Leyna Lightman is a San Francisco jewelry designer whose inspiration is one of the greatest fabrics of all “lace”. Lace is rarely associated with jewelry and if you are not a big fan of lace I bet Layna can change your mind about it.
Moda Epidemic: How did you start making jewelry and why?
Leyna: I am so inspired by local designers and I love to rock their big, bold earrings because I have a short haircut. I always saw jewelry as such a fun art form (I have a special place in my heart for earrings) and I often saw objects and images that seemed like they would lend themselves to a fun new pair. One day I found some truly gaudy lace appliques at a discount fabric store and I took them home and hung them on earring hooks and they became incredibly elegant.
Moda Epidemic: What inspires you?
Leyna: Besides local artists and designers, I am thrilled by the challenge of re-purposing materials. It’s not recycling, but I am taking things like bridal lace, trim for quincenera dresses etc… and making it into jewelry that is somehow really hip and wearable on an everyday basis. Sometimes I stand in the fabric store staring at a bolt of lace and turning it in circles and upside down before I know how to alter it to make it work for me. Sometimes I have to dye it different colors to make the design pop the way I want it to. In fairness, I have help in this department. I know the employees at my favorite go-to fabric stores by name and they keep me in mind when they have new shipments. I could buy things online, and may do that in future, but I truly love showing up at the lace counter and saying, “alright Laura. Whaddya got for me today?”
Moda Epidemic: Why did you choose lace to work with?
Leyna: Lace has a rich, long history. Before machine-made lace it was created by hand and was very much a “woman’s craft.” Today it is often used in uber feminine purposes like wedding dresses. This history is an important aspect of the re-purposing of the lace because I am sort of turning those ideas on their heads by doing something new. Plus, lace is so light! You can really go big with the designs because it won’t pull.
Moda Epidemic: I love lace. It’s just so elegant, sexy and I think it’s timeless.
Moda Epidemic: What are you future goals and dreams?
Leyna: My family is Turkish and I just came back from a wedding in Istanbul. I found all of this great lace in the Grand Bazaar and I am having a ball dying it and making new jewelry. I really want to start digging for more lace in other, new places- maybe as close as LA. Lace hunts are a great way to get familiar with a place. Also, selling in San Francisco has been such a satisfying way to become more connected to my community. I love building relationships with store owners, other designers and customers. I am really looking forward to doing a lot more of this as my business grows
Models: Nancy Flores and Sabrina Habel
Photographs: 6 Degrees Creative
This post originally appeared on ModaEpidemic