CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH WITH JIANHUI LONDON
It's Pride Month and we began our celebrations by speaking with London based designer Jianhui on what inspires him in his jewelry design and what's inspiring him this month. Jianhui has created a brand synonymous with bold and bright statements and founded on a platform of innovative, ethical design. His journey from a village in China to dressing icons like Iris Apfel is nothing short of remarkable.
The Jewelry Edit had the opportunity to talk to Jianhui.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
Jianhui is my first name given by my mother. It means ‘building a splendid life’. When I was born, my parents were not only very poor, but also had a very low status in society. My grandfather ran a small business selling textiles and he bought a small piece of land with his savings. During the Cultural Revolution, people like my grandfather were classified as ‘capitalists’ who were the people’s enemies and the worst of society. When I was born, i was the size of my mother’s palm. No one thought I could survive except for my mother. Not only was she hoping that I could survive, but she also had great expectations for me.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing pieces?
I look to art, nature and traditional craftsmanship. You can see all this directly in my various collections.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
It’s a festival of equality and a celebration of human rights. And more importantly, as a gay man, it’s a day of remembering these who have been fighting for LGBTQ+’s rights for decades.
How do you celebrate Pride Month?
I'm excited to join the party—all the parties! I also donate money to organizations who help and fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
What is the biggest challenge you see facing the LGBTQ+ community today?
Discrimination. Even in the UK, one of the most liberal countries in the world, there are LGBTQ+ people killed every year.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be yourself. Know that you're equal to everyone else in the world.
What are your favorite types of pieces to design?
My favorite pieces to design are playful and unisex.
What’s your favorite type of material to wear and work with?
Recycled materials. I’m always excited to see offcuts and leftovers becoming beautiful accessories.
How would you describe your style?
A free spirit. My designs generally have more than one look, I love to mix things up to create new looks. I also take style cues from my friend Iris Apfel. She loves statement pieces and mixing different styles, colors and materials. So do I. She also said ‘more is more, less is a bore’ and I agree!
What’s one piece of jewelry you wear often, that you can’t live without?
My Pashmina necklaces.
Why do you think it’s important for people to wear jewelry?
Jewelry changes the look of an outfit. It elevates the clothes and gives the wearer style. Style is a window into one’s inner world.
What’s something people should keep in mind when shopping for jewelry?
Personality. Let the jewelry showcase who you are.
What draws customers in to purchase jewelry from your collection?
Sustainability, versatility, wearability and uniqueness.