On a recent cold day in New York, we were lucky enough to spend the morning with jewelry designer Jules Kim who’s been a major player in the jewelry scene for quite a while. We warmed up with a coffee with Kim and visited her intimate, appointment-only, below-ground showroom and shop on Bowery, which houses all her products—made locally in Manhattan. Founding and spearheading Bijules since 2004, Kim knows a thing or two about style. Her timeless, slim bar ring is an example of an early design that’s been emulated countless times by others. Kim never ceases to experiment and play with her striking designs—and her own look, for that matter.
Given the entire Nixon range—and an extensive range it is, containing everything from flashy, large statement pieces to quieter, classic designs—to choose from, Kim picked out The Facet as the type of piece that is perfect to complete her everyday look: bold but not over-the-top, statement-making without stealing the show. She went on to speak with us more about fashion rebellion, awkward moments, and how to perfect your own personal style.
How would you describe your style?
My personal style reflects who I am as a rebel and creative. I wear designer pieces with simple style staples like a black legging or running shoes. Today I wore a Phillip Lim violet sparkle top and Danish designer wrap pants with custom Nike ID Air Maxes and a vintage fur hat.
I’ve always been drawn to self-expression.
Do you remember a particular moment or fashion icon that triggered your interest in fashion?
I’ve always been drawn to self-expression. I was raised by an artist and with my twin sister, saw many beautiful and intriguing things in our childhood. I recall heading to a party with my mom who wore white Desitin [diaper rash treatment] on her eyes like make-up. I repeat to this day the lines she drew on her lids in bright white.
As a jewelry designer, do you feel watches compete with jewelry or can complete a look?
I totally believe watches are functional and fashionable.
Why were you drawn to this particular watch?
Gold and facets! I chose this watch because I’m a jeweler and the gems I use are faceted. The face of this is faceted and the body gold, therefore it drew me in.
Oftentimes you’ll modify and trick out items you buy off the rack—when did you start doing that?
As a child, I used to repurpose a skirt as a dress using belts and threaded needles. Eventually my twin and I started a line of custom couture in our hometown which totally embraced the bravery and alternate point if views we shared as creatives in a small southern town. Richmond is not that small, but its mentality is for me.
Tell us a little about how your style has evolved over the years.
I’d make my own clothes out of pre-existing garments and repurpose scrap or awkward-fitting pieces. I recall a white eyelet skirt I wore as a dress with a Woody Woodpecker belt when I was five, and a breathtaking gold fish fabric skirt of my mom’s that I loved! In teenage years, I reeled it in a bit because I was sooo awkward, but then I was right back into it in high school.
You run a successful jewelry business in a competitive and saturated industry—what sets Bijules apart from other brands?
I started designing jewelry 10 years ago. The market barely existed when I started and that neglect was key to my forging my own unique path with little respect for rules. I’m not one to follow them, regardless. Bijules has been releasing original concept fine jewelry since 2004 and key shapes such as the bar ring, nail ring and handlet has helped identify Bijules as a truly authentic brand.
What’s your day-to-day like with your business?
Busy and ferocious. I normally head into work to meet my team at the Bijulesterie and grab a coffee at neighborhood spot for breakfast meetings or coffee.
What are some of your style essentials?
My jewelry and my personal expression are very important to my person and business. I’m very aware of how I look and how my brand is perceived. Lip color means I care about being heard because I will be doing the serious talking! Hair up means I would like people to listen as my ears are exposed—and earcuffs on blast!
Do you have any style wisdom/advice for people who are unsure of their style?
Follow your own path.
Jules Kim wears Nixon’s The Facet watch in gold, which retails for $250 and is online and at brick and mortar stores worldwide.
Images by Nara Shin