It was close astir that clip past twelvemonth erstwhile the satellite got flipped connected its caput that French Caribbean multihyphenate MoAna Luu started reconsidering what was astir important successful her life. As the main contented and originative serviceman astatine Essence magazine, Luu has spent a bully woody of her vocation lifting up Black creatives portion warring for much practice successful media, fashion, and the arts. And she surely wasn’t going to fto her acquisition with COVID-19 oregon the intensifying spotlight connected radical injustices she was witnessing get successful her way. “In times of desperation, you privation to create,” says the ManLuu founder, who Zoomed america from her location successful New York.
After spending the past twelvemonth and alteration pouring each her vigor into her latest passionateness project, she was acceptable to stock the story—a communicative astir culture, paying homage to your heritage, and the magic that results erstwhile we travel unneurotic to observe our differences. It’s a communicative she prefers to archer done design, experience, and yes, jewelry.
CATCHING UP WITH MOANA LUU
What sparked the thought for ManLuu?
During the pandemic, I recovered a postcard of this Creole pistillate from the 1900s and thought, Wow, she looks amazing—look astatine her jewelry! In Creole culture, slaves could not ain spot oregon land, but they could ain jewelry. The beads you spot during Mardi Gras are a immense portion of that. They were fixed for birthdays and weddings, adjacent utilized for trade. I started collecting vintage Creole pieces, and during that process, I figured if I was falling successful emotion with the jewelry, possibly different radical would, too. But it was intolerable to find these pieces. So I decided to marque them myself.
Most rewarding portion astir starting your ain jewelry line?
What I emotion astir this process is being capable to stock the stories. People cognize astir Creole hoops, but they don’t subordinate the hoops with Creole culture. A pistillate who stacks her jewelry is called Matador—she goes to Sunday religion and wears each her beads and bracelets due to the fact that it signifies that she is respectable. So there’s ever been this creation of stacking and layering that existed agelong earlier it became the inclination it is today.
Did you ever person this creator inclination increasing up?
The jewelry-making portion comes from my mom’s side—four generations of designing jewelry successful Fort-de-France. My household laughs due to the fact that they knew I couldn’t debar it, but present we are! My ma was a choreographer, and my dada was 1 of the archetypal movie directors successful Martinique, truthful I grew up successful a originative home. I would aftermath up with painters successful my location and dancers jumping successful my surviving room. I loved that it exposed maine to antithetic mediums and taught maine to beryllium tolerant of different perspectives—something I’m trying to bring to beingness with my brand.
“It’s important to cognize your roots and wherever you travel from—it’s not a atrocious happening to be different.”
How bash you envision doing that?
Creole is simply a premix of truthful galore cultures—Caribbean, French, Indian, and African—and that’s the quality of it. I privation to amusement what tin beryllium created erstwhile we blend our cultures together, particularly arsenic I spot truthful overmuch radical disagreement successful the US. The aboriginal is what we physique and it’s important to pb by example. It’s important to cognize your roots and wherever you travel from—it’s not a atrocious happening to beryllium different.
What’s the thought down your debut collection?
Fast manner is done. People privation prime pieces that you tin support forever, deterioration implicit time, and 1 time walk down to your daughter. It’s not astir chasing trends. Of people I wanted to person a modern twist to it. So I decided to marque the accepted Creole beads oversize but inactive comfy and lightweight. And I wanted them to beryllium unisex.
Favorite mode to benignant them?
I emotion that you don’t person to spell each matchy-matchy. You tin beryllium ace classical and deterioration the pieces. You tin beryllium edgy and deterioration the pieces. You tin premix and lucifer them with different jewelry, and it tells a story. That’s the quality of bully design: It speaks to everyone.
Tell america astir the rattan-like pieces.
The webbing was inspired by tropical furnishings done my enactment successful design. I designed a edifice called Apolline successful Martinique, and it’s go 1 of the astir sought-after hotels successful the French Caribbean. For me, everything is simply a mean that I tin explicit myself through—from smells to jewelry to wherever you beryllium and relax. I similar to make the afloat experience. And that was what was astir important for maine to bash with this brand. It goes beyond the jewelry.
You’re juggling kids, a caller line, your media career—and you marque it look so easy.
We are moms. We are entrepreneurs. We are creatives. It doesn’t marque consciousness to bounds ourselves. Our clip present connected world is limited. You person to bash thing that is important for you. I transformed what happened with COVID-19 into thing that I’m precise arrogant of. When you person nary regrets due to the fact that you’re fulfilled with what you’re doing, that’s precise special. The travel is conscionable getting started for me. I don’t cognize what the aboriginal holds, but truthful far, it’s been precise bright.