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Kelsey Quan

Thursday 15 December 2011
Words Spindle

New York based California girl, Kelsey Quan is the latest jewellery designer to makes waves among the fashion set, seen around the necks of industry designers both sides of the pond. Now debuting her Spring/Summer collection, Quan’s unique fusion of East & West Coast influence is fast-becoming the stylist-turned-designer’s trademark. Her acid-bright, hand-crafted pieces transport the LA coast-line to your neckline, whilst keeping the city-folk happy with contrasting metallics and strong shapes. It may be grey out this season, but Kelsey’s fluoro-collars & dyed leathers can see you into Spring without suffering a serious case of SAD. We shot the LA native some questions about what takes her designs from paper to production, and what’s in the pipeline for future collections.

Describe the design process; what gets the ball rolling on a design? Do the ideas come at you suddenly, and the details follow? Or, do you fall for certain stones and build your designs around them? 
I usually tend to go out and source different materials and work my designs around the things I find. I love to just walk around and let the materials choose me in a way. The majority of my designs are definitely inspired by the stones, so I usually spend a lot of time sourcing the perfect stone to be inspired by. Of course, I’ll always sketch, but the initial design never stays the same; I’m constantly modifying.


What kind of person do you see wearing your jewellery? Given your styling background, do you keep any specific individual’s look in mind whilst designing your pieces?  
Definitely a fashion chick. I don’t really see it being too mainstream, just in the fact that everything is so bold and in your face. You don’t have to be interested in fashion, but it takes a very daring individual with a bright personality to want to wear them! I would love the Lady Gaga’s and Rihanna’s of the world to find my jewels.

So you’re bold with your own choices? Who are your design favourites? Anyone that influences your personal style & work? 
Some of my favourite designers are Christopher Kane, Isabel Marant, Issey Miyaki, Preen, Jeremy Scott, Suno, Comme des Garçons and United Bamboo.

Your ‘West Coast cool meets East Coast class’ style underpins most of your work. Should we expect to see this fusion of both coasts become a Quan style-trademark? 
Most likely. I just came back from California and it made me realize how much I miss it all! The laid back easy-going vibe and people that surround me there.

Anything you want to let us know about the new collection…? 
I was really into kaleidoscopes when I started to sketch, I just loved all the vibrant colours that turned into each other and transformed into new shapes and sizes. SO COOL! So my new designs definitely reflect that mix of colours. I’m especially excited about these new collars made of fluorescent resin; they’re nuts!

…& finally, gun-to-the-head situation; you have to choose… East or West Coast girl…? 
West Coast!