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Tini Courtney is the founder of HOWL, a handmade jewelry line. She creates out of her shop in Venice, California. Her pieces reflect her own spirituality, the people she creates for, and the materials she uses.
How did you get into jewelry?
I was actually in school for fashion design. I slowly realized that I was not a fan of clothing and that whole industry. It was like a year before I graduated I started making my own jewelry and just kind of messing around. People were really interested in what I was doing so I started selling stuff, and I got some press right away. I had the name “Handle Only With Love” (HOWL) as something I just thought of and I just wrote it down. Then the whole dreamcatcher thing just felt like it fit so perfectly with the name of it. So I built a website and it just really took off. I was promoting, throwing parties at clubs and then slowly fizzled out of that, and was able to just do this for the last four years and I am still doing it.
How much has social media impacted your success?
I like to do everything myself, unfortunately I am really stubborn like that. I mean obviously instagram has worked wonders with my business too, which is so nice because you can post something and it is so accessible for someone to see it. I have tried the e-commerce thing so many times, but I am so particular about how my pieces look on a website that I had made my website more of a gallery and less about selling. I think its more about how people see something now and contact me to get more custom, which is what I love to do anyways. A lot of times people will send me their old jewelry or an old jewelry box and I will just recreate whatever I can from there and then give them back the rest of it.
How much spirituality is in your personal life?
I was definitely raised by a mother who is spiritually connected, head in the clouds but feet on the ground kind of woman. She has been doing her own art for the last four years and is very strong and independent, but very out there and does lots of yoga and meditates a lot. It is something I was raised around so for me it is just kind of part of my life. The whole crystal thing and that whole aspect of it, and that being tied into my work is also something that is very important to me. I am such a nerd when it comes to crystals like I am obsessed. They all carry different properties, and I am still learning so much. There is so much to learn, and there are so many different kinds and different ways to use them. It is really interesting to me.
"I want people to feel connected to the pieces."
Do you feel there is a healing power you are sending out with your jewelry?
Absolutely, and it is all about your intention. When I make them I definitely have that intention behind. A lot of people that like these pieces are also attracted to that aspect of it. It is just subconscious you can not help it, like there is a reason why you like certain pieces.
Do you see yourself taking stuff that you are doing by hand and moving them to big manufacturer?
That has been such a battle the last couple of years, but I honestly do not. I really have no desire to do that. I think being able to hand make something and have a timeless piece is so unique. Everyone is always like the money is there, but I really don’t care to be honest. I would rather just like really refine my skills and be able to charge more and be happy doing it. That has what has been happening the past couple years. I have been practicing so much, and learning more things, and it has become more valuable because my time has become more valuable.
“If it was not hand made it would not have as much of a story. It would be going against everything I am about.”
This year for Art Basel I am doing an installation that is definitely going to change my path just because the materials and the category that these pieces are going in. I am using gold leaf and they are 3.5ft metal sculptures and I am implementing pieces of my jewelry into these sculptures. They are really beautiful and I have never done anything like this mind blowing to myself so I am very excited about Basel this year. This installation is in the middle of the Wynwood Walls which is this amazing place to have this. Those pieces to me are like pieces of fine art.
If you are going to Art Basel in Miami go check out Tini's installation at the Wynwood Walls on 25th and NW 2nd Ave. in Wynwood.
Stylist-to-the-stars Leo Velasquez added 'designer' to his resume last year when he debuted his much anticipated label, Evident Future during New York Fashion Week.
After years dressing musicians like Usher, Miguel, and Kid Cudi, as well as NBA star Lamar Odom, Velasquez decided men needed some serious help in the style department. So it was 'LV The Stylist,' as he is known in fashion circles, to the rescue.
'Men need to step out of their comfort zone a lot more. And that is what I am here for, to teach them how to do that,' the designer admitted. Originally, he wanted his first collection to be unisex, but this epiphany lead him to design solely for a 'fearless man,' who, he says, 'will inspire the future.' And taking cues from the late Alexander McQueen, Jeremy Scott, and Gareth Pugh, Evident Future's motorcycle jackets with removable sleeves, leather pants that sit as comfortably as well-worn jeans, metallic vests, and reflective visors seem to be doing just that - inspiring the future of a different kind of menswear.
Do you have a secret talent?
I'm pretty good at basketball, and I have also been a barber since the age of 13.
In your previous life you were?
A king... I remember it taking place in the Future.
The quality you most admire in a man/woman?
Intelligence and effortless confidence is the sexiest in a woman.
Who was the first person to break your heart?
When my babysitter died when I was around seven years old. I remember crying for days.
Favorite food that brings back childhood memories?
Song that defines you?
