic layouts are just a few of our favorite things about one of our favorite set of eyes behind a camera, Jamie Nelson. If you are not familiar with Jamie’s work it is more than likely you have spotted it in your favorite publication, collective exhibit, or even a billboard.

Jamie Nelson has a vast and lengthy career that rivals photographers twice her age. As a fashion photographer Jamie creates vivid and enthralling storyboards with Candyland-esque color palettes, and pop art inspired  editorials. Although most of Jamie Nelson’s work is for commercial purposes (shooting for brands such as Chanel or for world renowned publications such as Vogue or Vanity Fair) her work is so whimsical and engaging it could easily be hung in a museum.

Jamie belongs to the ever growing population of creatives in New York City that work for themselves and tirelessly chase after any opportunity that could boost their career,

“I have always worked for myself. I struggled for what seemed like an eternity in New York, but it finally paid off. Putting time and effort into yourself and sticking to your passion will always pay off…eventually!”

Her words bring hope to all of us in the industry who have been either looking for that big break or are just trying to finally escape our desk job. Jamie has been educated in photography and credits her time at school for helping her fine tune her work. Much like any designer or creative, a photographer is only as good as their team. Jamie understands that the devil is in the details,

“Hair, makeup, and art direction are a huge part of bringing the image to its final aesthetic result.”

We at Team K could not agree more. Sticking with an art form you truly enjoy and work hard at will only get you noticed. Even if it is nothing more than a few struggling artists and designers getting together to expand their portfolio the more collaborations the better. Not every job will pay your rent, but it only takes that one person in the industry to come upon your portfolio and launch your career.

Jamie stuck with her passion and works hard to perfect her craft. She admits to using photoshop to touch up her images, but only to a point. Like every photographer she touches up blemishes and loose ends, but her signature look is all generated on set and in camera. Using this mindset Jamie was able to translate her fine-arts education into a career in the fashion industry,

“I started out doing fine-art. Ironically I have never been too concerned or obsessed with the fashion industry. The aesthetic and art in fashion imagery is what interested me initially. I still see fashion/beauty photography as art and do not tend to focus on branding or advertising of the products themselves.”

Her ideals on the industry further support and explain our reaction to viewing her work. Jamie’s work easily translates from an advertisement in a magazine into something you would die to hang in your living room. Her focus on the fine details in the human form can be seen consistently throughout her shots. She focuses greatly on the nuances of the human expression; whether it is a slight eyebrow raise or a pucker of the lips her beauty shots are just as dynamic as a shoot on location.

It is this level of dedication that kept Jamie striving to make it to the next level. Even when she was at a position that did not speak to her creatively she made it her own and never sent out mediocre work. This is a very important trate to have in your arsenal. It mirrors the belief of dressing for the job you want not the one you have. Shooting for greater than what is expected will only benefit your career. No matter how big or small the client all you have in this industry is word of mouth and your reputation.

Jamie hopes to one day shoot for creatively infused publications like Numero that will let her work speak for itself. With her tight grip on her camera and understanding of the industry she is more than well on her way. Jamie also hopes to one day shoot for Alexander McQueen, and to be honest we would more than love to see her handling of his dramatic prints and proportions.

To see more of Jamie’s work click here to see her personal website. To follow Jamie’s work and inspiration as it happens click here

 

Jewelry to Die For.

We are neck deep in paperwork and projects and were hoping to take a small hiatus from posts until the load alleviated a bit, but when we came across one of our favorite designers new jewelry line extension we couldn’t help ourselves.

Inspiration & Process

Designer Gisele Ganne has had her work plastered all over the pages of Vogue, ELLE, i-D, and Harper’s Bazaar. If you have a hard time remembering her pieces think high fashion meets suicide. At first it sounds a bit morbid, but when you hear Gisele explain her influences and inspiration it all comes together,

“I watched the Rules of Attraction, I have been so fascinated by the suicide scene in this movie! It was so beautiful! From there, I started to research about death and funeral custom and discovered the Victorian mourning jewelry which I fell immediately in love with!”

Divorce Collection

Inspiration aside Gisele puts a beautifully morbid twist on these celebratory pieces to make them her own. In her previous collection Ganne focused on traditional mourning jewelry, but as opposed to fondly remembering a loved one she focused more on burying past relationships.

