LuvAJ

LuvAJ
Wednesday, July, 14, 2010 Around the Who What Wear headquarters, one of our favorite things to track┬--aside from the latest trends┬--is the success of our former interns. And how could it not be, especially when talented ladies like jewelry designer Amanda Thomas bring their coveted time, skill, and creative energy to our fashion-minded hub! A recent graduate of Otis College of Design, Thomas started making handcrafted jewelry at the tender age of fifteen, using antique chains and charms she unearthed at flea markets to create pieces for her friends. After a little artistic experimentation with different aesthetics, Thomas cultivated her signature style┬--a unique mix of vintage chains, eye-catching stones, and metalwork┬--and by her senior year of high school, the commissions for her one-of-a-kind pieces were pouring in. But crafting baubles was merely a hobby until one fortuitous day when Thomas was innocuously shopping at Fred Segal wearing one of her own designs. One of the store's jewelry buyers noticed her necklace, and then promptly purchased all of the pieces Thomas had created and requested more. With one boutique order secured and a few more on the horizon, Thomas christened the gritty-yet-girly line Luv AJ┬--a longtime family nickname.

Now fresh out of college, Thomas is dedicating herself to LuvAJ full-time and has transitioned from designing one-off pieces to fully producible collections. Her debut lookbook┬--inspired by the rough-and-tumble vibe of Steve McQueen's iconic films┬--is filled with handmade chunky gold chains, spiked multi-finger rings, and armor-worthy body jewelry. We've pulled a few standout pieces to showcase today, but we urge you check out Thomas' full collection, too. Hopefully you'll enjoy all of her lovely wares and be equally inspired by her journey from hobbyist to full-fledged designer extraordinaire┬--we certainly are!

Copper Bullitt Bracelet ($130)
The copper color of the layered chains makes this chunky statement bracelet unique and contrasts nicely with the sleekness of the silver cylinder details. We'd use it to add edge to a polished ensemble consisting of a tan blazer, light-wash jeans, and patent nude heels.

Fool's Gold Loop Earrings ($65)
Thomas was wearing these cutting-edge chandelier earrings when she came to drop off her jewelry for our photo shoot, and we loved how amazing they looked on! The mixed materials┬--gold chain and fool's gold┬--lend themselves nicely to fashion-forward daytime basics like a sheer button-down, black jeans, and motorcycle boots. However, we could see them being an equally exciting option when used as a high-contrast accessory with a polished cocktail frock.

Ruffle Chain Necklace ($130)
The inherent girliness of a ruffle-patterned necklace gets a dose of Balmain-style tough-girl edginess when crafted in heavy-duty oversized chain. This alluring balance makes this chunky choker perfect for everyday wear; we'd use it to spice up a distressed t-shirt and jeans or you could pair it with contrasting denim separates for an on-trend look.

Fool's Gold Knucklebuster ($90)
Ever since we saw Rihanna sporting multi-finger rings, we've been ga-ga for this rockstar-worthy accessory. We like how Thomas's version combines the semi-precious feel of the blingy fool's gold with the inherent toughness of raw-cut stone. The result is an artistically intriguing bauble that feels simultaneously classic and cutting-edge

Spike Knucklebuster Ring ($100)
With this spiked ring on your finger, no one will dare mess with your style-setting self. Use it to add a kitschy insouciance to a girly, floral romper or upgrade your LBD from directional to dangerously sexy for a seriously fashionable girls-night-out.

Cross Armor Ring ($20)
Surprisingly delicate, this petite gold ring is a great everyday piece. The cross shape is ideal for providing architectural interest when paired with other simpler bands, or it can be worn solo for a more understated, streamlined look.┬--Liza Kaplan

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