Jewellery designer Kahya Mascoll-Callender always knew she wanted to make a statement. At age 12, the Montreal native (whose parents are West Indian) moved to Antigua where the tropical, vivacious island shaped her design sensibility.
After interning with local fashion designers, including Reese Cromwell (of the label Think Reese), Malaika Lue and Laura Siegel, Mascoll-Callender founded her line in 2015.
“My vision is to create pieces that play up your personality and make you feel regal,” she says of her line, aptly named Krown Jewels.
Now, the 26-year-old designer is best known for her eye-catching rhinestone body jewellery and custom gold plated pieces that she assembles by hand. Having already garnered celebrity attention, Krown Jewels is one to watch.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
“I like to play on the Caribbean culture a lot when it comes to my aesthetic. I also like the idea of being dressed in jewels. Coming from the Caribbean, where we celebrate carnival and our women literally dress in jewels, that’s a huge inspiration for me – especially with my rhinestone jewellery.”
Your latest collection features a Nefertiti motif. What drew you to that?
“The main essence of my line is inspired by royalty. My slogan is “Wear your jewels like a crown.” I like the idea of your jewellery being your emblem and representing female empowerment, and the Nefertiti pieces definitely reflect that.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“A lot of the things I’m coming out with are really inspired by the jewellery my grandmother used to wear. I feel like in the Caribbean women have staple pieces that have been passed on to them or are really common in the Caribbean region – like bangles or hoop earrings. But sometimes it’s honestly the smallest things. Colours I see when I’m walking outside, or a dress someone is wearing on Instagram. It really comes from any and everywhere. I feel like my brain is a never-ending Tumblr account.”
How would you describe the type of woman you design for?
“A woman who sees herself as a leader. She isn’t afraid to set her own standards of beauty, and doesn’t necessarily look to others – I want women to see themselves as royalty, and I hope my jewellery makes them feel super feminine or sexy.”
Who would be your dream woman to wear your jewellery?
“Definitely Rihanna. She really holds the torch for Caribbean women. There aren’t many Caribbean women that are really out there mainstream, and I think she reps us pretty well.”
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far?
“Probably when Ayesha Curry wore my jewellery. It was during All Star Weekend, and her stylist hit me up to pull some jewels for her for that weekend. So that was definitely a highlight. And I think in general just seeing people take to my pieces. Most of the time I just design for myself and I don’t really know if women are going to like it. So I always feel reassured and more confident in myself as a designer when women look at it and say ‘wow, I could really see myself wearing that too.’ Those small joys are why I design.”
Wha’s next for you?
“Right now I want to expand the brand. It’s been really low key since I started about two years ago. I also think it would be really cool to design some jewellery for New York Fashion Week for a designer. And one of my biggest goals is to design a Carnival costume. That’s something I would love to do to pay homage to my culture.”
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