Until a few years ago, I simply considered myself a jewelry enthusiast. A trendsetter. A fad-forecaster. An accessory aficionado. Now, I’m proud to call myself an artist. I crossed the line from the consumer to creator out of a basic desire to stand out in NYC’s eclectic, fashion-forward, cool-centric crowds. I quickly realized if I wanted to be the only one at the party rocking a sick spiked ear cuff, I’d have to make it myself. So I did.
When VIBE Vixen, the digital magazine I helmed, folded in 2014, I decided to refocus my career on jewelry design – something I’ve always been passionate about but never pursued professionally. I immediately started taking local design classes and secured an apprenticeship with one of my most revered designers, Chris Habana. Once I discovered lost wax casting, I pivoted from magazines to metal, and the term “waxing poetic” took on a whole new meaning. After three years of study, I launched Heavy Metals NYC.
Now, I design precious metal pieces that feel custom-made for rock stars who think outside the jewelry box. My Brooklyn-based brand, Heavy Metals NYC, is an eclectic mosh pit of fashion-forward, avant-garde, and luxe designs that scream, “I’m with the band!” My playful collection features pierced nipple necklaces, hand-forged sterling silver swords, West Side/Rock On/Eff U/Namaslay bangles, Midnight Marauder knuckle dusters, and a sumptuous set of Wolverine claws. It also boasts prideful pieces like the Shattered Shackles “Blk AF” ID bracelet, Afro pick pendants, Wakanda Salute necklace, and a beautifully badass Black Panther Claw.
My jewelry line eschews formality, with a wink. Each piece defies preconceptions – of gender, of genre, of race – and though edgy, has its sharpness tempered by cheek and burnished by craftswomanship. My accessories attract eccentric rebels with a wicked sense of humor.
Shanel Odum has created jewelry with power and gravity in Heavy Metals.
On Heavy Metals Shanel Writes:
Now that our post-pandemic mugs are perpetually masked, we’re forced to be more creative in our communication. Now, more than ever before, our identities, influences, values, and politics are displayed on our armor. In our fashion and our accessories. Brick-and-mortar sales are proving to be a luxury and, as a designer, I’ve had to adjust my business model accordingly. Intimate, in-person transactions are plummeting, while online sales are finally ramping back up and customers are seeking ways to make their purchases more personal. While jewelry has always had emotional connections, it seems now more than ever, clients want their jewelry to speak their ethos for them.
As a Black, queer female artist, I find it impossible to create pieces that don’t directly draw from my personal perspective and overall cultural experience. My jewelry line eschews formality, with a wink. Each piece defies preconceptions – of gender, of genre, of race. My handcrafted designs represent my influences distilled into adornment: Afro punk, Native reverence, urban architecture, feminine strength, masculine polish, naughty humor, high art, pop culture and yogic grace. My collection features prideful pieces like the Shattered Shackles “Blk AF” ID bracelet, Afro pick pendants, Wakanda Salute necklace, and a beautifully badass Black Panther Claw. These pieces speak to identity, pride, and cultural awareness. In our current political climate, these badges of honor are more important than ever.
Digitally Yours looks to be the perfect digital platform for creative connectivity and virtual validation.
Connect with Heavy Metal and Shanel Odum at https://heavymetalsnyc.com/ and on Instagram @heavymetalsnyc.