Somewhere in Los Angeles, Alicia Nassardeen is draped in chains and surrounded by bird talons. Bespectacled and hair so perfectly out of place, the self-proclaimed lover of all things odd and just a bit messy has gone to work on a peculiar yet immeasurably chic jewelry line that speaks to her love for the Discovery Channel and accessible fashion.
“I needed a fix, and this is how I ended up,” says Alicia sharing her ideology of addiction common among insatiable fashion enthusiasts. Touching on the challenge of high prices on a budget, Alicia adds, “I like things to be cool and accessible.”
Enter Talonalia, the culmination of her quirky interest in curious pieces of nature and a need for au currant fashion jewelry.
I spoke to Alicia about her new line, her feelings on fashion and our mutual appreciation for nature based cable channels and heavy arsenal of arbitrary words. Read what she has to say below.
So let’s start with the most obvious question: why bird talons?
Honestly, I think they’re interesting – dark, but interesting. I needed a fix, and this is how I ended up. I like stuff to be cool and accessible.
And is that how it all began then? A way to get your fix?
I tend to gravitate toward things that are a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to jewelry. Bird feet seemed ideal. Strange enough, but still wearable. I blame the Discovery Channel, too.
Ah! Discovery Channel, National Geographic – so good!
Yea! I watch it all the time. Planet Earth had me stuck to the TV, for hours. That undoubtedly had some effect of my taste. I’d watch it 10 more times if I could.
Will Talonalia always be bird feet? A sort of signature for the collection? Or is there somewhere else you’d like to take the line?
I’m thinking of expanding. There will probably be some sort of reference to claws and talons in any later work that I do, but I don’t want to limit myself. I actually want to do rings. Strange but wearable rings.
Make sure to make teeny-tiny sized ones. I’m a 3.5.
I know, I have crazy child hands.
Mine are all confused. I understand, in reverse. I’ll make sure to do small ones, too. I can’t leave people out. Especially not Chictopians.
And I assume the name Talonalia because of the Talons? I always wonder what comes first – the name or the work.
In this case, the work did. It actually came from a blog post I did when I made my first necklace, that oddly never made it into the store. I was racking my brain for a title, and since I had three hawk talons on a chain, I figured I had to use ’"talon." -alia popped out from this large bank of suffixes that I keep in the back of my head for no real reason. It seemed to fit, so I went with it.
I love that though! I always have random words I obsess over that stay locked up until I can find reason to use them.
You do? I thought I was just strange like that. I’m full of generally useless information.
How long have you been making jewelry? Is there a prequel to Talonalia?
I’ve been dabbling for the past few months. My process usually involves me going in several different directions until I find a niche that I like. I have an etsy store that has carried crochet jewelry, suedebracelets, chain harnesses, and statement necklaces. And then came the talons. Nothing has anything to do with anything else; it’s so random, but I’m glad I ended where I did. I have fun with the bird feet! I’ll still have my store on etsy, but Talonalia is my baby.
Speaking of finding a niche you like, let’s talk about fashion in general – What’s your personal fashion journey been like?
Well, as a kid, I was in a uniform until oh, high school. I was completely clueless. At that time, I was a huge tomboy and wore the same jeans and t-shirt combo. College was the same thing. Actually, until I started my blog I was dressing like a boy in junior high. Shameful.
So would you say that blogging has helped you hone in on your own tastes?
Oh yeah, definitely. For a while, there was just too much to choose from and I spent a lot of time – money – on things that I didn’t necessarily like, but felt that I needed because – insert favorite blogger here – had one. I wouldn’t take it back, though. All of that helped me figure out what I really like, talons and all.
And what do you really like? Currently, in general.
I’ll always be a lover of denim, always. As of late, I’m in love with crazy prints, loose and draped tanks, oxfords of all kinds, and big jewelry.
Anything you really hate?
Let me think. There isn’t too much I hate, but I’m not a big fan of anything mini.
Do you have a background in fashion, so to speak, as far as work or education?
I went to FIDM for a year after I had already graduated college. I loved it. I miss that place. The stress, the opportunities to be creative, and producing did wonders for me. Had I realized I could have gone there out of high school, I probably would have. I also interned for Armani for a while, but that’s about it, nothing major.
Is that where you’re from? Los Angeles?
Yeah. Born and bred.
Any desire to live anywhere else?
Oh, the Bay! I want to move to San Francisco something terrible. I’d do New York, too, but only between the months of September and November, and March through June. I can’t do extreme weather. LA has me spoiled.
And one last question – what is inspiring you at this moment?
My favorite quote of all time that I use for motivation is “Forever trust in who you are.” Metallica, man. But other than that, I’m finding inspiration in a lot of street art – graffiti and things like that; messy and interesting. I guess that’s my aesthetic. ♥