Archive - September 23, 2014

Jewelry Designer- Jenny Dayco
Designer- Christina Makowsky
Rebekka Lien- Creative Designer & Entrepreneur

Jewelry Designer- Jenny Dayco

Whimsical…Fun…Humorous… Those are the words LA jewelry designer Jenny Dayco used to describe her high-quality yet very affordable line. Dayco, a natural artist who has a knack for seeing something in her mind and actually being able to make it; was tired of the limited selection of plus-size fashion back in 2002. So she figured, hell, why not make jewelry to jazz up an outfit, since she was after all, working in the fashion industry and attended numerous events and parties. She recalled making a giant gold circle necklace for a cousin’s wedding back in 2004 and later wearing the same necklace for a friend’s store’s party. Her friend is the owner of the boutique, Scout, by the Grove and he suggested she started making jewelry for his store. So she thought about it and decided to give it a go. From then until the beginning of 2006, she worked to make ends meet, while doing her jewelry on the side. Then, literally by the grace of God, opportunities started popping up everywhere. She no longer needed a job and was able to support herself doing her jewelry full-time. Though when the recession hit in 2009, she dwindled down from making mostly large pieces to smaller pieces (but still is continuing with the large pieces). It was only until recently when she started having actual ‘themed’ collections. Cleopatra is by far, one of her favorite inspirations; due to the opulence of the movie in general, in addition to Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes and jewelry. For Fall 2011, she’s sticking to the Cleopatra theme (though some people have said her pieces are very 70’s Disco inspired). She references magazine pages at times , but for the most part, feels that she gets her inspiration from within herself. “It’s like you’re a painter; what do you want to paint today? I wanna paint that tree…You can look outside at the world around you and say well, I think that is beautiful, I wanna paint that …You could. Or is there something within you that you want to create..that you’ve never seen before? Or that you have seen in your own mind. But you have yet to witness through your own eyes on a canvas,” Dayco explains. She likes to stick with what she knows, as far as materials goes. She knows that her customers appreciate the gold and silver jewelry and loves working with large found objects (such as a brooch or an aluminum acorn). Best-sellers for her line include: teardrop earrings, silver/gold feather necklaces/earrings, charm jewelry, handcuff necklaces, religious “inspired pieces, brooch rings (I have the black brooch ring and LOVE it!), black and gold jewelry. Her prices are very reasonable, as she says she wants to design for everyone. Her wholesale prices start at $10-50. Due to the economy also being the way it is and that she does everything herself and doesn’t have to outsource, her retail prices do not go above $110. She also passed along some advise that she would like to share with young artists and jewelry designers…”Start small. Make a few things, see where it goes from there! Be the person that people like working with. No one likes working with a diva. You yourself represent your brand.You’re your own spokesperson. Young designers- put yourself out there, business cards, word of mouth. And be careful what you say online (Facebook or Twitter) because your representing your brand.” Jenny Dayco has been mentioned in multiple publications, such as: Nylon Guys, Teen Vogue, Flaunt, Paper, etc and has been spotted on Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton, Keri Hilson and many other A-listers. Her line is sold in boutiques throughout LA, most notably: Diavolina (located 8741 West 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 310.550.1341), Beige (located 7274 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036-2545 323.549.0064), Kill City (located 7975 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90046-7118 323.272.4206) and EM & Co. (located 7940 West 3rd Street`Los Angeles, CA 90048-4305`323.782.8155). She also is a best-seller in Japan and online.

Designer- Christina Makowsky

I had the honor of meeting New York designer- Christina Makowsky, while she was in town (and many thanks to the Kate and staff at Chic Little Devil Style House). After Christina graduated from FIT and discovered luxury brands such as Celine, Mugler, Gaultier and Alaia at the Pret-a-Porter show in Paris; she decided to open up three retail stores in Long Island. These stores only carried around ten-fifteen pieces of most of the high-end designers. She had Michael Kors in the store for eighteen years. Granted, back in those days, luxury brands were rare and since there was no internet, people weren’t aware of the brands as they are nowadays. It wasn’t until about eight years ago, that luxury brands did begin popping up everywhere and weren’t as rare. With that being said, Christina decided to close the stores and put her heart back into her roots- designing clothing. Her collections are apart of who she is and showcases her sense of style. Her pieces are classic with a hint of edge. She is a woman of value and she wants not only her children to grow up with the right values and to understand that you should buy only the best quality and to be able to wear it always, save and cherish it; but also wants her clients to recognize these values. That’s why her pieces aren’t sold in stores. She wants to keep her collections tight and precious and be made in America. Christina is a huge believer of being humanitarian. She feels that at this stage in her life, she wants to do something that will ‘leave a mark’ in the fashion industry. “Imagine if everyone did a little something through their career they were in?” At this time, she hosts private charity trunk shows with part of the proceeds going to a specific charity. The brand hosts Twitter campaigns with a charitable edge. Right now, they are working with Operation Smile. Anything donated throughout December is matched by O.S. So far, Christina has accumulated eight smiles. The Red Carpet Collection is only made up of ten gowns for ten actresses. If the actress wears the gown, the gown will be named after her and when the gown gets produced commercially, proceeds from the gown will go to the charity of the actress’s choice. How cool is that?! That concept is also what sets Christina Makowsky apart. Christina gets most of her inspiration from her clients from the past twenty-eight years of being in the retailing/designing business and their lifestyles. Her collections are always on-trend and classic, but never trendy. She believes that the clothes have to work for the wearer. “Every girl needs a wardrobe that works for them and can take them wherever they are going.” Her Winter, Spring and Resort collections are versatile enough to be broken up and mixed around with different pieces. “You can go from a t-shirt to ballgown, but I will try and always show you how to wear a little cocktail suit, break it up and wear out to dinner with jeans…” She showed me a beautiful suit jacket with jeweled detachable collar and cuffs and showed me how she would pair them with another piece from the collection. She loves working with double-face crepe and many of her pieces boast a raw edge (so fun and unique, very glam and rock). Another great fact about the Christina Makowsky brand is that the buttons boast her CM initials and are made in the great state of Rhode Island. She doesn’t have a favorite designer she looks up to, as she thinks that the best designers are the ones that are consistently true to their brand, which helps build a loyal client base. But she did say that Karl Lagerfeld stands out. She thinks he’s brilliant and took Chanel to a whole other level. Plus, he made her wedding gown (omg!!). She hopes to continue to evolve her brand and evolve the awareness of the ‘made in America’ stance. You, dear readers, can check out her website to shop or get more information. If you have a charity event and would like to have Christina do a trunk show, you may contact her as well.

