If the quality of the star power attracted to Lorraine West’s jewelry is any indication of the excellence of her work, then count Clutch in as fans! Lorraine boasts a client list that includes Erykah Badu, Rapheal Saadiq, Eve, Rosario Dawson, Angie Stone, Common, and Andre 3000 among others. Artful and substantial pieces like sleek leather earrings, wood earrings and bib necklaces, abstract sterling silver rings, hammered dangler earrings, and cuffs are designed with a purpose greater than vanity in mind. “West’s main goal is to capture the true essence and spirit of the individual. Her mission is to make the wearer feel like they have just put on their armor and can conquer the world by wearing it.” We caught up with Lorraine to discuss everything from where she finds inspiration to how to build your own jewelry collection.
Clutch: When did you launch your jewelry line? I started my jewelry line in 2000.
Clutch: What’s the story behind Lorraine West accessories?
The story behind my collection is about the woman/man that embodies strength, desire, passion, spirituality, and completion. I really see my jewelry as being a beautiful and sensual armor for the wearer to go out into the world knowing they can conquer all obstacles. My pieces are designed to remind the client of their infinite possibilities in life. Therefore I design pieces that can be worn with just about any type of outfit; dressed up or more casual attire. I put an enormous amount of thought and love into my designs. My designs tell a story and the purpose is to heal through adornment and beauty.
Clutch: What type of woman wears your jewelry?
The woman that wears my jewelry is a collector of unique pieces, fashion forward, a risk-taker, strong and spiritual.
Clutch: Your line is definitely unique. What attributes do you think make your line stand out?
What makes my line different is that I have multiple themes for each collection. My pieces have powerful meanings to remind the owner of their beauty, strength and purpose in life. The quality of the pieces are impeccable and can be passed down through generations.
Clutch: What type of jewelry is included in your collection?
My collection encompasses fine, designer and costume pieces. I use metals such as gold, silver, copper and brass to create my signature hammered bangles, astrological and sacred symbol pendants, hoop earrings, cocktail rings and much more. Precious stones, wood and glass are also utilized throughout the line in various ways.
Clutch: What are your price points?
Custom pieces can range from $1000-$10,000 depending on the complexity of design, fabrication process, material cost, labor and timeline. For my ready-to-wear collection price points begin at $250-$1000.
Clutch: Where do you find inspiration for your wonderfully designed pieces?
I find inspiration in the human form, movement, shapes and colors in nature such as plants, trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables and animals. Fashion, travel, astrology, spiritual symbols, and geometric shapes also influence my designs.
Clutch: Obviously, we love your collection, but what does Lorraine West offer to other fashionistas and tastemakers?
I offer a wide variety of styles…whether it be for the sophisticated business woman, the fashionista that enjoys the night life, or the jet set traveler, there is an LW piece to suit every woman’s personality and style. My clients really find joy in wearing the pieces and seem to incorporate them into their daily lifestyle.
Clutch: What does the future hold for Lorraine West? Do you plan on expanding your line?
The future for Lorraine West is to launch my first web site www.lorrainewest.com at the end of September 2007. I plan to expand the line by incorporating bridal, men’s, children’s and time pieces. I’ll also sell my collections to leading boutiques, trade shows, and trunk shows globally. I’ll design couture jewelry pieces for film, television, stage, celebrities, and complement leading fashion designer’s collections for fashion week in NYC and Paris. I’m going to launch a non-profit for young woman of color to teach them design and fine-jewelry techniques. I plan to open a namesake jewelry boutique in Brooklyn and or Manhattan within the next five years. I’ll continue to travel for inspiration while I grow spiritually and mentally. Blessings are infinite and I am open to receive them beyond my imagination!
Clutch: Your work has been seen on some of the most talented names in entertainment. Is there anyone that you aspire to work with?
I admire so many names in entertainment. I would love to work with Sade, Prince, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Gweyneth Paltrow, Paula Patton, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Kelis, Bjork, Kanye West, Kerry Washington, Kate Moss and Oprah just to name a few.
Clutch: Do you have any tips for the novice who might be interested in buying/collecting jewelry but doesn’t quite know where to start?
Always start off with the basics…what are your preferences; earrings, rings, necklaces or bracelets? Then break it down into what style of each you prefer; be it antique, contemporary or avant garde pieces. What type of materials do you like and color schemes? Some great ways to discover your personal jewelry style are by going to museum gift shops, such as the Met or the Moma, flea markets and viewing fashion magazines such as Vogue Gioiello, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Lucky.
Clutch: Where can readers purchase your work?
The new collection will be available to purchase at the end of September 2007 at www.lorrainewest.com. A list of boutiques that will carry my collection for Fall/07 & Winter/08 will be listed on my website, which launches on September 30th.