Kenneth Cole x Shahla Karimi Captures the Pulse of Manhattan’s Lower East Side
Kenneth Cole will unveil his first fine jewelry collaboration with rising jewelry star Shahla Karimi, (Kenneth Cole x Shahla Karimi) on Friday September 15, 2017 at the Bowery and Bond Street concept store, which opened in 2015. The shop’s selection includes a curated and changing mix clothes, sneakers, skateboards and other items that lend itself to the vibe of the lower Manhattan neighborhood. Its replication of the digital arena of retailing provides same day delivery in New York City and round the clock accessibility.
As for Shahla’s collection of 14K gold jewelry, “It’s a capsule group of nine pieces with diamond accents that will be sold exclusively at the store and traces the subway stops and walking path along the Bowery, from the East Village to Chinatown.” explains The Kentucky born, Brooklyn-based jewelry designer who has an impressive background in product strategy and merchandising and who launched her jewelry collection in 2015.
“Kenneth Cole is a brand I am so excited to align myself with,” Shahla continues. “They are socially conscious and have always embodied the pulse of the city. I wanted to create something that was in keeping with my brand identity yet would celebrate the journey of Kenneth Cole and New Yorkers alike. The Bowery has been a hub since the 70’s, particularly in music and the counter-culture of Manhattan.”
Shahla first worked in product development in the music industry for Warner Music group and then went on to serve as director of merchandising for President Obama’s re-election campaign. She also worked with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers) and Vogue on multiple fashion and related items for major designers and brands.
“I always had a passion for designing jewelry,” Shahla explains. “I spent my free time learning to work at the bench as well as CAD and other jewelry courses and began designing on the side. After six years, I had enough money saved to create my first collection and launched under my own name in 2014.” Since then, she has gained a following of celebrities including Vanessa Hudgens, Lena Dunham, Rebecca Hall, Carrie Underwood, Olivia Palermo, Gigi Hadid and Alexa Chung, has been written up in numerous magazines and has been growing her roster of retail online and brick and mortar shops.
Her ongoing love affair with “both the grit and glamour of the city” can be seen throughout her collections. Her journey toward jewelry took her on the path of New York subways which provided the inspiration for her first designs. “ Ever since I moved here, I spent a lot of time on the subway— I looked at the routes on a map one day and I saw these simple minimal lines that transported me from one place to the next, literally and figuratively. I started drawing and curving them and eventually, I created necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings inspired by the routes I was traveling.” This premise behind these designs were also the influence for the Bowery walking path and subway series of pieces for the Kenneth Cole x Shahla Karimi collection.
Additionally, Shahla has created collections inspired by New York City landmarks as well as favorite lines from iconic female actresses in classic films, which she has translated into diamond encrusted sound waves.
“I believe that as humans we embrace and want to express our fondest memories. We also tend to romanticize a past that we have heard about and maybe longed to be part of. In collaborating on this capsule group, I have found a way to express my own romanticized version of the music scene and culture vibe of Lower East Side in the 70’s and 80’s and create a nostalgic nod for those who lived it, and for those like Kenneth Cole who have brought that part of the city back to life and into the future.”