The landscape of fan merch gets more and more interesting every day. From Odd Future's Golf Wang designs which started as an extension of their North American tour merch and is now a full-blown brand of its own selling at Colette to Beyonce seeding exclusive merch out to be shopping alongside high-end brands like Opening Ceremony, Helmut Lang, and Mary Katrantzou. Now, we can add Jhene Aiko to the mix thanks to her brand new collaboration with Luv AJ.
Jhene and Luv AJ designer Amanda Thomas worked together to create a small limited edition range of jewelry to coincide with her debut studio album Souled Out which just dropped last month. The aim for Jhene and Amanda both was to create pieces that encapsulate who Jhene is as a person and an artist. That meant elegant pieces with a cool timeless feel.
The dharma wheel which Jhene has tattooed on her right shoulder became a signature for the mini-range, appearing as a charm on the necklace and embossed into the cuff ring. "A lot of merch is kind of throw-away," Amanda explained to us, "You get a t-shirt because you love the artist, but then you just end up sleeping in it. We wanted to make pieces that feel like you can actually wear them all the time. They don't feel like they scream 'fan,' so they work seamlessly into whatever you style is." And that kind of subtlety is very much in line with Jhene's style both aesthetically and musically.
Amanda also revealed that Jhene was very involved in the design process, to the point where she already knew what plating she wanted before even sitting down with Amanda for a 1-hour brainstorm this summer. FYI, the plated brass was chosen because it gives the pieces a dark, organic finish. "The whole process," Amanda said, "felt very natural," and the fact that she had been a fan of Jhene's for a while (her Pandora station is one of Amanda's favorites to work to!) made the deal that much sweeter.
All three Jhene Aiko x Luv AJ pieces are available for purchase now at jheneaiko.com!