KIDS / MGMT
Photos by Kevin Amato
words by Olivia Fleming
Hardware LDN Creator Jessica Horwell is Just as Badass as her Clothes
I started it back in 2012, and I started it because I actually found like a load, in my friend’s shed a little house in the country side, I found these little eyelets and chains and bolts. And I just like picked them up and was playing with them, and then I started making like jewelry. Then I thought, I’m going to go to a hardware shop and bought loads more things and started making jewelry from everything I got from a hardware shop. That was where I got the name Hardware from. And then I just thought why not just make like a little clothing range, and see how it went. I did that and well I started to really love it. I have always had like a massive passion for clothes ever since like, you know, trying on my mum’s clothes. I have always been really into fashion. My mum always made my clothes from a young age, so I was like exposed to it from really young. And, I don’t know I have always been really into clothes myself and stuff, but never expected to be a designer.
Because, I don’t know I just never did, but once I did my first range of clothes I just really fell in love with it. Before that I did a bit of styling and I was assisting with like Rihanna and Tinie Tempah, Eliza Doolittle, but it wasn’t creative enough for me. Too much like, excuse my language, like bitch work. I don’t know I just preferred the more creative side and like just sort of creating basically. It was much more satisfying.
My last collection trailer trash was done in the UK but my new collection was done in LA. I’m based in the UK, like I am a born and bred London girl, but I sort of had this massive draw to LA. I went there and my mission was to find a factory, it’s not really that much cheaper than the UK, but when you go down to the fashion district there and see the fabrics and everything they have its really inspiring. So for me that just worked out really well. And also I would much rather go live in LA for like two months do my collection than live in London but have to go up to like Lancaster you know.
I want to do more accessories, I’m bringing out my pair of sunglasses its one pair two different color contrasts. I really want to go back to doing some really cool jewelry. And I eventually want to do it in like solid gold and like real diamonds, real stones you know. Just keep pushing it and pushing it to even higher quality products than I am doing right now. Cause the quality and stuff is really important. And I want to do like different types of collections; collections that are more accessible and cheaper for people, and I also want to do those really high end pieces that only appeal to the sort of high end market. I want to keep it really diverse but also do want to do the expensive stuff. I just want to see it grow from like strength to strength, cause I have got like good recognition now things are still a struggle
...ok, It’s not a struggle but it is challenging when you’re getting big orders and you have to get the money to fund for the orders and stuff. But, I just want to see it basically get easier and also I just want to see it grow and grow and grow and I want to see it blow up in Asia. I want to see it really blow up in America and stuff. Also, London, and you know these places have got recognition for the brand right now but I want them to like really know about it. And I want to do like big events and stuff like that cause I am really into music and I also DJ so like, I really want to push the events side of things.
Olivia Flemming intimate interview with Shayne Oliver
Shayne Oliver’s unexpectedly idolized unisex street wear label began with simple T-shirts made for friends back in 2006. They simply read, HOOD. Six years later, with the help of heavyweight endorsers like A$AP Rocky and Venus-X, his designs have a cult following from the Lower East Side to the Bronx and back to Soho. His most famous: a long-sleeved crew neck for Hood By Air Classics inspired by Hollywood iconography. A$AP Rocky wore one that cheekily references Paramount Pictures’ logo, and suddenly he was being stocked in Opening Ceremony and written up in mainstream indie magazines around the world.
Shiny and reflective, its famous film credit mountain sits with CLASSIC written where the word Paramount should be. It’s effectively simple, and cleverly cute. But from a guy who popularized the term ’swaggot’ earlier this year, and whose blend of Nineties street wear is mixed with ready-to-wear bondage – jeans made to look like chaps, or shorts with a detachable skirt – ‘cute’ feels wrong.
Born in Minnesota, Oliver grew up in the Caribbean and moved to New York at age 11, where he has spent much of his time voguing from Brooklyn to the Bronx, while DJing sets at downtown’s Happy Ending. He says he designs for “more of a feeling” than anything else, but if he had to put it into words: “For a person being bred and built all the time”. And with the designer’s very first appearance at New York Fashion Week this September, where he staged his spring/summer 2013 collection as an interactive presentation to an overly eager audience, it looks as if he’s doing just that, himself.
-Do you have a secret talent? I'm a dancer/musician at heart.
-Favorite food that brings back childhood memories? Buss up shot, from Trinidad.
-Song that defines you?
I’ve never thought of one. I evolve with the music I discover.
-In your previous life you were? I’ve never really thought about that. Sometimes I embrace or restrict any intuitive energy that I currently have of a past life.
-The quality you most admire in a man/woman? Truthful confidence.
-Who was the first person to break your heart? My straight best friend from childhood. It’s an ongoing complex that has reared its head every once in a while through the years.
- Olivia Fleming