I’ve always wanted to create a men’s jewelry line, but I was not expecting it to happen this year or in the middle of a pandemic. This year has been challenging but it also has inspired new ideas and products such as mask chains for women. I found I was always leaving my mask in the car, putting it down on dirty surfaces, and outright losing it. The mask chain has been a "gamechanger" as you can attach it directly to your mask and put it on as a necklace when you leave the house. When its time to put your mask on, you know exactly where it is, and the chain becomes an attractive yet convenient accessory. It holds on to your mask so you don't have to.
Our women's mask chains caught the attention of local Charleston LBGTQ influencers, Michael and Ian of I Love that For You. They reached out and asked if I had any mask chain designs for men, which I told them I did not. That's when I knew we should join forces on a collection that men would want to wear, focused on designing it with versatility in mind.
We started with a virtual Zoom "Inspiration" meeting to brainstorm and get some ideas on paper. Then I invited them to my studio for the Design meeting. Michael and Ian jumped right into designing, thoughtfully selecting their favorite chains, clasps, and beads from my studio. They chose a variety of textures and materials ranging from bone to semiprecious gemstones to handmade Tibetan beads. Once they picked out the materials, I created the sample so we could see how it looked. Once we finalized the designs, the mask chains were named appropriately after cities in Ian and Michael's home state of Texas: Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and Rockport.
We really focused on the versatility of the designs. You can add eyeglass connectors to the clasps so the chain adapts to be instant holder for your glasses or sunglasses. The chain can also be worn alone as a necklace or a wrap bracelet. These chains can be worn and put to good use once mask life is over. We look forward to expanding the men's line further into necklaces and bracelets.
This has been a very special collaboration for me in a year filled with many challenges, uncertainty, and social change. 2020 has brought new ideas, innovation, diversity, and growth and I'm here for it. Collaborating with Michael and Ian to bring their ideas to fruition has been a fun yet very fulfilling passion project. Their enthusiasm and dedication to launching this product line has been inspiring for me. I look forward to continue designing and growing our Men's Collection with them.