Hip hop and ornate jewelry go together like a hand in glove. No wonder designer Jules Kim’s line of lifestyle accessories— Bijules NYC www.bijulesnyc.com—is popping up everywhere from music videos to the necks and ears of certain A-listers. And these aren’t your typical baubles—her high-end collection of miniature hand grenades, Afro picks, and turntables are as socially conscious as they are seriously cute. We recently caught up with jewelry maven and talked about everything from plans for expansion, globetrotting, to why style bitters and critics best take heed.
Clutch: How did you get started designing jewelry?
Jules Kim: I had the desire to do something more permanent than fashion PR. In any case, if you have the passion to succeed, then you should follow that emotion . . . for as long and as hard as you can.
Clutch: Most artists detest being labeled to fit into a certain “box.” How would you describe your creations?
Jules Kim: Bijules is different than most jewelry collections, because like most industries there are divisions within it. My work translates into a comfortable niche in the hip-hop community, but it also moves within hipster/fashionista culture. The pieces are effective forms of self-expression, and regardless of how much dap you tap or how many covers you’ve graced, it suits you according to you.
Clutch: Running your own business lends a great amount of creative control. Are there any ideas that you’ve shied away from when designing a new piece? Any subject too taboo?
Jules Kim: I shy away from producing anything that is not my own creation. I do bespoke pieces with customers and corporations, which would be collaborative. Other than that I stray away from outside influences. That being said, one must always be aware of what is brewing inside your industry so there is no mistake as to who is responsible for its movement. I have been imitated in the past, and it has made me uncomfortable, but seeing this has made me aware of Bijules’ influence. I now take full advantage of it.
Clutch: We love the “Family Jules” line; it’s like you’ve taken images of things that ordinarily strike fear in most (grenades, samurai swords, brass knuckles, etc.), but the delicacy and detail put into the design make it something extremely pleasing to the eye. You almost have to redefine your interpretation of the image. Is that the vision you had in mind?
Jules Kim: Exactly. This collection in particular was created to “empower the woman” and “disarm weaponry.” America has its share of disarmament problems as well as the world’s interpretation of it as a global leader. With all the travel I do, its pathetic the reception America has in the world’s marketplace. The Family Jules collection is my statement against being a typical American; also shaping the face of female leadership…it is important to understand your role as a woman and active citizen.
Clutch: When you’re not working on your jewelry, what are you doing?
Jules Kim: Sleeping. Everything I do takes form in work. The promotions and parties are directly tied in spreading the Bijules word. The travel also leads me to new and fresh markets like London, Berlin, Stockholm, and Antwerp.
Clutch: Any plans for expansion in the future?
Jules Kim: But of course! I will be traveling to Antwerp to exhibit several Bijules pieces in the Diamond Museum from Sept until January. Late August the Bijules team will be showing in Las Vegas, Paris in September, and again in October. There is a retail store in our near future as well.
Clutch: What do you say to critics who believe your pieces glorify violence, or promote violent acts?
Jules Kim: Who the f***? I mean if they want they need to come talk shit to my face yo’, ill break their…nah…nah…kidding. Any press is good press. F***them. I dare them to talk s***, it’s fuel for fire for this brand.
Clutch: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in the business?
Jules Kim: Do what you say and never talk without doing. Your word means everything. It’s like standing dominos, once you open your mouth and take action they start falling…and they need to fall in an organized fashion. So those who open their mouths best regulate what comes out.