By Katherine Kane
Style has always been an important part of how I express myself. Dress up was my favorite childhood game, and I realized early on that while I couldn’t afford to buy all the pretty things I wanted, I could learn to make many of them myself. By 5th grade I was taking adult metalsmithing classes at the local art center, creating jewelry for every friend or family member who showed interest, and channeling my Tori Amos-adoring, purple lipstick-wearing teen spirit into some pretty wild handmade jewels (think silver with spikes).
I've noticed that the confidence I feel when I look my best can mean the difference between a good day and a great day. In a world full of more pressing issues than personal appearance, I am learning to be unapologetic about this. I know for a fact that I am more productive, more engaging, and more fun when I feel good. For me, feeling good goes hand-in-hand with staying in shape and telling the story of my moods, aspirations, and attitude via what I am wearing. My boyfriend always says — you don’t need makeup, you don’t need to change your clothes for dinner! But the truth is, it’s not for him, at least not directly. It’s for me. Because I know that I am a better person when I feel good about myself.
"I have noticed that the confidence I feel when I look my best can mean the difference between a good day and a great day."
My style is less about buying into every new clothing trend and more about building a wardrobe and a beauty/fitness routine that feels authentic to who I am. I have finally accepted that fast fashion, makeup contouring, and running are not for me. Through college and my early years in New York, I ran most days. I never, ever liked it – it was something I felt I SHOULD do to stay in shape. I have since traded in my running shoes for a yoga mat and recently spin shoes, and there is really no comparison in how much better I feel during and after my workouts. No matter how many YouTube tutorials I have watched on contouring, I just don’t get it. Next. And I used to love the thrill of a cheap purchase from a fast fashion chain – until one of the big ones copied one of my necklace designs and mass-produced it. I soon learned that this is how many of these retailers operate – they prey on emerging designers who don’t have the resources to defend themselves again copycats. Seriously, Google it. Now I would much rather purchase fewer, better pieces from other emerging designers – these are the ones that really prove their value after years and years of wear.
"Now I would much rather purchase fewer, better pieces from other emerging designers – these are the ones that really prove their value after years and years of wear."
My jewelry is about helping people tell their own stories. Several years ago, I was looking for a pendant featuring my initials and could not find a piece that reflected my personal style. I wanted something less traditional, more unique. At the time, I was working in Marketing at Harry Winston, and began taking metalsmithing classes again at night. I created a design of my initials using a calligraphy pen, traced it onto a piece of copper sheet metal, and cut it out with a jewelers saw. Friends and strangers began asking me to make them similar pieces. I think people are attracted to the originality of my monogram designs relative to other personalized jewelry that’s on the market – I do them by hand based on each specific initial combination, rather than pulling them from a pre-existing font. I look at them like personal logos – and women buy them to celebrate career achievements, new initials, and other important milestones in their lives.
I love the idea that people can express themselves and/or what is important to them through my jewelry. I think that personalization, especially approached in a unique way, imbues an authenticity and layer of meaning that can make the wearer feel really special. My Graffiti Collection allows customers to inscribe their personal mantras or cherished sayings from loved ones, in their own handwriting, directly onto a beautifully crafted series of bar motif pieces. People do the most incredible things with this collection – they celebrate new babies by engraving their husband's writing, baby’s footprints, or text from birth certificates, and they remember those who have passed by engraving signatures and messages from old cards and letters.
I look down at my wrist every day and see my mom’s handwriting “oh well > what if” / “anything can happen” / “go with it”, and “everything you need is already within you.” You could argue that the last one is a bit of a contradiction, but sometimes an object can help re-enforce an ideal! I find that wearing my narrative in this way really helps me to maintain perspective on what is important to me. Life goes by so quickly – I want to be the best version of myself every day.
CELEBRITY LOVE FOR K KANE
RIHANNA, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, HILARY DUFF, LEONA LEWIS, and Taylor Swift in a piece I made her - my Vertical Graffiti Bar Necklace featuring her exact handwriting from her 1989 album!
And just for Sweat Life readers, enjoy this 15% coupon code for K Kane! Use the code: SWEATLIFE15
In 2009, founder Katherine Kane set out in search of a pendant featuring her initials and could not find a piece that reflected her style. She wanted something less traditional, more unique. After designing and handcrafting her own pendant using a calligraphy pen, a jeweler’s saw, and a piece of copper sheet metal, friends and strangers repeatedly asked her to make them similar pieces. Katherine left her job working in the marketing department at luxury diamond jeweler Harry Winston in 2010 to earn an MBA from Duke University and realize her lifelong career dream of starting her own jewelry company.
Today, K Kane jewelry allows customers to express themselves and celebrate their loved ones in style by offering a sophisticated, next level take on personalization. Hand-rendered monogram designs are approached as personal logos, family pets are transformed into fashion statements, and customers can inscribe their most cherished sayings, in their own handwriting, on a variety of beautifully crafted accessories.
Katherine works with best-in-class, US-based manufacturing partners to ensure that each K Kane piece is crafted to the highest quality standard. K Kane is available at a select group of high-end retailers throughout the US, including Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, and Mark & Graham. Recent celebrity fans of K Kane include Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, and Leona Lewis.