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Conversations with Kimberly Cowan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Cowan.

Hi Kimberly, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I began as a painting artist in Memphis, TN. Doing murals, art competitions, small sewing gigs in high school, etc. So I knew early on that my future had to include some kind of creativity or “artsy” career. Began taking art classes in standard college then transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, GA. Switching from making art to designing clothing was a somewhat smooth transition because I was still creating. After participating in the final runway show and getting praised for my work from Miss Jay Alexander and Andre Leon Talley, I wanted to continue pursuing fashion because at this point, it was time to crack down on a job and it was crucial because either you continue with pursuing your passion, or you try “something else”. I knew I had to keep going. From there, I began working in retail which is the token place you go if you want to stay in fashion but keep a steady paycheck. But, I used this time to put my college studies in Anatomy and Life Drawing to learn the body and its curves. Internships came from the Styling industry, Handbag and Belts, and even internships in Denim. Amazing opportunities came as I created pieces that were featured in Vanity Fair magazine, which was an eye opener, but I was still not being fulfilled. I applied for an internship with Betsey Johnson. That is where my life changed and Jewelry became my focus. In New York, they say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere and from there, I never looked back. I used to be a shy kid and let my art speak for itself, but one day I asked Betsey Johnson, herself, “do you have any available jobs so I can stay here?”. This was a big step for me because if you knew little shy Kim, this was never a thing she would do. Of course, the BJ Brand were making their own adjustments within their company so, nothing was available but she gave me great advice and a big hug and I knew she wished me well. Went on to design in California for Juicy Couture, then got an opportunity to work under companies that allowed me to travel to Paris France, Mumbai and Jaipur India to study and watch local artisans work, which has always been a dream of mine.

Now it is my time to pursue and flourish. I have been in the jewelry industry for quite some time and while my talents spoke for themselves, Kim herself was afraid to find her voice. Healing had to take place and allow me to say “no” and do some self-care. I was always creating and evolving for others, but never for myself. So God guided me to listen to the world around me. My elders passed on and I am left with “What now?”. Then they began to speak to me and I learned to be quiet at the right moments but speak when I needed people to hear me. From there, I began seeing Lioness everywhere I turned. On t-shirts, in traffic on trucks passing by, people I did not know coming to me saying “why are you letting fear stop you?”. It went on and on until I said “Ok I hear You”. So I recently quit a job in the jewelry industry that taught me so much. Got out of my comfort zone and decided to create for myself. I remember Issa Rae saying something like “create with people on your level, in your reach” so I reached out to my talented friends to help build my team and come along this journey with me. My jewelry collection Mae+Lang jewels represents both Men and Women who have that “oomph”, that spark, that tenacity and you need a little reminder that you are Royalty, you are Great, and you can be That…yes whatever you just thought of? That!

The triangle is also a staple symbol in my collection representing Present, Past, Future; Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the Holy Trinity and my ancestors that helped raise me Mae Ella, Edna Mae and Chestine Cowan (Langston).

So with that being said, I am introducing my collection to the world and my wish is that people receive the message and let my artwork be your voice when you need that “push”.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has not be a smooth road, but I did look back and see that I stopped and thought “Is this beneficial to me?” “will this help me progress in my career?” while still moving forward. I think in any transition of finding “You” there will always be bumps in the road. But you cannot let that stop you. You may pause and take a minute, but never stop.

My struggles are what made me “speak up”. You notice things along the way and say “Hey yea, this looks familiar” so you have to go with your instinct if something is not “for you”. There will always be struggles and bumps in the road. It’s what you do after the struggles that builds character. My personal struggles were not creating boundaries. Starting in the creative industry you put up with a lot because you want that experience, which is great, but having the confidence to say “no” at the right time is important. That comes with time and experience in the long run. Another struggle of mine was my lack of confidence in myself. The struggle of falling and being able to get back up fed my fear to even take the leap in the first place. My doubts restricted my ability to believe that I was able to take that leap of faith. But, it is also ok to fall. That leap of faith is a scary place, but it’s also exhilarating.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My purpose is to create first and foremost. I am most known for my artwork and painting, but also for sketching and drawing. I’ve always wanted to create many things, whether clothing, jewelry, art stationary (brand of art supplies). So now I am taking those steps to get there, jewelry being first because I am obsessed with it and being able to change the “look” of a collection by adding accessories is exciting to me. That moves me. I am most proud that I never stepped away from my creative side. Every previous job or internship, I made sure that I kept the factor of keeping my creative juices flowing. I’ve always needed to create and when I felt myself not creating, I would pick up a sketchbook and draw.

I believe what sets me apart from others is I am multitalented. I have studied under some of the best artisans within my reach, where I know quite a bit to go very far, yet, I am not afraid to keep learning and growing in my craft as well. I have studied the process of making jewelry from the sketch to the finished product. Same with clothing. I am knowledgeable from the backend of business from shipping/receiving to customer service (as they are all moving parts), as well as Art in 2D, 3D, painting, and in its natural form. I create art by remembering a dream, or looking up at the sky, or going to a place of mediation that takes you to a different dimension. It’s all in my head. And to be able to stop and listen as your World provides ideas and enhances your creativity is a beautiful skill that I am honored to have.

What’s next?
Yes, BIG PLANS happening. I am speaking a lot into existence and manifesting. I just quit my job in the jewelry industry to pursue my brand full-time. So my daily routine has been quite a shift that I have been preparing for. I am currently finishing up my website and have finished my first collection pieces, launching soon!! Super excited for that! I am looking forward to more opportunities to show the world what I can do. Planning for more collections, more amazing photoshoots, more great press, excited for more connections, more ideas all surrounding BIG FAITH.

Contact Info:

  • Email: maelangjewels@gmail.com
  • Website: maelangjewels.com
  • Instagram: @MaeLangjewels

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