Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crystals, Bullets, and Guinea Pigs: Catching Up with Phyllis + Hazel

This week I caught up with fellow Mobster and local designer of Phyllis + Hazel, Madeleine Etter, at her design loft inside of Substance, where she also serves as store manager. You may have seen her in the shop or around town. She'd be the pixie-like girl with the technicolor hair...

Or you may remember her from Phyllis + Hazel's vibrant collection at last year's Alternative Fashion Week...

But when I met with Etter, I wasn't there to talk about her fashion line, which the designer has temporarily put on hold, but rather to learn more about her latest passion: the Phyllis + Hazel jewelry line. The line's minimal, industrial aesthetic is a clear departure from her bright and whimsical clothing line. When asked about the differing styles, she explained that because she generally likes to wear a lot of colors and patterns, she likes to keep her jewelry simple. And though I had never really analyzed my own aesthetic in that way, from one "loud" dresser to the next, this makes perfect sense. I've got a closet full of patterns and a simple gold engagement ring to prove it. 

But whatever you do, don't take minimal to mean boring. No, if there's one thing you should know about Etter, it's that she's far from boring. In fact, one of the first questions I asked her, "Where did you get the name Phyllis + Hazel?" produced a very unexpected response. You see, I had just assumed it was after her grandmothers. Makes perfect sense, right? But no, the brand's name is actually an ode to Etter's guinea pigs that she had in college. She says she prefers animals to have "old lady names." 

And that quirky (I know it's a total cliche word, but when it's right, it's right...) charm is apparent in each and every piece of the Phyllis + Hazel jewelry line. The 2009 CCAD grad is drawn to crystals and natural rock formations, like the pieces seen below, but she uses them in unexpected, even humorous, ways. My personal favorite from her collection are what I dubbed the "lipstick bullets," made from actual bullet shells that Etter collected herself while shooting with her grandfather. See, you didn't expect that one either, did you?

Growing up with a mother who worked in a jewelry store, Etter has been making jewelry since she was seven years old, but it wasn't until a metal working class at Columbus' Cultural Arts Center that her drive for jewelry-making was fully realized. Each piece in the Phyllis + Hazel line is hand-crafted, like this patina'd triangle bracelet and these lacquered vintage lockets...

By this point, I'm guessing you're liking what you're seeing. So where can you see more of it? Well, Phyllis + Hazel available via the brand's website, as well as Substance stores (in Columbus, Cincinnati, and online), and will soon be on Scout Mob. And you can also check Phyllis + Hazel's newest pieces (I haven't even seen them yet!) at Skully's Pixels by RAW event showcasing Columbus-based artists.

Oh, and make sure to look out for Phyllis + Hazel jewelry at Alternative Fashion Week events!

Written by Ashley Wills 
(Designer, Stylist, and Blogger at StyleOnHigh)

Photo Credit: Michael Powers, Alternative Fashion Mob, and Phyllis + Hazel

1 comment:

  1. I am so lucky to have Maddie showcasing in our first RAW:Columbus showcase! She is beyond talented and I can't wait to buy more of her jewelry! Also, big fan of her designs and Substance!