“In France, we had this old custom which was to give to the bride a glass globe for her wedding, she will put her crown and bouquet inside where there is a lot of decoration and symbols to give luck to the marriage. Those symbols included a dove and some roses. As half of weddings end up in divorce, killing those symbols, I decided to make a divorce ring to celebrate this dead wedding! With a bird skull and dead roses!”

What better way to say goodbye to a doomed relationship than an effigy of your ex encased in gold and bones? Did we forget to mention that some of Gisele’s pieces have real animal skulls inside of them? Through a process called “electroforming”, wherein the skull and roses are recovered and encased in fine metals.

Mag 3 Fingered Ring from the Divorce Jewelry Collection

There is no harm done to any living animals, and most of her pieces include magpies and raven skulls that she finds and recycles. What better way to put a green spin on high fashion jewelry than incorporating mother natures ultimate form of recycling? Gisele’s work has a strong and erie presence, but the viewer can not help but be entranced by the intricate beauty of every piece.

For those who are not lucky enough to be adjacent to stores such as Wolf & Badger, Kabiri, and the more close to home (for us) Opening Ceremony. Gisele’s work has been so highly celebrated that she has influenced and entire generation to see death and departure in a different light, and that beauty can emerge from something macabre.

The new Amazon Collection

For her awe inspiring work and pioneering personality we at Kouturtion are entranced with Gisele Ganne’s work and progression in the industry. If you want to explore her deepest and darkest innovations follow her blog or if you are a little more dedicated purchase her work here. We at team Kouturtion have spent a good amount of time and money rooting through her newest collection titled “The New Amazon”. We might not have money for food, but who knows with any luck perhaps we will make it into her next collection.

 

Rick Owens’ 10 Rules of Style

 

A short, but very to the point list of 10 things one must keep in mind before they step out the door with one of our favorite fashion legends, Rick Owens.

1. I’m not good at subtlety. If you’re not going to be discreet and quiet, then just go all the way and have the balls to shave off your eyebrows, bleach your hair, and put on some big bracelets.

2. Working out is modern couture. No outfit is going to make you look or feel as good as having a fit body. Buy less clothing and go to the gym instead.

3. I’ve lived in Paris for six years, and I’m sorry to say that the Ugly American syndrome still exists. Sometimes you just want to say “Stop destroying the landscape with your outfit.” Still, from a design standpoint, I’m tempted to redo the fanny pack. I look at it as a challenge—it’s something to react against.

4. When a suit gets middle-of-the-road it kind of loses me—it has to be sharp and classic and almost forties.

5. Hair and shoes say it all. Everything in between is forgivable as long as you keep it simple. Trying to talk with your clothes is passive-aggressive.

6. There’s something a little too chatterboxy about color. Right now I want black, for its sharpness and punctuation.

7. Jean-Michel Frank, the thirties interior and furniture designer, supposedly had 40 identical double-breasted gray flannel suits. He knew himself and is a wonderful example of restraint and extravagance.

8. I hate rings and bracelets on men. I’m not a fan of man bags, or girl bags either—or even sunglasses. I don’t like fussy accessories. Isn’t it more chic to be free? Every jacket I make has interior pockets big enough to store a book and a sandwich and a passport.

9. With layering, sometimes the more the better. When you layer a lot of black you’re like a walking Louise Nevelson sculpture, and that’s pretty attractive. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is also one of the most attractive things you can do.

10. It’s funny—whenever someone talks about rules, I just want to break them. I recoil from the whole idea of rules.

Astro Boy blasting off!!!

So we spent last night with a few iconic staples in New York Nightlife. We kicked off our night with an informal meeting with our favorite punk-rock-king-of -the-club-kids turned hairstylist/entrepreneur, Astro.  For those of you who don’t know the extent of Astro’s involvement in the early ages of punk rock and club kid culture  we will get you up to speed.

Astro Erle with Michael Alig

After breaking free as a runaway on the West Coast Astro found his way to the city that never sleeps and gave it a run for it’s money. As many of you know Michael Alig and James st. James made a huge statement in NYC in the early 80’s – 90’s. What most people don’t know is Astro was a huge part in making that happen. With his wild looks and even wilder attitude there was no way to ignore his influence on punk rock culture in the United states, but why would you want to?

Limelight

In the early days of Limelight which most know as the future site of IHOP Astro spun his web and made himself a real life fantasy. One can only imagine what all of his experiences coming up in this city were. He’s seen everything, met everyone, and gave them a drink ticket, but talking to him about his up and coming projects you would never be able to tell.

