Lookbook Lust: LUV AJ Heavy Metal Lover

Amanda Thomas is one of the coolest, smartest babes in Hollywood. It doesn’t hurt that she can create badass jewelry either, and we’re definitely obsessed with her jewelry line Luv Aj. We had a chance to sit down with the busy designer to discuss the launch of her latest collection, and here’s what she had to say:

Watch Luv AJ Heavy Metal Lover Lookbook Video from Claire Thomas on Vimeo.

LF: You chose the name “Heavy Metal Lover.” Tell me more about the inspiration behind this collection.

AT: The name of the collection has to do with the physical elements of all the jewelry as well as the overall vibe. For the first time ever, I produced my entire collection with just metal. I usually throw in a pyrite chunk or crystal chunk here or there, but this time around, I eliminated all of that and kept it simple. The textures and interest in every piece is through mixing and matching metal finishes, like brass and rose gold and silver, and treating the metal surfaces in different ways to make it look work and torn. I also experimented with the weights of metal, by using really heavy chains and super thin delicate ones too (which I never do). It was fun to set the boundary of only using metal and then designing within those means.

LF: What are your favorite heavy metal albums?

AT: Ironically, I hate heavy metal music. Like there is not a single band that I would even listen to. I have a self-proclaimed shitty taste in music. I listen to nasty gangster rap and scary electronic music, so I guess I’m really in no position to be bashing on any other genre of music.

LF: Little birdie told me you have a huge vintage jewelry collection. How much of your work is inspired by music or style icons from the past?

AT: Honestly, most of my designs are inspired by vintage jewelry. There’s a certain quality and aesthetic that you just don’t really find anymore that really drives me to create special pieces. I feel like you can walk around any store at the mall or even online shopping and everything starts to look the same. There is something really un-trendy that I like about vintage jewelry. There’s a lot to be learned from the people who made jewelry before us!

LF: What’s your favorite material to work with?

AT: I work with brass and copper primarily. Brass is really heavy but that’s why I like it. People always complain about the weight of some of my designs, but I think it makes it feel more substantial and means you’re investing in a quality piece. I worked with copper on the sheet metal anklets this season and a few other cuffs because it’s a more malleable metal. It bends to your body, which can be good because some of us, myself included, don’t have the skinniest arms and wrists.

LF: Favorite pieces from the Heavy Metal Lover collection?

AT: Ohh…. tough call, but there are a few that are my babies. The Sheet Metal Fringe Cuff was the first piece I ever imagined for the collection. I literally dreamt about it one night and woke up and sketched it out. It’s funny because when you start sample development, so many aspects of a design change (because the jewelry has to be functional) but I’m really happy with the evolution of this piece. Also, the Sheet Metal Anklet/Upper Arm Bracelet is a favorite because I think it’s so fashion forward. Anklets are back in a big way and these sheet metal versions are for bonafide bad asses. I also cannot stop wearing the Pyramid Stud Tennis Bracelet. It’s just easy to wear and stack and layer and the matte black version is killer.

LF: You work closely with your sister, a talented photographer. She shot this latest lookbook, which btw looks super rad. Is all your family very creative?

AT: My sister and I are both creative in our own ways but love to join forces whenever we can. I’m so lucky that I live with my photographer/videographer because she’s always there to help me out when I need her. We both kind of got it from our parents: my dad being the super creative one (he’s a commercial director and owns a production company with my mom called Green Dot Films) and my mom is the brains behind the operation. So we both pick up that creative and business-savvy side from them two of them.

LF: You’re working and living in L.A. How does your environment affect your creative process?

AT: I work downtown but I actually live in Brentwood, which is where I grew up. It’s quiet, there’s mom running around in their SUVs with lattes everywhere, so I’m away from the craziness on a daily basis, which is nice. My studio is my parent’s pool house so I kind of work and exist in this serene environment. It is really the best thing ever since my days are so jam-packed, it’s nice to be working at home.

LF: How FAST do you live?

AT: I’d say pretty effing fast. This past week alone has been a whirlwind – I had nonstop meetings in LA till Wednesday, took the red eye to NYC for two more, flew back home to have a triple root canal, and am now back to work 12 hours later. I can’t stop, there’s too much to get done! But it’s all good. When you take on the responsibility of running your own company, it comes with the territory. Your hours are what you make them, and if things need to get done, I’m going to make sure they get done.

LF: Art Talk: What inspires you? Favorite art or work?

AT: I studied Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design, so I’m drawn to more 2-d artwork, whether its illustration, typography, etc. I love Carly Waito’s paintings of rocks because it reminds me of the materials I work with, I love Ezra Rosie’s mixed-media fashion illustrations, and things of that nature. Not a 2-d artist, but I also love Damien Hirst for his scale and the strange subject matter of all his pieces. I need that giant shark in my living room some day.

LF: Sex Talk: What gets you off? Literally or figuratively?

AT: So lame to say, but RESPECT. It’s insane how few men, or rather, BOYS, will treat you with respect. And there is nothing more unattractive than disrespect. It’s absolutely the biggest turn on and more dudes should be aware of this. It’s not that hard…

LF: Travel Talk: Favorite destination or travel stories that you want to share…

AT: Ahhh… well my sister and I take a yearly trip together for her birthday in June, and last year we went to Spain. We are the best travel buddies because we are on the same agenda. Our trips revolve around eating, since she is a chef/food photographer and I’m a bonafide fat ass, and we love to chill and work. We would sit on our laptops in the sun in Barcelona and worked on editing my lookbook and would periodically eat and roam the cities all day and it was my idea of heaven. We also stocked up on tons of cheap Spanish-made Espadrilles, like the ones Louboutin makes, so that wasn’t so bad either.



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