Mark Kalan | Austin Fashion Week

Mark Kalen designs elegant jewelry for the rebel sophisticate, and draws inspiration from a seemingly unlikely source – motorcycles. Intrigued? Yeah, so are we!

An Austin artist new to the scene, Kalen has channeled his extensive design work he did for motorcycles and the romantic curiosity that surrounds them into a design aesthetic that prizes individual style.  His artistic evolution into jewelry design translates into powerful pieces for men, women and unisex, and his newly-released collections feature signature cuffs, pendants and buckles.

His designs incorporate unforgiving materials – stainless steel and glass, among others – which are skillfully married to create dramatic elegance with rebellious undertones.

We sat down for a quick Q&A with the man behind the metal.

Q&A with Mark Kalen

You have several different collections – edgy, linear, hammered, beach glass, signature twist – as well as a custom collection. Can you tell me a little bit of the philosophy behind each collection?

Each person has an individual aesthetic or style that speaks to who we are. I have tried to create a selection of jewelry designs that appeal to those different personas. “Edgy” for rebels, “Linear” for a calming influence, “Hammered” offers a sense of tradition, “Beach Glass” brings muted color, and the Mark Kalen “Signature Twist” is where it all began.

Photo: Jai Mayhew

You’ve said that you draw inspiration from motorcycles. Can you expand upon this, and tell me how your work on motorcycles has translated to your jewelry line?

The custom accessories I designed and built for one-off, theme bikes were actually motorcycle “jewelry”. Accessories can make it or break it in that they set the tone for the overall look of the bike. That’s true for jewelry accessories for people. The right accessory sets the tone for the outfit, the way you feel, the impression you put out there. My jewelry is my voice in providing the right look and feel for what a person wants to say.

Photo: Jai Mayhew

Can you tell me a little bit about the techniques you use in your jewelry-making, and why you’re aesthetically drawn to stainless steel and the other materials you use?

Stainless steel is a clean, strong, durable metal that provides a depth of color. Even though it is difficult to work with, once the piece is complete, it will last forever. Stainless does not tarnish and requires little care. Even though it’s not a “precious” metal, the finish is truly beautiful. I’m hooked!

Photo: Jai Mayhew

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m an introvert that expresses the rebelliousness inside by wearing large, chunky pieces of jewelry, I’m much more comfortable talking about my work than about myself. I guess I am my work. I am very consumed and driven by inspiration around me. I never seem to run out of ideas for new designs.

Photo: Jai Mayhew

 When it comes to clothing designers, in particular, is there a line that you think meshes really well with the feel of your jewelry?

My favorite Austin based men’s store is Edge Boutique. They carry denim roughness to Wall Street chic……that pretty much sums up Mark Kalen’s men’s line of jewelry.

Photo: Jai Mayhew

Be sure to save the date —  Edge Boutique is hosting an exclusive trunk show that will feature the Mark Kalen Men’s Collection on June 21st at 6pm. Stop by and meet the man behind the metal for yourself!

Article found on: