While many jewelry designs are inspired by lighthearted motifs (flowers, disco, pets), a pair of New York-based designers has decided to address more serious issues in their art.
One-time JCK Luxury Personalities (“The Can-do Kids,” Spring 2007) Ken Leung and Dana Chin of Ken and Dana Design and BYLU recently launched the Rights collection as part of its b-side (yes, the name is all lowercase) line of fashion pieces (fine jewelry remains in its BYLU division).
Party time! Ken and Dana hosted a launch party for their new Rights collection in their New York studio.
Ken and Dana’s big wall of press. See their JCK article on the left.
Welcome to this party: Todd Gast, JCK art director, Dana Chin, and Ken Leung (I am taking the pic).
The Rights collection is, as the name suggests, all about the law, or more specifically, four U.S. Supreme Court Civil Rights Cases:
- 517 U.S. 620 1996, Romer v. Evans (protects against discrimination by sexual orientation)
- 258 U.S. 130 1922, Leser v. Garnett (upholds 19th Amendment, women’s right to vote)
- 347 U.S. 483 1954, Brown v. Board of Education (upholds 4th Amendment, desegregates schools)
- And 388 U.S. 1 1967, Loving v. Virginia (legalizes interracial marriage).
[Roe v. Wade will be added in the future.]
Ken and Dana hosted the launch party at their Manhattan digs, revealing not only the new jewelry but exactly where the pieces are made. The idea behind the collection is to educate and call attention to history.
“It’s astounding to us that just 40 years ago, for example, mixed race couples in this country were prosecuted and punished simply for loving each other,” Ken told JCK. “The decision of these court cases seem obvious now, but that wasn’t always true. Minority groups continue to face double standards and other injustices. The law governing us today is far from perfect, and these court cases serve as a good reminder.”
Pieces feature the court case names in sterling and enamel or base metal and enamel and retail prices start at $150.
The time is likely ‘right’ for such a virtuous line; the Wall Street Journal even reported about similar ethics-minded efforts by other luxury goods makers like Tiffany and LVMH in an article earlier this month.
Here’s where the magic happens, at their workshop in New York.
These two used to dj together at a club, and they can still spin tunes at their leisure thanks to this set-up in the studio.
Fashion, inspiration …
But the real proof that the idea is a good one is a satisfied customer. Finding one (Todd bought a necklace) wasn’t too difficult.
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