Interview: Ken & Dana “Diamonds & Pistols”Fashion, Featured — By JGM Staff on April 10, 2010 at 12:19 am
From diamonds to pistols, the creative duo Ken & Dana constructs ‘em all, putting a new twist in the jewelery game. Their work has been featured in magazines, fashion shows, and has been used as donations by different foundations and charities. Even with those accomplishments nothing can compare to their B-Side jewelery label collection, where their jewelery is created from the parts of guns. Their B Side Label utilizes hand guns and helps to get them off the streets. They are helping to change the way people view guns and putting a positive spin on them by incorporating the pieces into the fashion world. We’ve managed to chop it up with Dana to get the scoop behind Ken & Dana’s jewelry and partnership.
JGM: How did B-Side jewelry get started and what’s your involvement?
Dana: Ken & I were college roommates, we moved to NYC after graduating and both
worked on Wall street for our first jobs. Ken left after one year to run his
parent’s gemstone business, which gave us a peek into the industry. A year
after Ken started running his parents business, he asked me to leave my
corporate gig and come work with him. For a few years we designed items for
his parents and then slowly started to develop our own thing.
JGM: Can you quickly break down the origin behind B side jewelry and your partnership?
Dana: As we started to do more work with gold, silver, and gemstones we ran into
dimension restrictions for some of the pieces we wanted to do. We love the
precious aspect of fine jewelry (BYLU), but also had a strong desire to
produce and share our more “creative jewelry remixes”; as such, B-Side was
JGM: Have either of you ever owned a gun before or had any experiences with them besides the jewelry?
Dana: Growing up in Maine I did own an air rifle and my father had a 22 (mostly to
rid my mom’s garden of unwanted pests). Being from a relatively rural part
of the state, many of my friends and neighbors were hunters and gun owners.
In junior high I was on the wrong end of a threat, when a classmate brought out
a rifle. Luckily an adult neighbor of his was in the area and intervened.
While obviously scary, that experience wasn’t the inspiration for the GUN
collection, but it gives me some appreciation of how a firearm can escalate
a tense situation.
JGM: Can you break down the creative process behind your pieces? For instance, the trigger necklace?
Dana: Creatively, we look for our work to balance aesthetics: function and meaning.
Specifically with the GUN series, we designed the concept and aesthetic to be
counterintuitive. We were drawn to the idea of subverting the normal
connotation of a trigger, with a few light touches reframing it as a
subtle symbol of non violence.
JGM: What was the first collection you started with? How many collections do you have now and what do they consist of?
Dana: I would have to say our real break came in 2004 when we collaborated with
clothing designer Doo.Ri - We worked with her to produce a collection of
items to style her spring 2005 show. From there we started to work on our
fine jewelry (BYLU) and started back into fashion jewelry a little over a
Currently under the “B-Side” label we have the following collections:
* Graffiti – abstract and literal street art inspired motifs
* Geometry – bold geometric sculptures
* RIGHTS – a series that uses 4 supreme court civil rights case ID’s as its
* TRIBAL – inspired by a 1984 National Geographic piece on the “language of
adornment” in Africa.
* GUN – Actual gun parts with a portion of the proceeds to fund NYC gun buy
As I stated earlier the collections in b-side have no real limit in concept,
design or materials.
JGM: I see that some of your jewelry is highly priced, what would make someone want to purchase from you? What is your target market?
Dana: We do have a wide range of price points, the items in B-Side tend to be more
accessible and the BYLU pieces are a bit more costly.
Dana: Having said that, a large amount of our work is engagement rings. I think
many people gravitate towards us because of the sentiment in our work. In a
day an age where you have access to an infinite number of products our
customers look for design with thought, emotion, and sincerity.
JGM: What is the difference between the BLYU collection and the B-Side collection?
Dana: BYLU is our fine jewelry label – Gold, silver, diamonds & gemstones
B-Side is our fashion jewelry label – anything goes
JGM: There seems to be a story/message behind each collection; what do you hope each customer will take away upon purchasing a piece from your line, apart from the accessory itself?
Dana: We hope that each customer makes a connection with the item they chose.
Sometimes that connection is predominantly an aesthetic one, but we hope that
more often than not, the connection goes deeper. However, even if someone
really only likes the way an item looks its our belief that they will
appreciate the workmanship and thought that has gone into creating the
JGM: What kind of materials are used in say, the Tribal collection?
With the TRIBAL collection we have used natural gemstones and mixed in
brass, hints of silver, as well as crystal and enamel. So I guess you could
say its a typical b-side collection…. A remix.
JGM: I’ve noticed that NYC seems to have highly influenced the collection, what else are you inspired by creatively?
Dana: Not just NYC but how we see NYC. I think that we are all an evolving
compilation of our experiences and environment …. And our creativity is a
way of narrating the journey.
JGM: What is the next step for Ken and Dana? What can we expect from you guys in the future?
Dana: I think our next step is to expose our work to more people and continue to
create. We pride ourselves on coming with endless ideas and believe that our
followers appreciate our dynamic approach to jewelry.