Futurelore: Inspiration’s Never-Ending Story

Kyler by Joy O’s modern designs are made from upcycled steel and precious metals.

With the current spring/summer season proving to be a veritable 70’s redux, those of us enamored with that decade should be in fashion heaven. Think flared pants, platform shoes and slinky, draped silhouettes, versions of a Film-Noir/femme-fatale meets Charlie’s-Angel-dancing-the-night-away-in-Studio-54 look.

And yet, this fever for all things vintage-inspired leaves me feeling a little restless. Call it a fashion tipping point, like the craze for Sex And The City’s Carrie-style fabulous shoes a few years back. It’s just no fun if everyone else is doing it. It makes me want to announce, in a zany John Cleese voice,  “And now for something completely different…”

Thus I was recently delighted to discover a lone note of modernistic design in the new Futurelore jewelry collection from Kyler Design. The striking pieces made from upcycled scrap steel and recycled precious metals are created to stand the test of time and trends and have caught the eye of conscious celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba.

Designed by Joy Opfer, who describes the inspiration for her Futurelore collection as a “Fascination with the arc of human expression in objects and mark-making, from primitive petroglyphs and stone-age tools, meshed with the scientific and technologic elements of the future,” her hand-drawn tribal designs may prove the antidote to everyone who thinks that the latest 70’s revisit is all too much. I caught up with Opfer recently. Here’s what she had to say:

The designs are really out of this world. Can you tell us more about what inspired this collection?

It’s an optimistic collection that is one in a cycle of other eras when designers looked to the past and future at once, like art deco and primitive modern design from the 20’s-30’s. Nothing is really new, as everything comes full circle. Each piece is inspired by the combination of a primitive item – arrowhead, shield, feather, totem pole – mixed with the hard edges and technology details like circuit boards and science fiction objects like transponders, rayguns and lasers. I like to think they’re magical objects created by the fusion of caveman with spaceman or primitive belief combined with future technology, and I wonder, is that where we are now?

It definitely seems to have struck a nerve. The collection has been live on the site only two weeks, and with no promotion at all, nearly every order has contained a Futurelore piece!

Tell us about your decision to keep your production local.

I had no trouble finding a U.S. supplier to work with. All my suppliers are U.S. based and yes, it costs more, but my customer sees the value. I think she would rather have fewer quality items than 20 things from Forever 21. I love being based on the West Coast. There are so many stores to work with that have an interest in and have developed a customer base that cares about sustainability, especially in San Francisco. The cause is gaining traction with celebrities which helps. The West Coast has much to offer on that score as well.

How do you enjoy fashion beyond an act of consumption?

With so much media at our fingertips and so many inspirations filtering through our minds, I think that looking at and interacting with fashion blogs or styling sites like Polyvore have made it much easier for me to not have real “things,” but to be able to express my thoughts and crazy ideas without the pressure to purchase or even to have the perfect body to wear the items. I think it’s a huge bonus to come up with styling before purchase rather than after!

Can sustainable fashion transform and inspire change?

My customer is a modern, conscious woman who cares as much about her planet as her closet. She counts on her jewelry to take her look from day to night, and work to weekend. She’s aware she votes with her wallet. I hope my quality classic designs help her to get “dressed,” and by that I mean confident, expressive and fully present, conveying her inner self and values to the outside world.

Joy Opfer’s FutureLore collection is available at store’s nationwide and at www.kylerdesigns.com.


Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.