Nature becomes fashion with this season’s hottest accessory, feathers. Avant-garde designer Jean Paul Gautier and Salvatore Ferragamo have all used feathers in their fall season collections, becoming the perfect accent to any outfit or accessory. Feathers have also made their way to jewelry. Birds of a Feather Jewelry designer Hasnaa At-Tauhidi has created a beautiful collection of feather earrings that are a must-have in any jewelry collection. Unique design with stunning colors, Hasnaa’s earrings are a sexy fashion statement that people will surely notice. Clutch reached out to Hasnaa to talk about her designs and creative inspirations.
Q: When did you start designing jewelry?
I started designing jewelry in my head many, many years ago but the first piece I ever actually made was about four and a half years ago. It was really bad. I made something for my mother. She actually still had it until this past summer when I made her throw it out. She loved it still but I was mortified.
Q: Where do you currently live? Does this influence your design vision?
I live in Philadelphia. I don’t think that my city has much influence on what I do. But I would say that the people I’m around definitely do. A lot of my styles are named after friends that influenced and/or inspired me. Most of my friends are artists, many of them jewelry designers. Sometimes we collaborate or just bounce ideas off one another.
Q: What inspired you to create jewelry using feathers? How are they significant to you?
I’ve been collecting feathers for as long as I can remember. I have always been fascinated by birds and their colorful plumage. Not only for their beauty but also for what they symbolize. Birds are a symbol of the soul, aspiring upwards, flying free of the restraints of the earth. My grandfather used to take us to Native American pow-wows when we were younger, and I always loved the jewelry that incorporated feathers. Once I started learning about different birds and how unique certain feathers were, I became more and more interested in them. My collection grew and eventually I just started making jewelry for myself, family and friends. I would get stopped all the time because you really didn’t see anyone making fly jewelry with feathers a few years ago. Now it’s the newest trend so the market is saturated. But again it’s something that resonates deeply for me so I approach it from a slightly different angle.
Q: Aside from feathers, what other elements do you incorporate into your designs?
I use a lot of shells, wood, as well as metal hardware obviously, chains, some charms etc. But it’s still really all about the feathers.
Q: Who are some jewelry/ fashion designers that inspire you?
I love Alexander McQueen, he’s a genius.
Q: On your path to starting, were there any major challenges in the beginning?
Finding materials. But I got smart. I linked up with some breeders as well as some bird aviaries. I also hand dye most of the feathers so I can get the effect that I want. Also, pricing. People don’t realize how unique a certain feather may be. Like for example that only a male or a certain breed may have only two of a certain feather; It may take them years to loose it. I have certain feathers now that I don’t even let anyone touch or look at. They wouldn’t appreciate them. I have a stash, and if I feel like I need to add something really special to a custom order I’ll go there.
Q: Which piece is your favorite of all the jewelry pieces you have designed over the years and why?
I started doing necklaces most recently. One of my clients is DJ Rashida. She’s Prince’s DJ. I made her this really dope necklace that I didn’t want to part with. So yeah, maybe that one.
Q: What is your vision for your brand and collection?
While trends are important to many people, my customers will always be the type of people that follow their own rules. Someone who isn’t afraid to be a little over the top. Although I think my jewelry has an appeal for the everyday, I like to think my stuff is ideal for someone that really wants to get noticed. I’m also a big fan of asymmetry. I like to make a pair of earrings or a necklace where one side is longer than the other. You’ll often catch me only wearing one earring, and I have some that I sell that way. I’m one of those people that will plan a whole outfit around my accessories, and so I wanted to design a jewelry line that allowed me to do that.
Q: Where besides your website can we find your jewelry?
I’m in a few boutiques locally. My website is in the works but you can check out a lot of my stuff on my MySpace page. www.myspace.com/featherearrings.