“You could be wearing a paper bag, but if you’ve got attitude — wearing a paper bag in confidence — you’re going to look damn good wearing it.”
‘That guy who wore the clocks, what was his name?’ Nelson native and Jewellery Designer, Nina Flash Gordon, is talking about Flavor Flav…
Flash Jewellery is among the next generation of taste makers indulging in being different. Although rappers are hard pressed these days to present themselves originally, in the interview with Serum, Nina says, “As soon as A$AP Rocky comes out in his fashions and then Kendrick Lamar, I suppose it’s all that new generation as well that’s rising. Also like Rihanna — she’s got mad styles too. “It’s definitely changing.”
When did you start making your own jewellery?
N: I’ve always kind of made jewellery, and been the girl at school who was like, ‘Yeah I’ll hook you up with some earrings’ and make them myself, but I did some silversmithing work when I was about 16, I did some night courses with my mum and ended up going back and doing the course another five times —I became one of the regulars using the equipment that’s how I got into making jewellery in Nelson. My dad’s a mechanic and that sort of thing so I’ve always kind of wanted to be a mechanic, I’ve done welding and stuff like that so metal work is something I really enjoy doing.
You can see that in the jewellery, it’s heavy and it’s bold.
N: Yeah. A total tomboy.
Can you describe some of the ins and outs of metal work in your process?
N: The metal work itself, it’s more I do it all – then it’s done by spin casting and so there’s a bit of an art with that and pushing the limits really. It was quite hard to find a medium that wasn’t silver but was light enough to be on your hand in big formations, so that was a real challenge.
So is it gold and silvers that you use?
N: The majority of the first masters are in stirling silver and then I get it produced in either zinc, brass or copper.
When someone wears one of your pieces what are some of the feelings you intend to evoke for them?
N: It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, I have done some smaller pieces just to cater for everyone but I suppose I want them to feel a bit flash… [Laughs] That sounds so cliché ae.
“If you see someone walking down the street, it all comes back to that campaign of, ‘I want to be that girl’. You know she’s got the attitude.”
So Ladi was wearing all your work on the Herald spread…
N: Yeah Ladi used a lot of my stuff for her album campaign. I love her, she’s awesome. I randomly gave her a ring way back when she was doing a Weta party in Wellington and she wanted to say thank you so I met up with her and her sister for coffee which ended up being a picnic in the park and it was supposed to be for like 15 minutes but we ended up staying there for three hours gas bagging and then ever since then we’ve just been mates.
And who do you draw inspiration from?
N: I love Iggy Azalea and her steez — she’s got mad style. I’ve always been captivated by her. Before I was really into hip hop, I was into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Karen O and she’s got amazing style as well and then even before that like Gwen [Stefani].
What kind of things inspire you to design a piece?
N: I get really inspired by natural formations like a gem or a rock. My nugget rings were actually made out of these little things I found in the bottom of the factory which are a bi-product of the plating process…I love reusing stuff but recently I have been inspired by texture and minerals.
Have you always been into ‘bling’, because there’ve been fashion trends that’ve ruled all that ‘bling’ as too gaudy?
N: Yeah, [smiles]. I have always loved that tack. Like I love the tackiness of it as well. Definitely… Medallions. Always wearing my big ass chain — I suppose, not so much the big clocks and stuff …Ice T [laughs].
What’s the attraction in bling for you?
N: I think it just changes [ a person] but not that it wears you, you have to wear it. You could be wearing a paper bag, but if you’ve got attitude — wearing a paper bag in confidence — you’re going to look damn good wearing it.
Is jewellery a competitive industry in New Zealand?
N: Yeah for sure. It depended what part of the industry, it has many layers. From Michael Hill type jewellery to costume jewellery in shops like Diva through to fashion jewellery in the high end boutiques.