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Fashion Effort: Designer Spotlight: Shannon De Jong


Mar 31, 2013

Designer Spotlight: Shannon De Jong

Fashion Every Day! Hello world!
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, actual jewelry. 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 process? 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 textiles. 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 design? 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 place! If I need to get away, I love Big Sur, CA.
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