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Blog 1708 Lani Lees Jewelry Interview 02
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Discover the world of handmade jewelry with Lani Lees

For designer, model, and stylist Lani Lees, handmade jewelry might just be one of the most personal forms of expression there is.

With design­ing and craft­ing her own pieces under her epony­mous label Lani Lees Jew­el­ry, the Berlin-based cre­ative is look­ing to not only curate and present a true reflec­tion of her own sto­ry, but also engage oth­ers in that sense of hon­esty. With every­thing being hand­made and care­ful­ly cre­at­ed, Lani Lees’ jew­el­ry is prov­ing itself against mind­less con­sumerism, as well as igno­rant think­ing. With a strong sense for equal­i­ty and uni­ty as an under lay­er of her work, Lani is see­ing her uni­sex pieces as advo­cates for togeth­er­ness rather than dif­fer­ences – we asked her all about her sto­ry with the craft of mak­ing jew­el­ry as well as using it as a tool for her messages.

Let’s start right from the begin­ning. How did the idea of found­ing your own jew­el­ry label come about?
At the end of the day it was quite a long process. I was doing a lot of dif­fer­ent projects for some time, but jew­el­ry was always some­where in my mind. That goes right back to my moth­er and me roam­ing through count­less jew­el­ry stores in Thai­land. Still, real­ly set­ting up a label took some time and ulti­mate­ly orig­i­nat­ed from my pas­sion for the craft of cre­at­ing these pieces. So over­all, the process of me redis­cov­er­ing it was real­ly natural.

Was there any par­tic­u­lar moment you redis­cov­ered that love for jew­el­ry?
It was imme­di­ate­ly once I sat back down at my work­ing table. I just start­ed with think­ing about a few designs and exper­i­ment­ing with a few dif­fer­ent tech­niques, and every­thing came right back. I actu­al­ly start­ed to won­der how I was able to go with­out mak­ing jew­el­ry for so long. That was the key moment I real­ized this is what I need to do.

Blog 1708 Lani Lees Jewelry Interview 01

Talk­ing about the craft, all your prod­ucts are hand­made. Why is that approach espe­cial­ly impor­tant to you?
First and fore­most, the craft just is my pas­sion, and to me it is a lot of fun. Apart from that I just like that with jew­el­ry you real­ly see and sense if the pieces are hand­made, which is some­thing real­ly spe­cial. This sus­tain­able path def­i­nite­ly is the only pos­si­ble way for me. One of the nice things about work­ing with such mate­ri­als also is that you can always melt them and then total­ly reuse them. I am work­ing a lot with recy­cled mate­ri­als, and you can actu­al­ly feel that when you touch the pieces.

Do you feel like this devel­op­ment towards a more sus­tain­able and per­son­al approach is a gen­er­al trend in jew­el­ry at the moment?
Yes, I also think this is one of the biggest dif­fer­ences between fash­ion and jew­el­ry right now. With jew­el­ry, you often have a real­ly per­son­al sto­ry relat­ed to the prod­uct or object, you choose to buy that exact piece. So the mind-set of the cus­tomers is total­ly dif­fer­ent, they buy some­thing for them­selves because they want to, not because they nec­es­sar­i­ly need it. That also great­ly reflects in the peo­ple that buy my jew­el­ry, they often con­scious­ly look for some­thing a bit more spe­cial. I real­ly enjoy this per­son­al con­tact because you real­ly get to know your cus­tomers, you build some­thing like a rela­tion­ship with them and often I even get to be there when they receive what they ordered. I wouldn’t want to miss that.

On that note, do you feel like you also put a lot of your­self and your char­ac­ter into your jew­el­ry?
My label is some­thing that is com­plete­ly con­nect­ed to my per­son­al­i­ty. It’s a mix of ele­gance and rough­ness, with sporty ele­ments, and def­i­nite­ly not only female, more uni­sex. Although I some­times notice that because these prod­ucts are a reflec­tion of me, of me as a woman, they do tend to be a bit more female ori­ent­ed than male.

Blog 1708 Lani Lees Jewelry Interview 03
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When design­ing your pieces now and pour­ing so much of your­self into them, is the cre­ation process equal­ly as nat­ur­al as your redis­cov­ery of it?
Most­ly it’s real­ly nat­ur­al, yes. I have a few top­ics I try to espe­cial­ly incor­po­rate into my designs, two of the most impor­tant of them being music and dance. With dance and music, there just is this sense of com­ing togeth­er of dif­fer­ent peo­ple, no mat­ter if they are men or women. Things like that don’t mat­ter with music, we just all become one. That’s also why I want to focus on uni­sex jew­el­ry, espe­cial­ly in the sense of equality.

How do you con­nect that strive for equal­i­ty with your jew­el­ry?
Equal­i­ty is an impor­tant top­ic to me because I grew up as a woman, and expe­ri­enced what it is like to grow up as a woman in dif­fer­ent coun­tries. That’s why I was always quite inter­est­ed in the dis­par­i­ties that still large­ly exist between men and women in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, as well as between peo­ple of dif­fer­ent sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tions. I always knew that if I would do my own prod­ucts they should be able to reflect these top­ics, because they are so impor­tant to me. Of course a piece of jew­el­ry isn’t going to be the one thing that over­comes these issues, but I nonethe­less think that jew­el­ry is a good way to bring across a mes­sage. That’s also how the idea of doing uni­sex jew­el­ry came about in the first place, and how this relates to my oth­er pas­sions music and dance. When we lis­ten to music and are moved by it, both phys­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly, where we come from, who we love, what back­ground we have becomes irrel­e­vant. I am cur­rent­ly plan­ning the launch event of Lani Lees Jew­el­ry in Sep­tem­ber and want to fur­ther devel­op my brand, work­ing with pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion part­ners that espe­cial­ly fit with my key themes: dance, music, and unisex.


Images by Han­nah Cassens Marshall

18 Aug 2017 · neubau eyewear