Studio Visit: Stephano Diaz and Troy Mattison Hicks of Necklush


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Since Necklush‘s inception eight months ago, you can’t go on a blog or open a magazine without seeing someone rocking a piece by Stephano Diaz and Troy Mattison Hicks. (It’s like when Lanyard broke out in 2007.) Handcrafted from start to finish in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (the studio is a stone’s throw from the Pulowski Bridge) their necklaces are simple, yet unique. Each piece starts out as a hand silk-screened limited-edition print that is then shredded and sewn into loops that are eventually wrapped together to create a thick cord.

A love for experimenting helps drive Necklush to expand and build their brand each season, and hope they hope to add “more complex color patterns, jewels, and bigger fuller pieces for winter.” Diaz and Hicks have an effortless ability to mix fashion and art while still maintaining an affordable price point that can appeal to the masses. We caught up with them to get the backstory.

Flavorpill: Tell us about the background of Necklush.

Stephano and I decided that if we were going to live in this city we would simply have to quit the daily grind and go for something artistic. We were both unsatisfied working in jobs we had no interest in. So we decided to do some self educating! We taught ourselves Photoshop, Illustrator, Pro Tools, website building, silk screening, marketing, social media… all with the idea that somehow we would find something that would satisfy our need to be creative and self sufficient. Soon we were making some very interesting products: pop art t-shirts, funky little toys, futuristic spacey pop music… It was so great to be productive and creative. When we discovered Etsy we were in heaven, and quickly created galleries for all of our projects. Necklush was the one that really took off in an unscripted, very organic and almost viral way. We are very amazed at what has happened in the last eight months. Long live the internet!

FP: Who would you love to collaborate with?

Wow, when I think of collaboration I think of music… so Kleerup, Calvin Harris, Joakim, or Nancy Whang from Juan Maclean… those are our favorites musicians at the moment. We would love to see any of those amazing people wearing our creations.

FP: What is your artistic process like?

Process: first we get to the studio and clean it up. We have to have a clean slate everyday or we go slightly bonkers. Once we can see the floors and tables we can start thinking clearly again. Then we drink so much coffee that we get both excited and obsessed about what we are working on. We listen to a lot of music such asx deep house, tech, futuro dance music.

Mostly we work to keep up with orders, but we try to dedicate a day or so a week to work on new ideas. Stephano is really the main man and the fashion brain. Troy is more the human computer helping to get the word out. We seem to be working all day, everyday, but it is great to be creative full time, so we have absolutely no complaints.

FP: What is the next step for the business?

Creativity is our main motivator with a little dash of coffee in there as well. Our big goal is to become as efficient as possible. We could spend most of the day emailing, photo editing, book keeping, website development, networking, and maintaining our presence on the internet. Lately we are into finding the most valuable programs that can not only consolidate our duties, but put them in a whole new context to keep the back-end work as exciting as creating accessories is for Necklush.

FP: Are you currently reading or writing anything?

Reading mostly RSS feeds, you really can get so much information in such a small amount of time these days. If we had the time we would read a book of poems by Fredrico Garcia Lorca and we would be in heaven!

FP: Who is the one person that you would love to own your pieces?

Somehow Necklush has really clicked with some very cool people, and we really do love the interaction we have with people from all over the world.

We get the most satisfaction out of creating for the girls (and guys) who have been kind enough to write and tell us how excited they are to receive their first Necklush. It is even more fun when they tell us how long they have labored over finding just the right one!

FP: How do you think your work fits into the current state of fashion?

Stephano has always been the go-to guy for the girls who need some fashion advice. He is an amazing stylist and designer. He has a sixth sense when it comes to what to wear, what not to wear. I always thought fashion was that David Bowie song. I was just always more interested in art and music. When we started working together we were coming from two completely different places and merging our thoughts into one direction. Due to the fact that we have such separate interests we ended up coming up with something completely unique and different.

FP: Who is your customer, what does she listen to, wear, and like?

She is that smart and cool girl you are slightly afraid of who wears what she wants and doesn’t filter her tastes through the opinions of others. He is that artful, fashion-forward thinker who is writing a book on his laptop on the stoop of his apartment. Both are not afraid of what people think; she/he probably likes a little attention; and they most likely respond to positivity, a vibe we love to send out. Hopefully they listen to some Phoenix, MGMT, Matthew Dear and, yes, Madonna!