Feature: Native Rainbow (Interview!)

This summer I came across an Etsy shop that I fell madly in love with: Native Rainbow. Native Rainbow’s bold, unique, bohemian jewelry and accessories are perfect for those who want to stand out. I was able to interview the beautiful woman (yes, she’s the model, too!) behind Native Rainbow, Lizzie, to find out where her inspiration comes from, and what advice she has for others interested in becoming a jewelry designer!

LA Inspiration: Where does the name Native Rainbow come from?

Lizzie: Native Rainbow signifies my personal mantra or an inspirational way of living. These words evoke a spiritual power that reminds me to embody my native self as a positive colorful spectrum and be aware of my impact in life.

LAI: When did you begin designing, and what was the final push that made you decide to start your own business?

L: Art has been my passion since before I can remember. I’ve always sketched, painted and crafted. My sister and I used to make jewelry as children. We’d set up a table on the corner of our block and sell our creations.

I dabbled in the fashion and music industries in Los Angeles for almost ten years, continuing my art in various mediums. After feeling the grind in a depressing job for almost five years I realized that the only way I was going to be happy was to be creative and work for myself. I don’t think I could have a boss again. :) For almost three years now, I have been building my jewelry line to include leather bags, belts, dresses and home decor. With many more ideas for the future. I’m constantly pushing myself to learn new skills and techniques.

LAI: What inspires you?

L: I recently moved back to the South to be closer to my family and to enjoy a simpler way of life. Years of living in the city had taken it’s toll and I found myself wanting more solitude, fresh air, clean water and a greater sense of community. My husband and I wanted a mini farm to live as naturally as possible and to rescue as many animals as we can. My ultimate goal is to start Native Rainbow Animal Sanctuary as a non-profit organization. Offering a haven for unwanted, neglected or abused animals or finding them a new home.

I have always been fascinated by animals, plants and objects in nature, especially stones and crystals. My creativity explodes from retrospective outings in nature. I am in love with the deserts of California, New Mexico and Arizona and draw constant inspiration from them. Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The Smokey Mountains are home. And Egypt and Morocco are dream destinations at the top of my list. 

LAI: Is there a certain piece of yours that is your personal favorite?

L: I am my own worst critic so I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have a piece that is my favorite. I always find something about a piece I would improve. However, I would say that my favorite pieces to create would be my hand-painted bags and turquoise rings.

LAI: What kind of person do you envision wearing Native Rainbow?

L: I envision eclectic bohemian babes wearing Native Rainbow. I feel that most of my items are big statement pieces, made for the edgy individuals.

LAI: Who are your top 3 favorite musicians?

L: My top 3 favorite musicians is a tough question. I love music. I mainly listen to music from the 50s- early 70s. Stax and Motown labels. All the old southern Blues players. Psych music from all over the world in the 60s really turns me on! French Pop, fuzz guitar and good ole Rock n Roll soothes my soul. I’ll never grow tired of the 13th Floor Elevators, CCR, Sir Douglas Quintet, Them, the Stones, Jacques Dutronc, Jefferson Airplane, the African band Witch, and the list goes on and on.

LAI: If you could collaborate with any brand you wished, who would it be?

L: There is so much fresh talent in the design market today. If I could do a collaboration with anyone, I would say my dear friend Katelyn. She has previously designed for Nanette Lepore and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. She pretty much reinvented the Navajo and Southwest inspired cardigan sweaters. And I think together we could blow people away. A collaboration could happen in the near future. You can check out her blog here.
LAI: What advice do you have for jewelry designers just starting out?

L: I would advise up and coming jewelry designers to stay true to themselves. The market is over-saturated and people will rip off your designs daily. Just stick with it and always have fun creating. I don’t allow myself to look at other artists’ jewelry because I do not want to subconsciously copy someone. I enjoy knowing that all of my creations are organically cultivated from my brain and not someone elses.

Lizzie also wanted to add, “I believe in humane treatment of animals.  All of my leather hides are purchased directly from hunters so I know the animal was used for purpose of food.  My feathers are humanely acquired, most being shed naturally as well as my deer antlers.


 odylyne s/s 2013

beautiful, perfect, dreamy, romantic, and my favorite odylyne collection thus far. 

Bluesapalooza Style!

 Hat & chain necklace: J.Crew, top: Zara, bag: Sam Edelman, loafers: Nine West.

In recent years, visiting Mammoth Lakes has become somewhat of a regular getaway for me and my friends when we wanted a break from OC beach life. Surprisingly after all of our trips up there, we have never really thought of attending the annual Mammoth Blues and Brews Festival (aka Bluesapalooza!) until now. I figured that having this opportunity to attend one of the biggest celebrations in Mammoth would make for an awesome first post for LA Inspiration.

After purchasing the two-day party pass for Friday and Saturday, I really didn’t know what to expect. Friday was definitely a day to take in the live music. Although not too familiar with the headlining bands, I enjoyed each one’s bluesy crossed with country-rock vibe that made having barbecue sandwiches and warm chili in the picturesque forest of the Eastern High Sierra almost nostalgic. Saturday presented the main event and a more energetic feeling with all the top craft breweries from the West Coast offering unlimited samples of their amazing beer. For a beer novice, the variety was enough to provide a bit of an education on the different types and their flavors, not to mention stumbling upon some unique blends that had you tasting blueberries or even s’mores!

