Mimi’s Rock Collection
The very discerning designer chooses every last stone herself.
If there was a show called America’s Next Top Geode—not to give the Discovery Channel free ideas or anything—the jewelry designer behind Brook&Lyn would definitely be a judge. Mimi Jung has been known to spend an entire day traveling to score a few key pieces of agate, and here she opens up about her process and what makes the cut.
Get your hands on one of the necklaces Mimi made for us from awe-inspiring purple stones here.
On the kooky nature of gem shows:
“A lot of people who go to gem shows have these tests for measuring the power of a crystal. They, like, twirl necklaces over each stone to make sure it has the right balance—or god knows what—and people will be sitting on the floor hugging stones. It’s super funny because I’m not really spiritual when it comes to crystals. I’m like, ‘Outta my way! I need these rocks!’”
On crazy day trips to dusty warehouses:
“I get most of my stones from three or four factories. I just went to Boston to go to a warehouse, and it was so ridiculous. It was a three hour and 40 minute train ride to get there, and I was in the warehouse for an hour and a half because I didn’t need that many stones. Then I jumped on a bus right back. But I wasn’t all that happy with the stones I had, and so I wanted to just replace them. The warehouse people know me so well now. They say, ‘You could just buy in bulk! You’re wasting your time.’ I don’t think this collection would be what it is if I didn’t do what I do.”
On what makes a stone really pop:
“There’s a certain size that I’m looking for, and it has to be symmetric. A lot of stones are a funky shape, so immediately those are out. It’s a personal process—it’s very hard for me to send somebody else to do it because it’s just whatever I’m attracted to. Lately, I’ve been liking this soft, pretty butterscotch color.”
comments, reblogs & likes
Mimi Takes Charge
This designer’s been paving her own way since her very early days.
Though Mimi Jung’s life has been full of success stories—the latest being her stunning line of agate-and-rope jewelry that’s getting more love by the minute—she’s worked her ass off to get where she is. In fact, she’s been more or less running her own show since she was 13. Here, she opens up about getting her footing.
Mimi, past and present
“When I was 13, my mom remarried and had a baby, and she became more focused on her new family. So I ended up moving in with my sister, who is five years older, in Binghamton, New York. It’s not like I got in trouble and was sent off to military school or anything—I was pretty nerdy.
So, I walked into the high school near my sister and enrolled myself in the tenth grade. I literally walked in by myself and was like, ‘I’m here!’ It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but now, looking back, it seems crazy. Plus, as you can see in that picture, I was a really late bloomer. I looked like I could have been nine years old, and I looked that way basically until I was 16.
So, attending Cooper Union had been my goal since I was in third grade—I don’t know why, exactly. It was just embedded in my brain. They had a pre-college program, but you had to be a New York City student to attend. I totally lied on my application and said I went to Cordozo, a high school in Queens where something like 90% of the students are Korean, and I got in! Eventually, I moved to Queens and was accepted to the undergrad program.
When you’re fending for yourself at that age, you learn that if you want to make something happen, you have to do it for yourself. No one was forcing me to go to school. No one was forcing me to take the SATs and go to college. But I knew that I wanted a future, and that’s what I had to do. I think I became really scrappy.”
Come back tomorrow to see one of Mimi’s successes: The piece she made for Of a Kind is really spectacular.
comments, reblogs & likes
Five of Mimi’s Favorite Looks
Girl’s got style—and mad eBay skills.
Mimi Jung, the impeccably dressed woman behind the bold, sophisticated, and very new jewelry line Brook&Lyn, has been putting together looks for her personal-style blog since 2008, two years before she debuted the distinct accessories she’s now known for. Here, she walks us through some of her top ensembles—and demonstrates a truly impressive dedication to wardrobe cultivation.
“That’s a vintage mohair sweater. I’m consciously trying to buy bright-colored items because I’ve realized that everything in my closet is very muted. You gravitate towards certain colors because you like them, and then a year later your whole closet is one tone.”
“I like that this outfit doesn’t seem at all forced—it just looks really comfortable. The only things I wear that are uncomfortable are really high heels. So I’m comfortable—but I just can’t stand or walk.”
“This jacket is something that I had custom-made for me. I get most of my coats and pants made for me in Hong Kong because I’m very proportionally odd. I design everything, and I bring the fabrics. I had the coat in mind for a really long time. The sleeves come off, and the trim is vintage monkey fur—I know that sounds kind of horrible, but it’s from the twenties, and I had saved it.”
“I’m a huge fan of Damages. Glenn Close’s character Patty Hewes wears these really psycho glasses, so after two seasons, I was like, ‘I need to find them!’”
“Both the top and the bottoms are vintage. In each photo, there’s usually at least one vintage item. I buy everything from eBay and Etsy. I always do at least 20 minutes of eBaying in bed on my phone before I go to sleep, and I’ve made such a habit of it that I do it even if it’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m so tired and so cranky.”
On Wednesday, we release the piece Mimi designed for Of a Kind. Don’t forget to check back!
comments, reblogs & likes
Fueled by her ability to create the sort of things you could stare at all day long, Mimi Jung has had a varied, multi-dimensional career path. The designer, who lives in Brooklyn with her ad-world husband (in an exceptionally furnished apartment, no less), attended ultra-competitive Cooper Union, after which she dove into the realm of graphic design, with a focus on books. “I think I liked the fact that there was an end product—something you can hold. It felt very permanent, as opposed to a campaign or a billboard,” Mimi explains.
But she quickly tired of the tedious, long-term nature of that work and fell into fashion blogging, first as a sort of passion project and then, as she grew a dedicated following, as a full-blown gig. Her jewelry line came to be in a similar way—half happenstance, half hard work. After getting lost in the crazy rock collection of a store in Hong Kong, Mimi brought her finds home to make jewelry for