IN Interviews : Kelsey Quan


Full name: Kelsey Quan

Favorite material/texture: Pirate bones ... j.k. j.k., amethyst! (I love the meanings behind this rock, [it's] supposed to be calming, while giving you positive energy, it can be a stress reliever, all [the] great things I hope it does for me)!

Birthplace: Diamond Bar, California

Favorite movie: ¡Three Amigos!

Best place to find rocks: If I told you I would have to kill you. *Wink*

One accessory you cannot go without: I would like to say a special ring or earring, but I go days without any accessories, so I would say the only accessory you need is your smile. As long as you smile, people aren't really looking anywhere else!

Inspiration daily blogs/magazines you read: The Man Repeller, Fashion Gone Rogue, Style Bubble.

Prior to your 2010 debut collections, you were a fashion stylist. What was life like in that profession? I'm still working as a stylist as of today, but it's wonderful! I love creating new and different things every day and with styling, it constantly challenges my creativity.

How has this skill set benefited you as a Fashion Designer? I would have to say that being a designer has helped me more as a stylist than vice versa. I think my knowledge and understanding of the body has made styling a lot easier than I think it would for anyone else. But to answer your specific question styling and working with so many different designers every day definitely serves as a source of inspiration. You're constantly touching and working with so many various designers, you can't help but to get excited about fashion!

Before making a piece, do you envision your customers' attire and styling? Sometimes, but usually not. I'm [the] type of person that usually starts the day dressing around one specific thing I really, really want to wear that day. Whether it's a pair of new booties, or a new sweater ... I usually focus my outfit around that one thing that'll make my day/outfit. So I would hope whoever wears my jewelry will encompass their ensemble around one of my necklaces! I want them to ask themselves, "Hey, I want to wear this necklace today, what [item] in my wardrobe will complement it most?" And hopefully they have loads of options to wear since the purpose of the necklace is to dress up any simple outfit, or on the other hand ... make you into an even bigger fashionista!

Based on your background as a self-taught Fashion Designer, do you feel like this has limited your work at all? Yes, being self-taught does have its drawbacks, but it just takes me a little while longer to figure things out. I also like to tell myself that it's not such a bad angle to take things on through a fresh pair of eyes unhindered by rules and standards. I feel it helps me to think outside the box more or less.

How does it feel to see your work on other people? It feels great! It's an awesome sense of accomplishment to see other people wearing them, and for [people] to tell me how much they love wearing the pieces. I was blown away when Flora from Ohne Titel said how much she loved them so I sent her a couple necklaces to have fun with. And the whole Bumble team has been amazing in all of the support they've sent my way. The girls over there were some of the first to take notice of the necklaces and I always get excited when they wear them!

What is a typical day like for Kelsey Quan? Any religious activities, coffee shops, Bill Cunningham-esque/Sartorialist moments? No specific religious activities. Definitely I always struggle to get out of bed and hit the local coffee shop (although I'm trying to cut off coffee because it's bad for you, but whatever ... I don't really care if it is. I think I'm addicted, haha)! But everyday I work as a stylist and come home to work on the jewelry, I'm constantly on the go, but I love it!

Finding a niche or starting a company is very much like a eureka moment, what was your original moment of conception like? I don't think there was one specific moment for me. I've always been into design since a young age. I think I've always known what I wanted to do but the difference is saying it and then doing it. It definitely takes a push to start putting things, words, and ideas into actions. I have my close friends to thank for giving me that push.

Your usage of leathers, metals and stones are reminiscent of tribal trinkets. Is there a source of inspiration for your material selection? In all honesty, I went out exploring with an open mind. I grabbed a bunch of random materials that would pop out to me, whether it was with the coloring, the shape, the feel. If I liked it I found a way to incorporate it.

It is evident that color is a major part of your work. Being that all the materials are curated individually, how important is color when choosing your materials? Color is super important in this collection, it's all about neons and pops of bright colors. I worked hard to make sure the coloring all corresponds well with each other and compliment the necklace perfectly.

I imagine that this process must be time consuming. Yes, it takes me a while to envision how I will construct and create a piece, but that's the hardest part. Once that's over the rest is easy!

Recently many large retailers and distributors like Free People, J. Crew, and Colette France have collaborated with independent designers like yourself to create one-of-kind accessories. Is this something that you've ever considered? Yes, I totally dig how they're making fashion accessible to the public, everyone should be able to look and feel great not just fashion insiders. Of course, Opening Ceremony always has the best collaborations but I also hope to one day work with J. Crew because lets face it, they're on fire right now. Haha!

For those fascinated by Kelsey Quan, what is the best way to acquire and purchase your works? As of now, you can purchase by emailing I'm currently in the middle of negotiations with other retailers so stay tuned on my website and I'll be sure to update selling locations as soon as things are finalized.

--Special thanks to Kelsey Quan. Photography by Scott Eiden and Art Direction by Jenna Yenkun and Lisa Stuart. Interview by James Buford and edited by Alicia Fairclough for Infashuated © 2011. No part of this content or information included therein may be reproduced, republished or redistributed without the prior consent of Infashuated.