Why did you start Luv AJ?
I started out making jewelry in 2004 when I was 14 years old. I used to intern for a designer on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA and my parents would drop me off after school and on the weekends, and I would help in her studio. She taught how to wire wrap and gave me insight on running a small business. I just fell in love with it, so I started buying chains and beads on my own, going to flea markets and finding vintage components to work with. I would always wear my own creations, and one day when I was shopping in Fred Segal, one of the jewelry buyers saw my necklace and next thing you know, they picked up my line!
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Honestly, no! I started making jewelry for fun and it just kind of grew from there. I always knew I wanted to be in fashion, so in high school and college I pursued internships at a ton of different places as a kind of process-of-elimination to see what I liked the best. I worked for a PR firm, with [clothing designer] Rachel Pally, [celebrity stylist] Cristina Ehrlich, and Who What Wear. I even did freelance graphic design work for Rachel Zoe after I graduated college, but I just kept coming back to jewelry.
Who is the Luv AJ girl?
I'd say Luv Aj jewelry is a one part feminine and one part bad-ass, so the Luv Aj chick can be a lot of girls. I think edgy and confident customers are drawn to the line initially, but there is honestly something for everyone to wear. The Luv Aj girl is the kind of girl who plans her outfits around her accessories, not her clothes.
How do you describe your aesthetic to someone who has never seen your pieces?
I would say: tough, luxe, heavy metal, stackable, wearable, a little dainty, a little chunky.
How do you imagine the pieces from the latest collection being worn?
Layered, 100%. I try to create each collection so that it can be worn apart, or stacked together to create a cohesive look. I try to cover every category and style so that there’s a bit of something for everyone.
Where are you most inspired to create?
When I’m at home, relaxed, usually watching TV and itching to get creative. I feel like my day-to-day life is very business-oriented, with lots of emails, spread sheets, bills, etc. so when I get some quiet time that’s when I’m more inspired.
What are you bored of seeing?
Crystals! This trend is so over, it’s been done too many times, Im more interested in seeing new materials that haven’t been used over and over.
Which is your favourite piece from your latest collection?
The Double Spear Collar is my favorite piece. It’s really subtle, but still kind of a statement necklace at the same time. I feel like it looks great solo, or layered with other necklaces. It kinds of just rocks any way you wear it!
What are the essential ingredients to one of your designs?
Metal, chain, studs, clean lines, and wearability.
What jewellery do you yourself wear?
I’m obsessed with piercings. I’m now up to 9 on both ears, so I’m always wearing my little hoop buggies and studs layered together. I wear two simple chains on my neck, and a mix of diamond rings and some pavé rings from past Luv Aj collections. I also only wear gold on my ears and neck, and rose gold on my fingers. No reason; I’m just weird like that!
What’s next for Luv AJ?
We have some amazing collaborations coming up in the new year that I can’t wait to share with everyone! I’m also working on a new fine jewelry line called APRÉS JEWELRY that is going to be affordable fine bridal jewelry. Think wedding bands, engagement rings, and day-of wedding jewels.
Interview conducted by Phoebe Tully