Edgy designer – Jade Chiu
(By Blythe Liu)
Alchemic: Evocative body adornments with an Eastern zodiac obsession
AF: When did you become a jewelery designer?
JC: Before I came to New York, I was working in Silicon Valley. However, for me, New York is the place to make your dreams come true, if you have the passion and insist doing it. I regretted the fact that New York wasn’t the first place I settled in when I came to the United States. I soon bought a one-way ticket to New York to pursue my dream of working in the fashion industry. While attending FIT and Parsons, I worked part-time for several companies doing handbag and graphic design. In 2009 I decided to create my own accessories line. I started by creating small accessories like belts, and other head pieces. Two years later, I started to make jewelery.
AF: You mentioned that you used your own unique way to design the jewelery. What is your process, and what makes it unique?
JC: I call it the melting wax process. I don’t have a specific design in my mind before I create the art. Once I start the melting, suddenly the objects come to me, they just pop in my head. It’s almost as if they’re trying to talk to me. I combine all my art and fashion background to create my jewelery.
AF: How long does it take you to design a piece of jewelery?
JC: I can finish the whole collection design in a mere couple of hours. However, what is really time consuming is the wax process, and assembling all the pieces together. It takes me one to two weeks for an idea to become an actual piece.
AF: Can you tell us about your collection?
JC: My unique pieces include everything from vests, masks, ear cuffs, paw rings; and the line’s signature, racy facial/ body adornments. It’s a very eclectic mix of accessories. The most popular pieces are skull rings (or anything skull embellished), pieces that seek reflect the individual, like zodiac signs and motifs, dragon and phoenix inspired jewelry. Other popular pieces are fused cameo frame/triple-rings bracelet, and cross body chains. Some of the jeweley pieces have multi-functional ways to wear. Some can either be a shoulder piece or a necklace.
AF: Which is your favorite piece among your designs?
JC: As for me, they are all my babies and I love them all. But if you really want me to choose, I would say the one that is popular in the market.
AF: Who are your prime customers?
JC: My customers range from the teenage girls to mid-age people. It depends on people’s personal tastes, but there is something for both men and women.
AF: Tell us something exciting.
JC: Steven Meisel, the famous photographer, shot my jewelery in the Leading Channel of the World 2013. Every year, I attend the show in Paris where I can get to know more people all around the world. I met the distributor of Vivienne Westwood from Hong Kong in England last year. She was very interested in my jewellery and asked me if she could import some to Hong Kong. My pieces have also been photographed for Italian Vogue and W Magazine.
AF: Where can we purchase your jewelery?
JC: You can always go to my website or there are several stores that have my collection: Patricia Field, 3NY (Soho and West Village), Dejavu, Miss Hoe, and Gothic Renaissance.
AF: What do you think is the uniqueness of your collection?
JC: I think it’s not common to see a designer who can master both leather and jewellery. But I’m lucky to know how to combine leather and jewelery together. As an Asian designer in New York, I would like to add some Asian elements to my designs.
AF: What’s your plan for the next five years?
JC: For the next step, I want to connect to the Asian market to build up my career. Hopefully, I can then reach customers from all over the world.
AF: Aside from your designs, what else do you like to do?
JC: I like to dine out with my friends, go to the movies, and I love massages. There is a bar called Apotheke, in Chinatown, I like to go there. They have Jazz music on Monday, and very good cocktails!
AF: Do you have any suggestions or advice for aspiring designers who want to come to New York to make a name for themselves?
JC: I think you should have a dream, and make sure you are willing to follow through. Once here, you should go out to socialize, try to meet more people. As you know, networking is quite important in New York. Lastly, this city can be a bit expensive, so be ready to work hard to support yourself as best you can.
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