KHIRY isn't just a luxury brand that's producing beautiful pieces of jewellery. The founder, Jameel Mohammed, is using it to disrupt the industry's status quo.

KHIRY was born in 2016 while Jameel was studying political science at the University of Pennsylvania. It was a direct reaction to comments from the CEO of a prominent luxury goods company, who said that true luxury brands could only emerge from Paris and Milan. "In that moment it was clear to me that if this was a prevailing view, then there is clearly an opportunity in addressing a huge market who would have been just as appalled as I was at the single-mindedness and lack of perspective that the statement demonstrated," says Jameel. "It was the moment where I realised that it was absolutely necessary for someone else to bring a different vision to the market." This comes in the form of gold earrings with abstract faces that emulate features of West African masks, open rings inspired by horned cattle – a store of value among the nomadic Dinka people of Sudan – and rings with an orb of Tiger Eye or Onyx that captivates you to gaze in like it's a crystal ball. His work is centred in black culture and traditions, and he explains that his artistic interpretation is about more than just dissecting these tropes. "l look for the ways in which these distinctive cultural formations and histories speak to one another and suggest possibilities for future demand. The pieces are like icons; ideas and silhouettes that reoccur and stick with me throughout that process." 

Having just launched his first fine jewellery collection with NET-A-PORTER, under the Vanguard programme – the collection is created under the mentorship of Mateo’s Matthew Harris, using materials from sponsoring suppliers including Hearts On Fire, Muzo Emerald Colombia and The Betts Group – it seems to be a natural next step for the brand. "
I think that NET-A-PORTER is an arbiter of what luxury means, so it is implicit that in our mission, we would seek to form relationships with retailers of this caliber. I’m hoping it is an opportunity to expand our audience globally and introduce global clientele to our pieces that meditate on themes which are, at once, very personal and specific but also very broadly applicable."

To learn more about the man behind the brand and his day to day life, we asked him our 8Qs.

What is a book that you always come back to and why? 
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The borders between the cultural and the political are changed moment to moment in the book. I think the metaphor is beautifully traced out; the hope for the preservation of the culture amid perpetual change. This feeling has come back to me again and again in the last few years. 

What is your morning ritual like? 
I spend as much time in bed as possible, often going back to sleep before finally dragging myself to the shower, before a coffee and a cigarette and emails emails emails! 

What is the best piece of advice you've received? 
“Just go for it! You have what it takes to make your mark in this industry.” At a point where I was planning on taking a much longer road to founding my own brand, I received encouragement to just put my flag in the sand and push on, make a way. That advice alone was like a guiding light in moments where things were difficult. 

What is an ongoing goal of yours? 
Definitely my ultimate goal is to be able to own as much of the production of our line as possible, and to expand into a variety of product categories. I look at the process of creating objects that you interact with as a really tangible sort of work. In order to have true creative freedom for myself, but also to create infrastructure to allow future black artists to realise their creative visions and get them out into the world. I want to develop my own studios and workshops where production and experimentation can take place. I think that ultimately my singular vision is not enough, there needs to be a whole chorus of voices. 

What's your party trick? 
I am an incredible dancer. 

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? 
A fabulous mountainous chalet filled with art supplies with only one hour of internet per day.

Name something that you're grateful for. 
I’m grateful for incremental growth. 

Name three things that you can't live without. 
NPR podcasts, my sketchbook, and Flaming Hot Cheetos Puffs.

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