Friday, December 28, 2007

"Vinyl gets new spin as jewelry"

from by Erin Kobayashi

TORONTO, Canada -- James DesRochers, a self-taught clothing designer and DJ based in Toronto, wanted to merge his passion for fashion and music.

He looked to his extensive record collection for inspiration, deciding that he wanted people to wear actual music as jewelry.

DesRochers began cutting precise, detailed shapes such as horses, pirate ships and skulls out of old and damaged records. His jewelry line, Vling, a combination of the words vinyl and bling, was born.

About two inches in size, the statement necklaces and earrings are large so DesRochers can create intricate details on the brittle vinyl. But the designer also wants people to look closely at the texture of each piece.

"The reason I have that size is because it is easier to see the grooves of the record. I want the wearer to know and see that it is music," he says, though some record collectors are unhappy with him.

"I will get nasty emails from record collectors who think I am destroying vinyl but nothing I use is listenable. All of the records I use for the jewelry are defective, damaged or scratched," he says. DesRochers should know. As a DJ he owns more than 800 records and would simply add a valuable find to his own collection. "Record collecting has a rabid fan base; collectors are not easy to please," he says.

Vling is similar to the whimsical and silhouette-inspired designs of Alex & Chloe and Tatty Devine that have become popular over the years. However, instead of making jewelry out of acrylic and Plexiglas, DesRochers is able to keep costs low by recycling damaged vinyl that would end up in landfills. At $14.99 for most pieces, Vling is also significantly less expensive than the other jewelry lines.

Vling is also entirely made in Canada at DesRochers' Toronto studio. The only material that is not from the GTA is the coloured vinyl from a pressing plant in San Francisco that he uses for limited-edition pieces. He also comes out with new designs every three or four weeks, including a set of three recycled vinyl snowflake ornaments for $19.99.

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