Alexes Bowyer, Jewelry Designer

Inspired by the rich history of metal and gold work in her ancestral home of Colombia, Alexes Bowyer has been exploring jewelry through varying processes and techniques since 2005. Her work is all created in San Francisco and seamlessly combines themes from American youth culture, architecture and art history. Alexes employs an intuitive awareness of the human body to create unexpectedly wearable designs. The resulting contemporary jewelry line is a fusion of eclectic points of reference and is both challengingly modern and timelessly elegant. 

LSG: Hello! Thanks for having us! Your home is stunning and obviously full of vintage and unique items! Where do you source decor?

One of the benefits of growing up in The Bay Area and staying here is remaining close to family. Most of my antiques are from relatives locally or in Colombia. The rest is from a lifetime of thrifting and rummaging flea markets. I am always on the hunt and bring home something new almost everyday, which means I’m also constantly getting rid of stuff. Its a double edged sword. 

LSG: What inspired you to branch out independently and pioneer your brand?

I always knew I wanted a career in the arts but it took some experimenting to get where I am now. I studied art history in college and I’ve always been a practicing artist, painting, drawing and dabbling in many fields. My professional background is now in metalsmithing, I have been working in metal for 10 years at this point. About a year and a half ago, things got really serious and I translated my knowledge into a business. I wrote a plan, created a website and began marketing myself - things have just kept propelling forward from there. 

LSG: How does your environment / community influence your process?

I am inspired by the people I know and the intricacies of the relationships I have with them. My friends all have amazing and varied personal style but what really contributes to my work are the unique paths that my friends take in life and how by knowing them I am brought into worlds I wouldn't see on my own. I design with that in mind and try to find an effortless way to translate an idea in my head to the physical realm.  

LSG: Who is the person who wears your designs? Do you have a muse in mind? 

I create for the type who seeks quality and craftsmanship above all else, someone who is passionate about dressing and adorning themselves as a form of self-expression. My friends are my muses, each piece is named after one of them. I do this because it transforms my work into a physical manifestation of the connection I have with my community and that’s something I want to share with my customer.  

LSG: Can you describe the feelings you want someone to experience in one of your designs? 

I want whoever is wearing my jewelry to feel powerful and enhanced. I want my work to become a second skin, something you feel naked without because it’s comfortable but also because its become part of your self-expression. 

LSG: How do the materials you use inform your work? 

In many of my designs the metal speaks for itself. I like to look at the material I am working with and see what it tells me it would like to become. When I work with gemstones for one-of-a-kind pieces, I design around the individual beauty of the stone to showcase it in a special way. I don’t force a material into an idea, it’s the other way around - I form ideas to support the material. 


LSG: Can you tell us about your process of designing a collection? What are influential themes embodied by your current collection?

I sketch a little bit but mostly I design with tools in hand, modeling and making mock-ups of things and then taking it from there, tweaking and improving a design until I feel it’s right. The signature of my collection right now is the orb. It all started with trial and error like most things do. I was playing around with a horseshoe shaped pendant with an orb on each end and it wasn't working. I started twisting and reforming it to see what was possible - that’s how the Selene ring was born. From there I fell in love with the circular shape and started exploring the ways in which I could expand on it. It morphed into a cohesive collection on its own.


LSG: As an independent business owner, what advice would you share with someone interested in  starting a fashion company? 

You need to put yourself out there but don’t take every opportunity that is presented to you. As a young designer I think it’s important to stay true to your visual philosophy and focus on authentic connections rather than pursue notoriety at any cost. Cover all your bases, know how to do every level of work involved in your business and focus on making the things you feel need to exist. Most importantly find a way for your work to be in harmony with the rest of your life because after you start a business your work is your life!

Interview by Olivia La Roche