In the world of street-inspired fashion, a lot of focused is placed on apparel, but the category also includes a new wave of accessory designers whose unisex designs are rooted in a street-inspired, functional aesthetic.
Up-and-coming jewelry designer Martine Ali has shown herself to be a leader in the space, with her distinct, heavy weight silver chains, rings and clips landing real estate in high-prestige retailers including Kith, Opening Ceremony and Assembly. Her designs have also landed placement on Kendrick Lamar for his Damn tour, and were featured in his just-released “Loyalty” video. Ali’s accessories were also a part of Private Policy’s runway and she landed on our radar when she was featured in our Brittany Byrd editorial. While Ali’s offering thus far is known for silver offerings, she is planning to expand into gold and leather offerings.
Launched in 2011, the New York-based Ali initially worked on the line while still working in a design position in Donna Karan. Now solely focused on her line, Ali acknowledges that youth culture has been a big driver behind her success.
“I love being at places like Kith and Opening Ceremony because these are retailers who have youthful brand identity and it’s important to tap into that customer,” said Ali in an interview with Snobette. “In the landscape we’re in that customer has a lot more power. They are dictating the trends. Not that my clientele is only youth based, but the more mature customer is not posting selfies in my pieces, hence I would say they have become the strength of my brand.”
Like many of her peers, Ali eschews the concept of seasons. “I’m not working in seasons, people are not really buying like that right now, they cherry pick and do their own thing,” explained Ali, who added that the retailers and stylists she works with share her wavelength. “I don’t have to go with a crisp lookbook. That featured piece might not get bought. What I do is shoot consistently and develop my aesthetic so that that I have materials to speak to. Then once the buy is selected I can create supporting visuals that they can use on social.”
Ali acknowledges that traditional retailers have been slow to adopt to new ways of doing business. “I had a good meeting with a high-end retailer who wanted to buy the line, they switched buyers and then came back saying that the line didn’t fill a void in their assortment,” said Ali. “I’m over these big name, retailers jerking young designers around. The best thing you can do is develop a cult following and sell online, that’s how you make money. We have so much more power over what we make.”
In addition to retailers listed above, Ali’s designs are available to purchase at martineali.com/shop.
Check out images of Ali below along with some of her creations. All images via Snobette.