**My photo of Christina and a peek at the collection**

*These photos were used with permission by Kate of CLDStyle and Christina Makowsky*

Rebekka Lien- Creative Designer & Entrepreneur

Dear readers, I would like to introduce my friend- Rebekka Lien. She was born in Hamburg, Germany and has since been an avid traveler to places like: Taiwan, Japan and Australia. She is a fellow FIDM graduate and we met during our volunteer work at UNIQUE Los Angeles a few years back. Since then, I’ve watched her grow in the fashion industry, both as an avant-garde designer and now an entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “Asian Gypsy.” She owns an ebay and store envy store, full of amazingly cute and affordable jewelry, with proceeds going to Stella’s Voice and Compassion International- organizations to fund children’s education and rehabilitate girls saved from human trafficking. She also runs a blog, which you can check out here. Here is my Q&A sesh with her…

LAFS: Tell me a little about your background and why you chose to be in the fashion industry?

RL: I have always been obsessed with fashion magazines as a child and my mom taught me how to sew when I was 12. My mother recently told me that I had made $100 selling toys for two years at my elementary school. I said, “how do you know?” She said, “You told me! You would tell me how much you made each day and you would carry a bag of things to sell after school”. I laughed because I remember she would tell me to be careful because I might get caught for soliciting illegally. That was from the age of 8 to 10. I then went to Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for Fashion Design and Business Management. I worked in every area of fashion- from marketing, designing costumes, import manufacturing, visuals to small business start ups. Gradually, I realized that life is better lived free, so I quit my job and started my own business.

LAFS: What do you like designing?

RL: I like designing one a kind couture gowns that nobody would wear on the street. I love the fantastical feeling of wearing something no one else has. I like shocking people, I like thinking outside the box, recycling, and creating a masterpiece.

LAFS: Tell me about your other entrepreneurial goals? (Like your selling jewelry and stuff, prices and pieces, etc)

RL: I am currently working on my jewelry and accessories business- I have a very non-conventional approach to earning a living. I trust that a higher being is orchestrating my every source of income and I focus on what I want to do each moment, whether it’s marketing the products, hanging out with people, or simply reading a book. I am expanding my business and hope to start my own t-shirt line. I am also planning to continue my “pop up trunk shop” approach, not only selling through social media, but also carrying my shop everywhere I go. This lines up with my “Asian Gypsy” lifestyle, I hope to open peoples’ eyes to a more simple and uncomplicated lifestyle consisting of recycling and living communally.

LAFS: What have been some of your biggest achievements in the industry?

RL: Depends on what you call achievement. If you call achievement being recognized by big shots or making money- I haven’t made much money from the industry and haven’t really gotten my “big break”. If you want to be your own designer, you simply can’t work for other people. I have enjoyed meeting people in the industry though- that’s my great achievement, meeting people and making lifelong friends.

LAFS: What advice do you have for other budding designers/future business owners?

RL: Be prepared to fail. Failing is a MUST, without failures, there won’t be successes. Follow your heart, if you’re gut tells you something is wrong, back the hell out! Be open to new opportunities, do not pigeon hole yourself to ONE THING that you want to do. Do something different everyday, try something new, because that random thing you decide to do (like go to a new cafe) can lead to a life changing moment or opportunity. You might meet a soul friend or a boyfriend (wink)…Know where you want to go and what you want from life, if you don’t, someone else will. Someone else (your parents, your friends, strangers) will tell you what you should be doing- and of course, how are they supposed to know? They’re not you! So decide now before you end up living someone else’s life.

So as you can see, Rebekka is truly an inspiration to many an aspiring creative and small business owner. The girl’s gonna do amazing things so be on the lookout! In the meantime, I highly suggest picking up a “Snazzy Moustache”ring or feather earrings. Be sure to check out her website!

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