I sat down with (well, not in person cuz you know...COVID) jewelry designer Lana Wharry to talk about her work for The Gaudy: Insights podcast. While discussing her background, I learned that she has also worked in the fashion industry and she was part of some teams that have created some really dynamic pieces. Since the podcast wouldn't be the best medium to show this work, I decided to write a blog post as a companion to the podcast.
Gaudy: Well, I wanted to find out a little more about you, so you grew up in Houston?
Lana: No, this is my first time actually living in Houston. I was born in Tennessee and then we did Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia and that was all before I went to first grade. And then my dad moved us to Livingston, Texas and it was a very small town. I think it's a lot bigger now, but it's not a town that I liked because it's very conservative and I'm not. So I left as soon as I could and moved to Austin for college. Went to UT [University of Texas] for apparel design...the other thing I was doing, was concurrently taking art classes at the same time...I ended up taking a lot of other classes in the art department at the time. There were 2D and 3D art classes and a bunch of art history so the two for me have always kind of gone hand in hand, fashion and art...and i guess that was kind of the beginning of- my instagram tag says "style for art's sake." Alexander McQueen has always been my favorite designer and he just...did such amazing, wild designs like art on the runway.
I did my design internship in New York with a company called Johnny Blaze...It was an unpaid internship...I had to do an internship for college...an unpaid internship...it was three months.
Gaudy: What did you do as an intern?
Lana: Mostly graphic design. It was a line that did t-shirts, leather jackets, and denim. It was very hip-hop streetwear...behind the scenes production is just a lot of technical work. Say someone made a spec of a t-shirt, and then they would say move the pocket around and see where it looks best, on the computer. Does the logo look better stretched and large or tiny and small on the bottom of the shirt? So just a lot of that. When the design finally went through and...they used a factory in China, they would send back the stuff and I would measure everything to make sure the specs were correct, like is the pocket two inches down from the top of the waistband...Mostly super technical stuff...it was a huge introduction into the world of business fashion because that is a totally different beast than the world of fun fashion or fashion for the runway...you know, couture...it's the bread and butter of the company. Every single high fashion house has...you know their bread and butter. Perfume is a big one...scarves...things that are affordable for a regular person."
Once she left her internship in NY, she went back to Texas to finish up classes. She later learned jewelry-making and found it to be her passion. Still her resume is diverse, including working on styling models for the runway and working with teams to create interesting fashion pieces.
Lana told me that she has worked as a team member for designers like Asher Levine. "[I've] worked for @AsherLevine for many years in the sculpture department on a freelance basis. He moved from NY to LA and now he's too far but I flew once to work on some costumes for comic book characters. This top, for Demi Lovato, I physically made in sculpture. Also worked on boots for Beyonce, costumes for the Taylor Swift Bad Blood video, etc." She said the top is made of "layers and layers of liquid chemical mix that solidified in stages."
Lana said: "Everything [Asher Levine] does is super complicated. And requires a team of people. Also helped with a jacket designed by him that was in the MoMa's 'Is Fashion Modern.' All lit by LEDs. Many layers. Very futuristic."
As I mentioned, Lana is a jewelry designer and owner of Dropitect Jewelry, which sells fine art jewelry and watches. You can check out Dropitect Jewelry on Instagram @Dropitectjewelry.
Stay tuned for the upcoming podcast highlighting Lana Wharry's work.