“Everything seemed larger than life and I loved it!”
This brand is a handmade and run by one person, Kiara Roumie. She designs, produces and runs her business all by herself. All of Kira Don Jewel’s production is made in Athens Greece, where Kiara is located. And here is a little bit of information from her personal view on how and why her creations are made.
It all started…
…when I started going to metal and punk gigs as a teenager, the fashion at these gigs was mesmerising. Hair, make-up, clothing and jewellery was all kind of thrown together, mostly hand made by the wearer at that time. Everything seemed larger than life and I loved it!In 2003 I moved to the UK to study photography, this was an amazing opportunity to find my music and fashion trends. I started experimenting with my own style and became curious about other alternative lifestyles…
My first big photography project was on heavily tattooed people, back then it was still unusual to see large scale tattoo projects on people and certainly wasn’t used in mainstream fashion campaigns. I loved the people I photographed, their stories and experiences of the alternative world captured my heart. I went back in time with the project to research Victorian trends, Gothic influences of the 1800s and even started to ditch my modern photography equipment for old heavy cameras.
I finished my studies and moved back to Greece. I turned my attention to my own culture and celebrated projects in the sunshine inspired by Tiki and Tropicana, but I missed the more alternative scene so whenever I could I would spend time travelling (with my now husband) on a motorbike around Europe visiting music festivals.
I continued to photograph alternative people and worked on projects that inspired me but alternative fashion wasn’t big in Greece and found myself having to make my own props for shoots. I started making one off pieces of oversized treasures to create the alternative looks I wanted for my photos, I would often wear the pieces afterwards… and that’s where Kira Don Jewel was first created!
I would get a lot of comments about the pieces I made, alternative jewellery wasn’t available on the high street and my friends began asking for custom jewels. I had no budget so in the beginning I’d have to get the money upfront for the materials! After a lot of hard work, late nights making everything by hand and long days at Greek markets I had enough to book a small stall at my first tattoo convention. Inspired by how the Traditional tattooist’s worked so I set about drawing up more intricate designs and experimented with materials and techniques to get a more polished look.
Kira Don Jewel was ready to become a real business, but as a brand what sub culture or genre did it belong to? Punk, Metal, Glam, Goth, Tiki, Rock, Pin-up? Who was my demographic? What age group was I targeting? This was the part I most struggled with, still do if I’m honest. I love to marry cultures and designs together, I’ve experimented with many looks and don’t wish to conform to any one style. I want the same for my customers, lets all wear whatever we want till whenever we want.
May The Jewels Be With U….