Our summer wardrobe this year has been chock-full of bohemian rompers, beachy jewelry and colorful accessories thanks to nomadic designer Lauren Noon. Lauren has set up shop at our Chelsea Market location on and off over the past few months, and each time her selection of handmade jewelry and apparel has been dreamier than the last. In honor of her last week in Chelsea before she heads over for her weekend residency in our Williamsburg marketplace, we caught up with Lauren to discuss her creative process.
When did you launch Chains by Lauren?
I’ve been making jewelry and sewing since I was 16 years old. I actually learned how to sew on my great grandmother’s non-electric Singer sewing machine! I was a fashion designer in NYC for 9 years. Working as a fashion designer, I was able to design tons of styles but I didn’t physically make them, an overseas factory did. I really missed being hands-on so the combination of wanting to use my hands and wanting to have more freedom with my creativity and in my personal life was the push I needed to start Chains by Lauren. I design and make all of the jewelry by hand. I also cut, sew, and dye select romper styles. Check out my Instagram if you’d like to see some more behind the scenes footage!
We love that you hand dye your rompers - can you tell us more about how you made the leap to include textiles alongside your jewelry?
Since my background is in fashion design its natural to include at least one piece of clothing in the collection. The first time I dyed clothing was in college. I dyed strands of wool yarn in a range of colors, braided the yarn and then hand sewed the braids to a nude mesh bodice. The braids only covered the bust and the look was similar to what For Love & Lemons is doing. After that I was on a dying hiatus for years.
Flash forward a few years to when I started Chains by Lauren. Ever since I started designing jewelry I’ve been a bit of nomad and I tend to escape NYC for the winters. My roommates wanted me back in NYC one winter so one of them lured me back to the city by signing me up for a natural dying class. The class covered itajime shibori techniques with natural dyes (indigo, cochineal, and sandalwood). So, I booked my one way ticket back to NYC from Cali and took the class! I’ve always been obsessed with textiles. I love color and I love creating new one of a kind unique patterns. So, the class I took along with my background in fashion design and draping all went hand in hand with the jumpsuits. Also, considering Chains by Lauren has a beach vibe the rompers make sense. I can easily see my customers on vacation at the beach wearing the romper over their swimsuit, stacking tons of bracelets and dripping in unique beach inspired necklaces.
What’s something your customers might not know about your line?
Two years ago I took a month break from jewelry to travel to Guatemala and design textiles for a non-profit company. I designed well over 100 textiles, pillow layouts, and home items. I worked with the indigenous women in Guatemala who backstrap weave. I visited the communities and watched the process of dying and weaving ikat fabrics. I made a few small wall hangings and designed a few ikat fabrics for a small run of weekender bags and clutches which are for sale at Artists & Fleas. The fabrics were naturally dyed.
What inspires you?
Color, texture, travel and my beach town roots inspire me. I’m obsessed with color. I incorporate color into earring styles with pom poms and tassels. I make all of the tassels by hand so I have tons of freedom to choose the colors I want. Occasionally, I mix and match colors in the tassels and include accent pop colors. Since my background is fashion design I use non-traditional jewelry techniques. For example, I’ll substitute wire wrapping for thread wrapping. I’m always inspired when I travel. I love going to fabric stores abroad, I’m inspired by the colorful rustic homes in the Caribbean, and of course the aqua shades of blue in the ocean.
What is your favorite jewelry trend at the moment?
My favorite jewelry trend at the moment are the oversized statement earrings, cuff earrings and mismatched earrings. I’m also loving the pom pom and tassel trend. I love how much fun women are having with their jewelry!
What is your #1 styling tip?
I love wearing loud pom pom earrings back to a simple white tee and jeans.