In the Spotlight: Shannon De Jong
Two passions have ruled Shannon De Jong’s life: making
jewelry and making rock ‘n’ roll. Between childhood
dreams of joining an L.A. rock band, she’d rescue popsicle
sticks and other odds and ends from a dead-end life of
garbage, rejuvenating them into jewelry boxes, and later,
Fast-forward to Now. After years of rocking out by night
and collaborating with L.A. designers by day, her talents
converged in ASTALI, a line of unconventional accessories
with a bold, rebel edge. Her unique work is definitely
turning heads: In the past few years, it’s popped up in
music videos by Keri Hilson and Wisin & Yandel, plus
issues of America’s Zink, Germany’s Sleek, and Japan’s
Vogue. Now, we’re bringing it to you.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get inspired by Natural History Museums - taxidermy,
minerals, teepees - I love spending a day at the museum!
I also love spending a day at a flea market - not the big-city ones with vintage store prices, but rural places where
you can actually find treasures and hear the history
behind the antiques.
Sometimes when I'm feeling "designer's block," I just look
around my studio at the objects I've collected over the
years. They remind of the materials and aesthetics I'm
naturally drawn to.
Is there any story to your materials or production
Yes, I use vintage subway and peepshow tokens to turn a
collectable object into a wearable story. I never recast
these pieces - only use the real thing!
And the interlocking snake glass beads in the Chevron
Necklaces are actually trade beads made to mimic the
movement of snake vertebrae. The color patterns used in
those necklaces were inspired by Native American
If you could only wear one piece of jewelry for a year, what
would it be? That's easy because I usually wear the same
pieces most days. :) I have two necklaces - a Zodiac
Peepshow Token and a NYC Subway Token - that I wear
together almost every day. And a Snake Vertebrae
Bracelet that I've been wearing for over 15 years! Oh yeah,
and my wedding band - I never take that off.
Best styling advice you ever received?
"It's best not to be totally in a trend or totally out of it."
Also, "Wear your look, don't let the look wear you!"
Best business advice you ever received?
Make sure you can pay yourself fairly for your time. That's
the difference between a hobby and a business.
As a designer, how do you like to see your pieces styled?
Is there a type of person you have in mind when you
Sometimes, I'll think about a specific inspiring woman or
man when I work on a collection - usually someone I
know. But I like being surprised by my customers and I'm
always excited to see how creatively they put things
together. I'll see a woman and maybe I think, "This isn't
her look." But then, I get to see her explore another facet of
herself when she wears my pieces. It's a privilege to be
part of that self-expression.
If you had to describe your style in five words or less,
what would they be?
Androgynous, Sensual, Comfortable, Natural, Vintage.
What's your favorite spot for a design break?
My backyard! My studio is on my property, so it's easy to
slip outside and have a drink under one of our citrus trees.
Always birds chirping and flowers blooming - it's a happy
If I need to get away, I love Big Sur, CA.