Of course my eyes were also focused on the great style that was ever present. With attendees coming from all over state, festival goers without a doubt demonstrated the eclectic mix of comfortable and chic that California is so well known for. Even the moderate rain on Saturday couldn’t break our spirits–isn’t that what hats are for?

After having a great time with lots of fun memories, I’m sure this marks the first of many trips up north for Bluesapalooza.

Interview: Christi Jay + the Aquarians

Christi of Christi Jay + the Aquarians is one of my extremely talented and inspiring friends. Her designs are beautifully crafted and unique, and I absolutely love them. I received a few of my very own Christi Jay pieces for my birthday, and they are even more amazing in person! So, what does one do when they have a super awesome friend who makes super awesome stuff? Interview them, of course! Enjoy..

LA Inspiration: Tell us about you.

Christi: My name is Christi, I’m from a little beach town in Florida called Jupiter, and I’m now residing in the lovely hills of Echo Park. My friends call me multi-purpose because I’m known to fix just about anything, from your necklace to your jacket to your dining room table (I once had to build my bed frame almost entirely from scratch after a cheap Ikea one left me broke and bed frame-less!)

LAI: When and why did you decide you wanted to start designing?

CJ: I think around 1st grade I changed my “what do you want to be when you grow up?” from art teacher to fashion designer. Around this time my older sister was starting to take fashion courses at the local community college, and I had always looked up to her. I think a love for clothing and shopping was the only thing an 18 year old really has in common with a 6 year old so it made sense that we would bond on this level (and still do!).

My mother was always incredibly frugal, so shopping was where we got our inspiration from (similar to how I look at runway collections today), then we would take a trip to the fabric store and re-create our favorite styles, to varying degrees of success. It started out of necessity and grew into a love for combining beautiful fabrics and textures.

LAI: Your pieces range from wallets to necklaces to dresses – is there one thing you enjoy working on more than the others?

CJ: This is a tough one! It’s like making me choose from one of my children, I love them all :) One thing I wish I could do more of, though, is dyeing, but this is something best done with a large sink in a large garage that you can get really messy, which i don’t currently have!

LAI: What inspires you in the creation process?

CJ: Ancient Mythology, fairytales, imagining what the characters in these stories would be wearing… as a child I had lots of dreams with Mogli from the Jungle Book, so when I design jewelry, I think: “could you see a girl who was raised by wolves wearing this?” making sure that nothing ever ends up too precious. I also look at a lot of jewelry, handbags, and baskets from indigenous cultures, because I think it really shows their connection to the earth, which is something we can all learn from.

As for clothes, I’m most inspired by girls in and around my community, seeing how they style their clothes and come up with new ways of wearing something that they probably found at a thrift store for $3. It’s this kind of frugality that I believe pushes your creativity and forces one to make something fresh out of the same ol’ things. 

LAI: What are your favorite materials to work with?

Leather definitely. Although I have recently started working further with manipulating metal and I love it, leather is the only thing that looks better the more I work with it. I almost always use reclaimed/scrap leather, because I’m a believer in the idea that if you’re going to kill an animal, you should use the entire thing. It’s making sure the life force of the animal lives on after its physical body has passed.

LAI: What has been your biggest challenge as a designer thus far?

CJ: Trying to keep up with all the ideas in my head! I have 5 sketchbooks I’m working in at any given time, and I’m constantly getting side-tracked by making one project then starting another.

Oh yeah, getting enough sleep is a pretty big challenge, because some of my best ideas come to me after midnight, then I can’t sleep until I try it out (or end up waking up really early so that I won’t forget what I dreamed of making).

LAI: Lastly, tell us one totally random thing about you!

CJ: Not so random, but I’m obsessed with crafts… I just finished mosaic-ing my coffee table, before that it was making quilts of my favorite musicians, and I have future plans for some wood art thanks to some recently inherited wood-carving tools. Oh, and I love yoga. Especially kundalini!

Want more Christi Jay + the Aquarians? Find her on Etsy, Facebook, & her awesome blog

New Street Style Contributor: Angeline!

So, since I’ve started blogging again.. I’ve decided to make a few changes (I’ll explain in a separate post). One of the changes is that I am going to start having bloggers contribute street style photos from places outside of LA. I want to bring a little more variety to LA Inspiration!

My first contributor is Angeline from Orange County, who said to me “No need to worry, no polos and LV bags with puppies in them here. If I have anything to do with it, I’d love to show that Orange County can be more than that.” I put together a few questions for Angeline so you can get to know her a bit!

LA Inspiration: Tell us three words that describe you as a person.

Angeline: Sharp, fun-loving, inspired.

LAI: Who is your style icon, and why?

A: Audrey Hepburn…many agree that she is the epitome of classic style, but I love how she made it seem so effortless. The clean lines that she sported can also translate very well into modern style and also create a great canvas for accessorizing.

LAI: If you could travel one place in the world, right now, where would you go?

A: There are too many places in the world that I want to go, but France definitely tops that list–seeing Paris as well as the countryside…not to mention the food!

LAI: What is your favorite piece of jewelry and it’s significance, if any?

A: My Charriol bracelet that I received as a gift last Christmas; it is the first real adult piece of jewelry I own (first item with diamonds), and I love that it’s made of rose gold which although very trendy right now, I find overall unique for the decade…it’s also a great layering piece!

LAI: What’s your favorite pizza topping?

A:  RANCH :)

Join me in welcoming Angeline to the LA Inspiration family!