To say he is grounded is an understatement. Astro embodies everything this city is lacking; an understanding and respect for creatives both young and old. To understand the brevity of this you would have to know that he has inspired some of the biggest movements and artists including the current flavor of the week, Lady Gaga. All of this aside he wishes everyone well,

“I don’t see the point in being a c*#t. There is no benefit from it. I hold nothing against people being inspired by me, and doing well. I am genuinely happy for other people’s success and wish them well.”

We are not at all surprised of these affirmations, and remember meeting Astro when we first started out in this city almost 6 years ago. He dubbed me David Kouture, and that set in motion the development of branding Kouturtion.com.

Astro

We are pleased to say team Kouturtion is collaborating with this mastermind of reinvention. Astro is doing something that I suggest everyone who has become a creative staple in this city should do, market themselves. Find a niche and take it for all it is worth. Astro is a rarity in this city and if he left the city it would be like losing the Chrysler building. This city is being crushed by the bottle culture and influx of new kids with more interest in makeup than personality.

It is a give and take relationship and as far as Astro is concerned he has been very giving. It is time to get something in return. We are very excited to work on the new the brand that is Astro and trust me kiddies you are going to want to follow his up and coming projects. Stay tuned for a more in depth look into the mind of Astro Erle.

Looking up with Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea

Design: Lucia Sanchez Barrenechea Photography: Urko Suaya Models: Maita Barreneachea, Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, Catalina Sanchez Barrenechea and Lucia Sanchez Barrenechea

We finally caught up with our favorite fashion entrepreneur, Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, after she arrived back in NYC from Paris. I have had the honor to intern under her creative mind at one of the top high fashion advertising agencies in the world, and was delighted to hear that while she conquers her hectic work schedule she will be co-managing (with her two equally as talented sisters) our new favorite  online boutique Underoursky.com . We were very gracious and humbled that she had the time for a short interview:

Q: You have been working in the fashion for several years. What inspired you to stay in the industry?
A: The more I worked in the industry, the more I got to know how it worked, and it fascinates me experience it on my own, with my own business, my own achievements, and my own mistakes.
Q: Do you think being signed with a major modeling agency helped or hurt your career?
A: I don’t think it made any difference. In NY, if you work hard and you are passionate, you can achieve any goals. When working as an Art Director I never consider myself a model, I totally separated the two roles.
Q:  You recently started up an online boutique store called “UNDEROURSKY.com”. What was the inspiration behind the precise direction and audience?
A: The inspiration for this Argentinian Designers Store was my love for my country, it’s people and it’s talent. When I moved to NY, I constantly got stopped and asked where I had bought something I was wearing that caught their eyes. These pieces were always Argentinian, and not available here in the US. So after a while I decided to make that gap disappear, by providing my favorite Argentinian Designers a place where they could sell their products to the whole world.
Most of the products we sell are hand made and one of a kind, which attract a very fashionable and strong audience. This niche I feel is growing bigger and bigger every day, and people are looking for unique things that they feel special with, not a big logo, not a repeated trend, just a different and rare piece.
 Q: Who has influenced you the most in your progression from creative to entrepreneur in the industry?
A: My parents are both entrepreneurs, and since I was young I admired their courage to work in new fields and succeed in a not very predictable economy.
Q: You have been featured in numerous publications for your personal style, including Vogue. What is the one fashion piece you cannot go without in your
closet?
A: My black leather jacket and my Perez Sanz Clutch
Q: You recently came back from Paris. Which city are you drawn to creatively or for inspiration?
A: I prefer nature than cities, I get more inspiration in the middle of nowhere than in the center of the world. That’s why I think it’s completely necessary for creative people to go out, to explore, and to see the world.

Kanye West After Party at Silencio Anthony Vaccarello’s sharp dress and Cabinet Oseo Rings Tags: Kanye West Silecio Cabinet Oseo Anthony Vaccarello

We could not agree with her assessment on staying true to your personal style and fashion roots. There is no accessory that ties together an outfit better than the heritage of good design and aesthetics. I myself have often said that what the industry needs a less narrow-minded understanding of what beauty is, and that competitors offer you clearance items while Under Our Sky offers you that unique piece that will catch everyone’s eye.
We look forward to watching Sofia and her company flourish in only ways we can imagine and you can too by following UnderOurSky on twitter and tumblr. With the holiday season coming up do not forget to visit Under Our Sky for everything from dining to handbags. We know we will!!!