Accessories designer Jewel Lee’s label Jubilee Riot is a collection of fiercely sleek bracelets, rings and necklaces inspired by post-modern architecture, mid-century modern furniture, geometry, French new wave films and youth-culture. Her pieces appeal to both the nerdy psychologist as well as the fashion blogger within me.
Lee explained to me that her path to jewelry design was not smooth; “It was very random how I ended up designing jewelry, despite my given birth name!” After graduating (Lee has a background in psychology and business studies) Lee found herself longing for a more creative field of work, which led her to train formally as a textile designer at the Fashion Institute and Technology in New York City. With a great passion for the detail of accessory design, Lee transitioned to jewelry and began Jubilee Riot. She told me, “One of the details I liked best when designing handbags was creating custom hardware - functional rivets, feet, rings and closures. This is how I got into jewelry design.” Attracted to both the sculptural and industrial design process of jewelry making, combining different metals, finishes and textures, Lee added, “It is also exciting to be able to communicate ideas on a relatively small scale.”
Themes from space-age futurism, Aztec stair step architecture, mystical pyramid shapes and punk rock are articulated within the new spring 2012 collection. All jewelry is hand made in Manhattan using brass, bronze and pewter materials.
Lee’s leanings towards psychology shone through when she talked to me about the ways in which fashion, attitude, personality and mood are linked. “I love piling on some of my signature bracelets or stacking multiple rings when I am in an angsty mood. It is incredible how fashion can alter one’s attitude instantly and this is the reasoning behind creating various shapes and pieces.” She continued, “I want them to flow with the changing attitudes and style of every thought and moment that passes through our lives.”
What of the name ‘Jubilee Riot’? Lee explained, “It is actually an anagram I created. I spontaneously rearranged some letters around and came up with this name. I like the juxtaposition of both words.” She continued, “It is both happy and rebellious at the same time. Also, Jubilee incorporates both the J from my first name and Lee from my last name. Jubilee Riot is a celebration of contradictions.”