We’re excited to share with you our exclusive interview with Christina "cK" Outlaw, the founder and creative director of Æther 79, a New York City based street-inspired lifestyle accessories brand. cK creates the accessories from raw crystals and precious metals, and her jewelry has been modeled by celebrities such as Rihanna, Ro James, Bridget Kelly and Tray Pizzy.
Æther 79 recently kicked off the release of their latest collection, Æ47.I, so it’s only right that we connect with cK to find out more about the brand overall, her creative process for the crafting of the jewelry, whether she has a favorite piece and much more.
After reading our Q&A with cK, be sure to check out the Æther 79 website to purchase some jewelry and connect with cK and the brand on social media.
Congratulations on the latest collection, Æ47.I, and your brand overall. What led you to initially come up with the idea to create Æther 79?
Thank you! We are really excited to finally add sterling silver jewelry to our catalogue. Æther 79 was created out of a love for crystals and music. As a former music industry executive and artist, I had always wanted a "rapper chain". One day I had an idea to put a big crystal on a big cuban link and thought it would be different and cool. I shared the idea with my mom and she loved it. I got really excited and the name, the vision and aesthetic for the brand all came to me that night.
What does the name Æther 79 mean to you?
Æther represents the unseen 5th element. The atomic number of gold is 79. Æther 79 is the intersection between our higher selves and physical selves. It represents balance. We seek growth, not perfection. Æther 79 is where the street meets the sky.
What goes into your creative process for new collections?
It all begins and ends with the stones. The beauty of the crystals constantly inspire new designs and the use of new materials.
How do you go about selecting the crystals and precious metals that end up in your jewelry?
I personally curate each crystal used in our handmade designs. I get a lot of our crystals at gem shows where the stones are usually straight from the mine and have not passed through so many hands. You can literally feel the difference in the energy. The colors, the shine, the imperfections all make up the story that each stone has to tell. Our duty is to create a pieces that supports the stone without overpowering it. Experimenting with different metals allow us to create designs at different price points.
As entrepreneurs, I think it's natural to have self-doubt about your product at some point, especially in the beginning stage. How have you dealt with that, if at all?
In the beginning, I really didn't know what to expect upon launching the brand. I knew it was unique, but I wasn't sure if people would get "it". The initial response was positive, and after only two years of being online, the stylists for the iconic Rihanna x Paper magazine shoot reached out for us to be involved. After seeing Rihanna in our designs, any doubt of the product was gone. I just knew that we needed to work hard to build awareness of the brand.
This may be a hard question to answer, but do you have a favorite piece that you've designed?
This is a hard one because they all are my babies. So I'll give it to the colossal green crackle quartz that Rihanna wore. Simply because Rihanna wore it!
What are some of your goals for Æther 79 in 2019?
Our biggest goal in 2019 is the launch of the Æther 79 Sessions. The series was created to showcase the sounds of our favorite artists in acoustic form with the beauty of nature serving as a backdrop to create a unique musical experience. You can look forward to performances from Chynna, B00ty and Eric Bellinger. We will continue to partner with musicians to create original content in the future.