Amanda Thomas designs jewelry for the daring girl who loves accessorizing as much as she does — whether it be a singular signature piece or never-ending stacks of bracelets and rings. Luv AJ, Thomas’ dramatic collection, has hints of feminine subtlety wrapped in the illusion of fire and brimstone. It goes without saying that each piece is a definite head-turning addition to any closet.
And at the young age of 23, Amanda’s designs have already garnered a tremendous amount of attention from celebrities like Solange Knowles, Ashely Tisdale and the “coolest of cool” and ever-controversial, Lady Gaga.
We caught up with the super sweet adornment architect at Lucky Shops LA where Amanda filled us in on her perfect Girls Night Out, her “Judas” moment, and the art of piling it on. Read the rest of the interview and catch a peek of Luv AJ’s hazy and romantic Spring/Summer Lookbook after the jump!
How long have you been designing jewelry? Where does the name of your line come from?
Well, my name is Amanda Jane and when I was a little girl I used to sign everything “Luv, AJ” so when it came to finding a business name, it was the first thing that popped into my head. I started designing when I was 15 actually… probably around my senior year of high school, and I have officially been doing it full-time since May of 2010, when I graduated college.
Tell me about your inspiration process when designing.
Well, first and foremost, it’s the materials — I love sourcing crystals and stones and figuring out ways I can tarnish or plate them. It’s really all about how far I can push the materials. I’m drawn to vintage jewelry, so that’s where I get a lot of ideas for silhouettes and different chains and so on. I like everything to look somewhat worn and torn, like someone else has already been wearing it for 40 years.
How would you describe the Luv AJ girl?
The Luv AJ girl loves accessories and loves to pile it on — she isn’t afraid to wear jewelry that looks like weaponry or could double as something sort of dangerous. That said, I do try to create jewelry that has a range so if you’re not that daring, you could still find a good pendant piece or a short chain choker. The girl who wears my pieces tends to be on the edgier, more bad-ass side of things.
How would you style your pieces to transition from day to night?
Honestly, I’m one of those people who will wear crazy jewelry at eight in the morning. But I’d recommend that girls start their day off wearing a bunch of my rings stacked together and then at night time, start piling on some of the spike bracelets and maybe a body chain — I think the more you add, the more evening a look becomes.
I’ve been seeing more and more body chains on the market — what’s your advice for, let’s say, a less daring girl to dive into the trend?
Well, my mom likes them — so there’s that. I think the easiest way to wear them is with a great oversized sweater because the body chain really brings out your shape and adds that feminine silhouette where you can skip the usual belt or accessory for something a little more exciting. The body chain is definitely a waist cincher and when you’re wearing a more neutral piece it definitely livens it up a bit.
What is your idea of the perfect Girls Night Out?
A great dinner, lots of cocktails, going to a karaoke bar and singing ridiculous songs and prancing around like fools. That’s what me and my girls do anyway.
How would you say you Live Louder on a day to day basis?
I mean I’m still young, I’m only 23, and I started this business all by myself so everyday I try to go out there with an open mind and hopefully adorn the world with my jewelry. I think I Live Loud everyday so people can hear my voice and really get a sense of what I’m all about and see the work I’ve created.
Being so young, what would you say has your biggest moment with the Luv AJ collection?
I had a really big moment last week! Lady Gaga used a bunch of my jewelry in new music video “Judas” so just getting the email for that — I was floored. It was definitely like “Oh my God, this is SO cool!” I feel like she’s the coolest of cool and if she wants my jewelry then it’s a serious stamp of approval that I’m doing something right.
Speaking of style inspirations like Lady Gaga, who do you look to for fashion inspiration?
My ultimate is Vanessa Traina because she is just so cool and knows how to wear black really well — it never looks really dark or gothic but rather modern and real. She also does a really great job of mixing stuff straight of the runway with sort of lower-end things in her closet and I think that’s how real girls dress.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing?
Probably graphic design — I studied it in college and still do some freelance work on the side. I definitely wouldn’t be as happy as I am now, doing what I truly love.