My third interview of the designers showcased at Chictopia 10 is with Triskadekaphobia. The name (don’t ask me to pronounce it for you!) means the fear of the number thirteen and their collection lives up to the intriguing, brooding name. Shortly after Triskadekaphobia showed, there was a brief break; Erin and I used that time to charge their table and ogle their pieces up close and personal. We were both particularly captivated by a silver ring depicting a sea monster attacking a ship. The lady pictured here is Tiffany, one half of the two girl team that designs Triskadekaphobia. Read about their interests in Henry Darger and their hopes for the collection.
How long have you been designing Triskaidekaphobia?
We started in the spring of last year, and our current collections hit the stores in December.
What materials do you like to work with?
We mainly work with metal, but we also like to try to incorporate as many different materials as possible. We have quite a few leather collars and cuffs, and have experimented with laser-cut leather, and we also use laser-cut acrylic and stainless steel. We also try to incorporate a few stones, beads, and crystals here and there.
What type of girl wears Triskaidekaphobia?
Us! Like most female designers I know, Christina and I design for ourselves. This isn’t based solely on our individual style, but also on what we happen to be interested in at the moment, what music we’re listening to, what films we’re watching (we watch a lot of movies while we work!), and most importantly, what price-point we can afford (not too expensive!). I think the girl who wears our jewelry has a similar sense of curiosity, and believes that personal style extends beyond what you wear, and encompasses how you live and what you react to. I am always on the quest for special and unique articles of clothing or objects, and I believe that the girl who chooses to wear our jewelry is similarly discerning.
What sort of clothes should be worn with your jewelry?
I wouldn’t ever dictate what should/should not be worn with our jewelry. I think anything that expresses one’s personal style works very well!
Are there trends in your jewelry? Like a certain element in a new collection that you will be repeating?
We will always try to incorporate contrasting and contradictory imagery. We like taking things that might seem creepy or disgusting, and then transforming them into something beautiful, or making something that looks superficially very girly or pretty, like a bouquet of flowers, and hiding a skull or a skeleton in them. It’s always about creating that strange juxtaposition, and that’s what makes the pieces special and unique.
You mention (the intriguing) Henry Darger as an inspiration. Any other favorite artists that inspire you?
All sorts—it changes from season to season. For the last collection, we were heavily inspired by the work of David Lynch, and the television show Twin Peaks, as well as the musician and outsider artist, Daniel Johnston. We were also inspired by the book and the film, Wisconsin Death Trip. A common thread of fantastical delusion runs through all of these sources of inspiration, and we think this can be terrifying, yet magical, and the source of incredible creativity and beauty.
Many of your pieces seem like they could belong in a Grimm Brother’s story, do you think of stories when you design?
Definitely. As I mentioned, we take a lot of our influence from books and films, and when we design our pieces, they are almost meant to fit into some of those narratives. For example, this season the owl necklace we made was a reference to the owls of Twin Peaks, the restraint motif a reference to the restraints of the insane asylum of Wisconsin Death Trip.
What is your favorite piece from the new collection?
One part of our new collection was inspired by the Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal. We made a cuff and a claw ring inspired by the bird/dragon creatures in the film, The Skeksis, which I adore.
I don’t see any of earrings; do you design earrings?
We do design earrings! Just not as many of them since people seem to prefer buying necklaces!
What are your goals/aspirations for Triskaidekaphobia?
To be able to quit our night jobs promoting parties every week so we can support ourselves off this 100%! And, not to sound too corporate, but we would love to double the amount of stores we have this season.
Can you share an interesting or amusing story somehow related to jewelry?
Well, I could tell you the story about how we got those teeth, but I don’t think you would talk to us anymore! If there is any interesting story, it’s that naming our company Triskaidekaphobia is kind of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. In our designs, we take things that are somewhat malignant, or maybe unlucky, and turn them into something strangely beautiful. In real life, and in the process of working on the line, we have encountered our fair share of bad luck, but we’ve thus far always managed to fight past it and make it work out for the best somehow. When things have gone wrong—and things have gone awfully awry—I’m always happier with what we’ve done to fix them than with what the results would have been if things had gone ok in the first place.