24 Hours With… KHIRY
Meet Jameel Mohammed, the jewellery designer whose creative vision is taking the fashion world by storm. With a jewellery line whose pieces are adored by industry insiders and celebrities alike, Mohammed’s groundbreaking point of view has paved the way for any designer fighting against the strictures of a tired system with closely-guarded gates. Breathing new life into the fashion world, we asked the KHIRY founder to tell us more about his vision, and how he gets it done.
“Before a shower and after a shave…”
“My hair routine.”
“A trip to my local bodega.”
What time do you wake up and where?
I typically wake up between 8-9am in my apartment in Brooklyn.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I walk to the bodega across the street and get an iced coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel with butter.
Where are you usually based?
New York. I live in Bushwick, which is a really diverse and vibrant area in Brooklyn. I love that even if I live in such a big city, so people know me and recognise me in my neighborhood.
What does your average day look like?
It’s a lot of emails and administrative work, strategy and planning for the future, project execution, and then some time for art making and creative processing.
Do you have any rituals?
I love incense in the afternoon.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
It’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and it’s a straight shot from my place to the subway. It only takes about 20 minutes from door to door.
“Finding inspiration on a walk through Brooklyn.”
“A bit of birthday love…”
“Working at our KHIRY Studio.”
How would you describe what you do?
I would describe myself as an artist and designer, but as an entrepreneur, a great amount of my time is spent creating the infrastructure that enables me to create artistically.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
I feel like I’ve seen a wide array of circumstances, especially in the context of the U.S., and that enables me to understand how different people can see the same things in different ways. This enables me to craft a vision that appeals to many different types of people.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I started interning when I was 16 at Nicole Miller here in New York because an alumnus from my High School was the CEO. After that I continued to do internships and kind of learn on the job.
What was the impetus behind starting your label?
Throughout my time in college, as the Black Lives Matter movement emerged as an international political force, I became increasingly aware that I wanted my work as an artist and designer to do a measure of political work by representing Black culture and Black life as deserving as the highest admiration and respect. I had a formative experience where I was told by the CEO of a major luxury conglomerate that true luxury brands could only emerge from France and Italy. The immediate discomfort that I felt at that casual assertion made me convinced that there had to be other people who felt similarly to me. At that moment I knew that there was space for a brand with a different perspective.
“Khartoum II Ring and fruit still life.”
What are the most important factors for the brand?
I would say it’s that the pieces feel intentional and authentically connect to a piece of inspiration. It’s really important to me that I make work not just to make something or to advance my own personal goals, but so that everything relates to the brand’s core mission.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
For me inspiration strikes pretty routinely, and whether or not I follow that inspiration further dictates how deeply I get into that headspace. For example, I watch a bunch of documentaries and listen to podcasts and public radio. I listen to YouTube commentators on pop culture, history, and politics. The ideas I’m met with in these places inevitably spark inspiration that I either explore in the moment, or file away for the future.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
I love to take a good walk in the neighborhood or even a short run. I was blessed to learn in the beginning of the pandemic that even a little bit of exercise can benefit you. That has taken away a lot of the pressure I used to feel, and made it a fun endeavor.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
I love the Khartoum II Ring with Tiger Eye Inlay. It’s a super substantial piece but I think it’s still really refined.
Who would you most like to see wearing it?
I would love to see Rihanna with five of them on one hand when she finally returns to music.
“At the CFDA Awards.”
“With Cyrus Veyssi at Couture for a Cause.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickmam and Mark C. Winters.
What do you usually do for dinner?
I usually order in because I like to have something different, and I love freshly prepared food. I love pizza from Artichoke and Indian food as a typical go-to.
What time do you go to bed?
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Watch TV. I love every version of Real Housewives, except the New York one!
What do you dream about?
I don’t remember my dreams very frequently.
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