IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang
"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"
The Hoorsenbuhs name has become synonymous with exclusivity, craftsmanship, and opulence. Once nothing more than the ambitious brainchild of creator Robert Keith, the brand has become a staple in celebrity circles and A-list jewelry boxes. Bearing the name of a 16th century Dutch trading ship to which Keith can trace his ancestry, Hoorsenbuhs is at once quintessentially modern and tastefully respectful of its roots.
Robert Keith started out with the lofty intention of becoming an influential force in the fashion world. And his initial goal for Hoorsenbuhs’ signature tri-link design was just as bold; he wanted it to become iconic. Well, he’s achieved both. And now after a successful collaboration with Jay Z at Barneys New York, it’s clear that the sky is the limit for Keith and his designs. His success is inspiring, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for his brand.
Twelve was lucky enough to chat with creator Robert Keith and brand ambassador Kether Parker about life, work, and what it all means. Check out the exclusive interview below.
-----------------Robert Keith's INTERVIEW-----------------
1, You famously made your first sale hours after finishing you first ring, how did it feel to have your talent and design recognized so quickly?
R: It was very moving, motivating and inspirational, my mind exploded with ideas and concepts shortly after the encounter.
2, What initially drew you to jewelry design?
R: I've always designed custom things for myself. Before I started my own company I had collected interesting jewelry that I would find everywhere I went.
3, What is your favorite part of the jewelry design/jewelry making process?
R: Seeing the pieces become real and having them go beyond from where they started which is usually a napkin drawing or something very rudimentary.
4, How would you describe your brand and your jewelry?
R: We want nothing more to have the brand continue on long after we are gone. The best way for me to insure this is to maintain our integrity and preserve our heritage. Keep it simple, beautiful and timeless.
5, Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
R: The makers mark continues to inspire and challenge me. I keep coming back to it every time because it lends itself to creating consistency. We want our collections to feel familiar even if the design is new. There has to be something in everything I design that feels right to the core.
6, The Tri-Link has become your signature trademark but do you have a favorite piece that you have made?
R: They are like children, hard to say.
7, You have done some interesting collaborations with people like Jay-Z and brands like Newbark, what is it like working on these types of projects and collaborating with other people/brands?
R: It's cool because it's about people that are cool. We recently collaborated with Buscemi on shoes and had a great time. The product reflects the positive energy of people doing what they love to do.
8, You have also worked with great artists like Damien Hirst, what is it like working head to head with artists to design and create jewelry?
R: Like I said, at the end of the day it's about discovering what's interesting about life, art, music or the world we live in. As long as there is trust, space and a place to find what turns you on, then magic happens.
9, What is a typical day at work for you?
R: There's no typical days because there's always something new going on. I work with people I love and trust and want to be around. I get to the atelier and see what's going on with everyone and we talk a little, then I go out to my workspace and catch up with emails, look at samples that we've made, draw or re-draw designs, take phone calls, sign checks, have a few meetings, meet with clients or new clients that come by, sit at the workbench and file or polish or bend metal, try to find music that I've never heard, return texts, look at fabric samples for our lifestyle division Leisure and Luxury, read magazines or books that I've ordered, go play the drums in my showroom. Mostly just keep myself in a creative space at all times.
10, Do you have any new projects lined up? What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
R: You will see new takes on some of our iconic pieces as well as some new inspirations. Also, you will start to see all of the Leisure and Luxury Collections. This has been an incredible undertaking that we are very excited to show the world. Also, Damien Hirst and I have some plans to continue our collaborations. Stay tuned.
-----------------Kether Parker's INTERVIEW-----------------
1, You received the second ring that Robert Keith created, what did that mean to you?
K: We've been friends forever but it also signified the beginning of a new incredible journey.
2, What was appealing to you about working in jewelry?
K: I'm a people person and I love to travel. If I believe in something, like Robert's sensibilities, it's easy to navigate in the jewelry world. I've been around fashion in general for many years.
3, What is your role as brand ambassador?
K: To communicate all things Hoorsenbuhs and Leisure and Luxury from sales to public relations and marketing.
4, What is a typical day at work for you?
K: If I'm at the atelier, I'm on my phone or email non-stop, clients coming to see the collections, taking the jewelry to photo shoots etc. I travel the world and basically do the same thing wherever I go.
5, What is the best thing about your job?
K: Working with people I enjoy working with toward common goals and sharing this these amazing collections.
6, When did you first feel like the brand would be a great success?
K: The first time I saw what Robert was creating. We had some incredible early supporters buying from us, and then came Barney's New York about a year later.
7, What has been one of the most rewarding experiences that you’ve had while working?
K: Watching the brand grow into what it's become today and being part of a grand vision.
8, Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?
K: I'm into everything. I wear pieces that I can't live without. Once you've worn something for so long it becomes part of you and you feel naked without it. I wear my 42" rose gold necklace and Classic Linked gold rings stacked everyday.
9, Why do you think your brand and jewelry appeal to so many different people?
K: I think people respond to the timelessness of our design. The impeccable attention to detail and materials used set our brand apart in general.
10, What is next for you and Hoorsenbuhs?
K: There's so many amazing things happening right now, but we have to keep it under wraps...so mysterious, sorry.
INTERVIEW BY: SUSAN SCHELL
INTRODUCTION : JASON GREENSPAN
PHOTO CREDIT: ROBERT KEITH & KETHER PARKER