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A Visit to the Home of Hippie Bling, Kim & Zozi's Design Space

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Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

Zoar "Zozi" Asher was born and raised in Canada while Kim Ben Shimon is originally from Australia, so it is either luck or coincidence that the best friends turned design partners would meet at a house party five years ago in Israel, where they both now live. The launch of their jewelry line, Kim & Zozi, was equally serendipitous. Kim, who works as a stylist for a magazine, was working on a DIY friendship bracelet project and had Zozi over to help for fun. Their obsession evolved into making more complicated and "cooler" bracelets and a short time later, their friends were wearing their designs and stores were eager to buy. "It was a fluke," Zozi admits of the brand's quick take-off. "It happened so fast."

While the designers are based out of Israel, Kim & Zozi the brand is LA born and raised. Based on their signature friendship bracelet, there will soon be garments and even shoes added to their repertoire. The bohemian pieces range from crochet to bangles and beads, and although a statement on their own, are perfect to wear stacked for an arm party. Designed with any free-spirited girl mind, the jewelry is inspired by surf, fashion and art, making it fit right in here on the west coast. "Our jewelry is colorful," Zozi says. "It's always summer at Kim & Zozi."

We visited Zozi while she was in town working on the spring/summer 2014 collection at the brand's Vernon design space. When we were there, she told us why LA is the perfect place for the brand and showed us how she makes those intricate pieces.

What influences your designs?
"It's really simple, either I pick up things through travel, little elements I like and want to use, or I go to stores and see what materials they have. You can't make something if it's not accessible. We do a lot of searches on the Internet and whatever we can find in Israel and whatever we really want ourselves. That's where most of the inspiration comes from."

You and Kim are based in Israel but production is done here in LA, how does that work?
"We design in Israel and then we send our samples here. Then, I come and teach people how to make it and they're made here. We wanted everything to be made in LA, in Israel it was just too difficult. It was really the only option."

The line has a very So Cal vibe.
"Right? I've never lived in California but I surf and we're near the beach and it's a very outdoor lifestyle. Maybe that's where it came from."

Why was it so important to be made in LA?
"Because of this guy [pointing to friend/colleague Phillip who runs the company]. We've known each other for two years but he's like my family."

How are the bracelets made?
"We use a loom to make the beaded bracelets. It's crochet, it's knotting."

How long does it take to make one?
"It depends. If it's a short one it can take half an hour to an hour; for a big one it can take up to three hours."

When you come to LA where do you like to hang out?
"I don't know any names! I have a friend that picks me up and takes me everywhere. I did spend some time in Venice Beach last time I was here and I really loved it. If I ever moved to LA that would be my location."

Is it difficult being back and forth between LA and Israel?
"I love it! Everything about this whole process, I love."

In addition to their website, Angelenos can find Kim & Zozi at Kitson, Fred Segal and Planet Blue.
· Kim & Zozi [Official Site]
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