Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
If the stunning, handcrafted leather and ceramic pieces of Juliana Hung's jewelry and accessories brand Jujumade look familiar, it could be because you've spotted them in any number of cool-girl shopping mainstays: Myrtle, Need Supply, and the Echo Park Craft Fair, just to name a few. Or it could be from Solange. Yes, the Solange. The fashion darling sought out the local designer after she spotted a piece she had to have and loved it so much she even gave it its own Instagram post in her artsy feed. Nearly 14,000 "likes" later, Jujumade was getting some well-deserved attention.
Hung started her foray into fashion after a stint in industrial design; a venture that began organically out of a desire to have pieces she wanted to wear. As Jujumade grew and developed as a brand, the designer continued to hold tight to the interest in making objects as beautiful as they are useful. The talented Taiwanese lady, who now lives and works in Mount Washington, recently chatted with us about what inspires her design, how she's evolving, and—yes—getting 'grammed by Solange.
Following art school, you initially started working in industrial design. How did that experience help in creating your current line?
Having that background gave me great insight on how things are made. I used to travel overseas to visit factories and to work out production/design complications. I focus and design in components: how things come together and how people will use it. I wanted to make my products wearable but still fun, unexpected, and playful—that's where the ceramics come in. Each ceramic piece not only serves as a design element, but has a function. Each is ideally purposeful.
Jujumade came into existence after you just created a bag for yourself to wear. How has your design aesthetic evolved since that time?
My first collection was inspired by some of my early pieces that I had hand-stitched, so naturally it felt more organic. With each new collection I introduce new materials, colors, and techniques. Some of the new designs require more precise construction—such as the puzzle or sliced sphere necklace—the pieces fit into one another and are friction fit. I guess the industrial design side of me never goes away.
Solange has been Instagramming a hat you made. How did that happen?
I received an email one day from someone who was arranging her outfit for an event. She told me Solange saw my hats online and wanted to wear one of them for an event that was happening a few days later. She has such great style and it was definitely exciting to have her wear one of my pieces!
What inspires you about living in LA?
Los Angeles has such a diverse culture with a large art and design community. Being able to surround myself with like-minded people definitely inspires and encourages my creativity. Even though LA is a large urban sprawl, what makes it special to me is the easy access to different activities, foods, and events. You can be surfing early in the morning, buying materials downtown, and then end up eating any kind of cuisine for dinner. Options are unlimited!
What other places/things inspire your work?
I grew up in Taiwan and visit often to see family and friends. It may not be well-known, but Taiwan has an amazing variety of crafts. There are towns that are famous for straw weavings, wood carving and furniture, bamboo art, and ceramics. I am constantly surprised and inspired by what I find. The hats in my collection came together unexpectedly when I visited a straw-weaving town—each hat is hand-woven by an elder lady that has been weaving for decades!
What local designer's showroom do you want to raid?