“Fashion is great, being inspired by it, now that’s even better”
I had the opportunity to meet Elle Fuentes a few years ago. Personally I believe she is one of the best jewelry designers in the area, and we are lucky enough to have her creating and innovating in our city.
She has been a designer for the past eight years, and after working for several wholesalers and specialty stores such as Hot Topic and Forever 21 at one end of the spectrum and with celebrities such as Gwen Stefani & The Blonds on the other, she decided to start up her own line to let her creativity steam off. “Following all the rules and regulations of the heavy hitters can be tiresome, so I created my personal line in 2007.”
Always as a hobby, it wasn’t until Elle moved to NJ and started working at Hells Kitchen Lounge (150 Lafayette St, Newark) that she started to flourish in her own realm. It all started when she styled all the jewelry looks for the lounge’s calendar back in 2010. With access to a plethora of cool styles from darling noir jewelry, she was also able to mix in some of her own signature pieces. In the shoot she wore a handmade necklace created by her and this got people talking and asking where they could purchase her designs. That is when Kelly Moraes (owner of Hells Kitchen Lounge) gave her the opportunity of featuring her line on their businesses’ website as well as letting her have merchandise showcases whenever the opportunity arose; like Woofstock, burlesque shows and flash sales at the lounge. She then began giving out her cards to customers and wearing her own pieces in order to generate a buzz about what she was doing. That helped her build a very loyal customer base.
Due to her originality and talent, Elle had the opportunity to work side by side in different projects with local singers and films, featuring her unique pieces and adorning the artists.
She created lines like “Leatherette” inspired by a friend’s boho-chic style, to show this ‘lofty no fuss fashionista style and attitude”. All of the pieces were hand made of supple suede and leather, hand cut into geometric pieces and statement necklaces. Unique pieces that were shot at her friend’s loft in the Ironbound by local photographer Tyler Olsen. This collection is being sold on her online shop ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/eL7e ) and it is definitely a unique collection.
She has collected various charms, beads, and trinkets throughout the years, resulting in a fascinating library of parts and pieces that definitely gives her a daily dosage of inspiration for her unique creations. She is very passionate about what she does, and that is one of the reasons why she is the best at it. “Having ideas in my head inspired by a runway piece, or a juxtaposition of two great trends at once is what makes me happy and continues to inspire my work. I will always love jewelry – and I will always love making it for other people to appreciate it.”
Of course, everything is not that easy, especially when you are trying to innovate. She had to think of an attractive way to market her business and get the public involved. That is when she created the “Keep Calm and Stack Them On” campaign. Photographs of stacks of bracelets, mixed with other designs soon create a catalog dubbed “The Art of Stacking Bangles”.
Right now, Elle is working on her latest project, inspired by the look of “stacking” watches. It is a line of recycled, broken watches that she has hand painted in fun pop colors with cool elements such as patterns and glitter. This is an entire new twist, creating a watch/bangle combo. Pieces range from chunky menswear looks, dainty skinny stretch vintage, to fun leather double wraps adorned with studs. Each piece can be customized with your own choice of colors, so it is as individual and unique as the person who wears it. This collection is available on her online shop as well (http://www.etsy.com/shop/eL7e?section_id=13057391)