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Inside Steven Alan

Studio Visit: Pamela Love

  • We recently visited Pamela Love in her Manhattan studio and chatted with her about her inspiration, living in New York, and her new collection.

    {Photo by Amy Troost}

    You’ve been in New York for quite a while. What do you love about living here?
    I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Florida, and came back to New York for college. I’ve been here since then. I live in Greenpoint. I think my favorite thing about living in New York is just how proactive everybody is. Everybody is really working on a million projects at once, and everyone is doing a million things. I think you meet some of the most interesting, talented people, and also have the opportunity to work with them. I think that’s something that’s really unique and rare, and very much a New York thing.


    We heard that you started to make jewelry as a kid – out of toothbrushes. That’s true. I always made jewelry as a kid and always did weird things . . . like make jewelry out of toothbrushes. I made clay beads, glass beads. I did a lot of beadwork, lanyarding, and weaving. I was always very interested in jewelry, adornment, and making things, particularly things you can wear.


    When did you realize you wanted to do it for a living?
    I don’t think I ever really realized it. I was doing it as a hobby when I was working at another job, so I did it on the side for fun.  I had a store that was interested in purchasing it, and that’s sort of how it happened. That led to a couple of stores buying it, and then a little bit more and a little bit more, and soon it turned from a hobby to something that I could actually do full time and quit my job. I was so stoked. I just sort of fell into it. I don’t think I at any point made a decision to be a jewelry designer.


    Were you doing it all on your own at first?
    Yeah, at first I was outsourcing to different jewelers in the city, but I was doing the bulk of the work in my house. Eventually I was able to get a studio space. Then I had one employee, and then a couple more, and we were all crammed into this tiny space. We grew a little bit and moved into a bigger studio space. It’s been a very natural, sort of slow growth.


    You make all of your pieces here in New York. What are some of the challenges of doing that?
    I think it can be more expensive when you make everything in New York and that’s definitely been challenging for us. Making things that people can afford, but making them here and still being true to what I believe in, which is that we should be making everything here. I would say that’s the biggest challenge. People primarily outsource manufacturing nowadays, especially in the fashion jewelry category, so we have to compete with those price points and be able to translate to people why it’s different.


    How do you think your style or aesthetic has evolved since your first collection?
    Well, I think that every season we definitely incorporate new techniques, new technology, and new materials. We’re really inspired by them, so I think our collection seems to change from season to season. A lot of times it’s very much informed by new skills that we’ve learned about, and new materials. I think whereas in the first collection everything was done in one way, involving the same set of techniques, as the collection has grown and we’ve explored so many different techniques and technologies, it’s definitely turned into more of a full-scale operation that utilizes all of these different skills and techniques. Aesthetically, it’s also evolved every season. Every season I pull inspiration from different places. Some collections have been really representational – animals, plant life, skulls – and then other collections have been more abstract, with geometric shapes and stone inlay. Every season we try to do something completely different from the previous season.


    Even though you’ve explored different directions with each collection, you definitely have a distinct, clearly defined aesthetic.
    I think it’s really important that you’re able to tell that it still comes from the same voice, but I think it’s the same voice telling different stories.

    Is there a specific source of inspiration that you keep going back to?
    Well, I love the American Southwest. I love sort of this Americana vibe. I love the mixture of Native American, Mexican, American motifs that happen in the Southwest that affect the adornment there. Even the architecture, the rug work – everything about that area is an ongoing source of inspiration to me.


    You definitely embody your brand. In terms of your own style, what inspires you?
    I make jewelry for myself in a lot of ways, I make things that I want to wear, so the collection is informed by my taste and my style, and I look at people whose style is inspiring. A lot of times it’s musicians. Neil Young is one of my style icons. I don’t think it’s as much about looking at these women in fashion as much as it is about looking at people who share a similar sort of feeling to what you’re feeling. I design a lot for myself, and not in a selfish way but in a way where I  feel if you really, really love what you’re making and you really want to wear it, you’re going to have a stronger product. I think that my target customer is women around my age who have a similar lifestyle to me, so I think I’m a good test person. If I like it, I hope that other people will like it too.


    What are you working on next?
    I’m excited about our new collection which we’re working on right now, and the collection that we just launched. It’s very much inspired by nature sort of taking over. Our last few collections were very architectural and geometric, and almost mechanical feeling in a way. This past collection was more about going back to your roots, and has a very fairytale feel to it. It was definitely a step in a different direction for us, and I’m really happy with it.

    What are some of your favorite spots in Greenpoint?
    I live on a park called McGolrick Park, and I really love it. I think it’s really beautiful, and feel very fortunate that I get to see it every day because it’s right outside my front door. One of my best friends has a buy-sell-trade vintage store called Fox and Fawn that I really like. You can always find really great things there and you can also bring your clothes in and sell them, which I do a lot. I think half of my closet is now in that store. Three Kings, which is right next to Fox and Fawn, is a really great tattoo parlor. I have a bunch of tattoos from that place. And Five Leaves – I really like their kale salad.

    Many thanks to Pamela and her team for having us over! You can find pieces from her new collection at our Tribeca store or in our web shop.

    This entry was posted on Friday, March 29th, 2013 at 7:49 am and is filed under In Stock, New Arrivals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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