Part of the ethos behind FUGGIAMO is exploration, and on the cusp of the year’s end, we’re embarking on a new journey. We’re inaugurating a series of conversations with friends, collaborators, and creatives to explore a dialogue on inspiration, passion, community, travel, and life in general. First up is Kylie Nakao, our giveaway partner/designer of minimalist cool jewelry line, Tarin Thomas.
Tell us about yourself. What led you to become a jewelry designer and create Tarin Thomas? I never really planned to become a jewelry designer. I came from Toronto to New York to attend Parsons, partly because I always knew I wanted to be in New York. While working as a buyer for a SoHo boutique, I felt there was a place for delicate, stackable jewelry at an affordable price point.
How did you come up with the name? I was walking in SoHo with my mom and brother. We were discussing this jewelry idea we wanted to get up and running when my mother stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and blurted out ‘Tarin Thomas’. ‘Tarin’ is my middle name (which comes from my parents’ names, ‘Karen’ and ‘Tom’), and ‘Thomas’ is my brother’s middle name.
From start to finish, what’s your design process? We typically start with a gemstone, and from there, the design ideas start to roll out. There are so many types and cuts of gemstones and diamonds that it is impossible not to be inspired. From there, we create a model, which then becomes a mold that’s cast in various metals. Most gemstone shapes come in a variety of colors, so we are able to mix and match stone and metal combos.
You created a collection of exclusive Kennedy rings for us that we absolutely love. What was the inspiration? We are flattered you love them! Kennedy is one of our original and most popular styles. We knew we wanted to work with open bands and play with the idea of negative space. The baguette stone used in the Kennedy ring is a classic stone that’s rare and hard to source. However, when we were doing our first gemstone purchase, I placed the stones side by side and knew we had to create a ring around this placement.
You proudly source and make everything in NY. Why is that important to you? How does the city shape you and your brand? Yes, we are proudly made in New York City! It is important for so many reasons. We love to support other local small businesses, and producing in the city that we work in and are inspired by also aids in a much smoother design process. I am very hands on and like to personally quality check each and every piece. Being produced in New York, we are able to create custom pieces and have a really quick turn around.
What are your some of your favorite destinations to unwind and escape? Montauk for the beach and Vermont for the mountains and snow. I love to explore, so you name it, and I’m there! I have a trip planned to Australia and New Zealand in the new year, which will bring endless inspiration.
How else do you balance work/play? If you don’t play, you can’t work. I think it’s important to maintain a proper social life, especially because many of those outings can be great opportunity to network. You have to let go and set your mind free in order to give it your all. But don’t get me wrong, work is extremely important as well. A strong work ethic/hard work is something that I truly respect.
Do you have a mantra you live by? Only time will tell…
Eats: KiKi’s, Café Henrie, Barrio Chino, so many good eats in my hood (Lower East Side)
Drinks: tequila with soda and a splash of fresh lime
What’s next for Tarin Thomas? Only time will tell. There is lots in the works, so follow @tarin_thomas to keep in the loop.
* GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED * In case you missed it, Kylie and I have partnered for a holiday GIVEAWAY. We’re gifting 1 lucky follower a $100 store credit + a monogrammed signet ring. It’s the perfect treat for yourself or a loved one. See here for details!