Designer Spotlight: Alina Skyler

A brief story of what you do and why you do it.

I am a wife, a mom and a jewelry designer. I do all of it because I love it and because I have to – I have been creating fine jewelry for several years now and it has literally become part of who I am. I am working 24 hours a day. Everything I do, I see inspiration and potential for new designs and I’m governed by new ideas.

How did you get into jewelry design?

I began creating fine jewelry because I couldn’t find funky, cool, and edgy enough pieces that I wanted to wear, that embodied both a modern and a vintage sort of look. I’m very specific. And, I only really wanted to wear fine jewelry. So, I created my own. Now it has become a driving force and part of my everyday life. I really do love it, and I think that that makes all the difference. Work isn’t hard when you enjoy what you do, even if you might be working all the time.

What makes your collection unique?

I think my collection really looks like and embodies Skyler Man, and nothing else. It is unique, in that it references a tremendous range in expression, while exuding the same aesthetic. My jewelry has a particular style, it is an expression of myself. I only create things that I would wear. And the range is so vast because my own style ranges from minimalist to bold, dark to romantic. Because of this, I think people can really relate to my designs. I find a fan base like myself; people who wear both delicate and bold pieces; as well as people who like one or the other. But all my jewelry really follows the same story, there are certain things that I just don’t like, and although they might be popular or trendy at a given moment, I would not design them for that sake. I really try to stay true to my style.

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What are your inspirations?

New York street life, past and present is a huge influence as well as historical periods in Europe and later America; ranging from the Middle Ages; The Gothic Period; The Romantic Era; Rococo; Baroque; Art Deco; The Modern Age. I’m also heavily influenced and inspired by the eighties and nineties as well as music and art. I love classical art, probably more so than I love modern art. Modern art has to have the right theme for me to be moved by, but I do love lowbrow art and pop surrealism. And then there’s the inspiration that I get from gemstones themselves.

How are you making a difference in your life?

I’ve always been a creative person and Skyler Man has given me the outlet to explore that creativity and share it with a community of like-minded people. And of course, I am also a mom to three young children (and two dogs, plus a lot of fish…) so I get the opportunity to do what I love while also being my own boss and making my own schedule, so I can spend as much time with my children and husband as possible. I get the best of both worlds and it has made all the difference in my life.

What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?

I think my style makes me unusual and makes me “me”. Growing up in New York during the 90’s club heydays, where money and age didn’t bare an influence on a person’s ability to gain entrance into certain nightclubs, only “style” made a difference. Everyone’s mission was to look different and fabulous in order to stand out from the crowd. We would put so much thought into creating outfits. We would skip school on Thursdays just to shop and assemble outfits which would satisfy our desired “look”. You couldn’t go to Barney’s and spend money and buy a look. You had to create it. And when you’re competing with drag queens, who always look fabulous, the mission becomes harder. Growing up during this period really made me appreciate a unique sense of style, instead of following trends.

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What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?

The biggest struggle is trying to keep a business sense while also trying to be creative and passionate. That’s why about a year ago, I gave up trying to do everything myself (it wasn’t working out) and my sister came aboard. She does the business end of Skyler Man, and she’s amazing. She is also very creative and we share a similar style, so she’s easy to consult with when I need opinions on the creative end as well. She does it all. I think she is also my biggest success.

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Headshot2I am a native New Yorker, currently living in Bay Ridge with my husband Dave, my son and two daughters, two dogs and a few fish. I went to Brooklyn College, where I received my undergraduate degree, as well as my Master’s in English literature. I have been designing fine jewelry for a few years now, always learning and growing with experience.

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