We were first introduced to Thanh Vo of recently launched Victor Oskar via much loved local boutique Far 4's Instagram and found ourselves immediately drawn to the graphic jewelry collection. The bold, clean designs combine sterling silver with raw leather and textural stones to create angular jewelry based on crystal formations. (You know about our leather obsession, right?)
Vo, originally hailing from Calgary with a degree in jewelry design from Vancouver BC, is an esthetician by trade and previously cowned a Canadian retail shop with her brother. She's still keeping it in the family with her latest project: Victor Oskar is the phonetic alphabet for Vo's surname. We chat with the designer about her Belltown studio and the violent side of jewelry making below.
Shop Talk: What neighborhood is your studio in?
My work/live space is in Belltown. The area is great for entertaining out-of-town guests. But besides that, being in Belltown doesn't really help or hinder my work.
What is your earliest memory of designing?
I've been interested in design and fashion since I was in the 2nd grade, and even before that I was telling people that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. While my friends were pretending to be princesses, I was designing gowns and dresses. I remember drawing pictures & making beaded bracelets and having my classmates sell them on the playground. I guess my entrepreneurial and creative sides were prevalent at a young age.
What do you do to get yourself in a creative or productive headspace when you're feeling stuck?
I take a good long break. Sometimes too long of a break! I find that I can't force the creative process for myself, but I do try to overcome small creative road blocks by focusing on one aspect of my design and just building on that. Usually it'll snowball until I have a good amount of ideas to pluck from.
Five things you can't work without:
A sketch book or scrap paper and pencils: I don't always sketch every design, but I find it's a crucial step in creating a cohesive collection.
Saw Blades: I go through these like crazy and need plenty on hand.
Riveting hammers: That's my favorite part of jewelry making...hammering the s*** out of things, even if they're dainty little rivets.
Music: I blast French producer Ninetynine's beats or some good old '90s R&B.
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
A: I love that my home and studio space are one and the same, so I can work throughout the day and night as I please. Even if I'm working on something tedious and frustrating, it's easy to step away for a moment and come back to it after I cook dinner. It can be distracting I suppose, but at the same time I can't stray too far away because the projects I'm working on are right there in front of me at all times.
Where can we find your jewelry, and where would you like us to be able to find your jewelry in the future?
You can find my jewelry at victoroskar.com and at my favorite local store Far 4. I'd love to be in more independent retailers that sell other products and labels that I like. It'd be amazing to have my jewelry displayed beside a pair of Maison Martin Margiela boots.