Model, stylist and jewelry designer Erin Wasson has had the kind of fashion career that legends are made of. From walking the runways in New York, Paris, and Milan for some of the biggest names in fashion, to styling looks for uber hipster designer Alexander Wang, to launching her own jewelry label Low Luv, everything Erin touches turns to gold. Yet, with all of this success Erin has become known in the industry as the 'down to earth' supermodel, whose relaxed style and friendly attitude says more about her Texas past then her globe trotting present. Style Wylde caught up with Erin, before her Low Luv event at Azalea in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood to discuss career paths, accessories, and future projects.
SW: How did you first break in to fashion, specifically modeling?
EW: Actually my dad turned my picture into a modeling contest for the Dallas Morning News and I ended up winning, which then let me start my career locally in Dallas, and shortly after that I moved to New York and started modeling full time.
SW: Over the course of your modeling career you have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, Versace, Dolce Gabbana, Victoria's Secret and many others. How did you go from being one of the biggest names on the runway, to becoming a stylist for Alexander Wang?
EW: (laughs) We lived in the same building! It was just one of those funny things. He was living on the third floor and I was living on the fifth floor, and after hanging out we realized that we shared the same esthetic, and he just asked me if I wanted to style his collection.
SW: And how would you describe that personal esthetic that you share?
EW: It's really kind of like that loose approach to femininity, a crossing of styles. There is definitely an element of street wear. There is also more of a relaxed look especially in the over sized tees, it's sporty and a little bit androgynous. That is really what we shared.
SW: From styling for Alexander Wang, what inspired you to launch your own jewelry line?
EW: Jewelry has always been a hobby of mine. For the second collection that I styled with Alex he asked me if I would design a few pieces exclusively for the show, which became the body chain that we did for the runway collection that season. From there I think it was kind of a big surprise that people were drawn to the body chain, so I started producing it, and I ran with that for a while. I started the jewelry line as a high-end line and I sold exclusively to Maxfields, but around the same time I started the RVCA clothing collection, and I really wanted to marry the two projects together and that's when I started doing costume jewelry pieces.
SW: Do you have any plans to expand Low Luv into other accessories?
EW: Absolutely! For me that is what gets my rocks off, accessories! Anyone that knows me really really well, knows that I don't fuss about clothing, but I need my zhush!(laughs) I need my flair. I love anything that kind of hangs off of you. As far as the Low Luv brand right now I am doing a holiday collection and a smaller collection of sterling silver pieces that are at a slightly higher price point than the costume line. I am also looking at taking my brand of Low Luv and collaborating with other people.
SW: Speaking of the name Low Luv, what does it mean exactly?
EW: Low Luv, was kind of a haphazard thing. When I started with the body chains for Alex, I would go to interviews and people would say to me "Erin, what is the name of your jewelry line?" and I didn't really have a name. Low Luv was something that started when I was about 16 and I had this idea of Low Luv, or Love on the down low, spreading subtle acts of love. The very first piece of Low Luv jewelry that I had made was the result of going down to Fulton Street in Brooklyn to the really bad gold stores, and I had a Low Luv name plate made out of cheap 14 carat gold that I wore for years. I don't know, it just became the name without me even thinking about it.
SW: So you have loved accessories all your life. If you had to pick one piece, and only one piece to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
EW: A HUGE RING ( laughs) a weapon!
SW: One of the knuckle rings from Low Luv?
SW: Speaking of your collection, there seems to be a lot of religious iconography, and ancient symbols used, such as ankhs, crosses, and Viking knots. What do these symbols mean to you personally, why do you think you are drawn to them?
EW: I am actually really into symbolism, I don't think it correlates to religion at all. I am really interested in the symbolism of other cultures. I find them very powerful, people always have a reaction to it.
SW: What else, other than ancient symbols are you inspired by?
EW: I think it's a good mix. I am inspired by Native American imagery. Lately I have been doing a lot of research on 1950's era Navajo culture. I am fascinated with the idea of the Navajo Nation forging their own silver pieces, and I am drawn to a lot of the symbols. I love the squash blossoms and thunderbirds that you see repeated in Native American jewelry. Of course, for me being from Texas this isn't anything new but lately I have found myself revisiting it, getting back to my roots.
SW: Speaking of your past, an amazing modeling career being part of it, will you be working with Alexander, or walking in the shows next month during New York Fashion Week?
EW: I will definitely be a part of Fashion's Night Out and I definitely want to participate in New York Fashion Week in my own way. I won't be walking in New York, although I may be walking in the European shows, but I think it's very important to be there for Fashion Week and to support the industry in New York.
SW: Do you have any other special projects coming up, besides juggling designing a successful jewelry business, expanding your line, and modeling in Europe, that you can share with us?
EW: (laughs) Well, I think it's always best to not talk about things until they are really tangible, I always have things cooking on the stove but I'd rather...
SW: Keep it to yourself for now?
EW: Yeah, you gotta keep a little bit of mystery!