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Women and work: Kenda Kistenmacher's southern gems

Kenda Kistenmacher of Kenda Kist Jewelry
Kenda Kistenmacher of Kenda Kist Jewelry

Austin Fashion Week has swept through the city, and with it came a long list of premiere and emerging designers. This ten-day marathon of runways, showcases, and award ceremonies brought Austin's fashion elite to the epicenter of central Texas. While Austin is a proud parent to many big brands in fashion - namely Ross Bennett, Daniel Esquivel, and Kendra Scott - designers from outside the Capitol City scope made the pilgrimage to Texas to partake in the 2014 Austin Fashion Week.

Kenda Kistenmacher brought southern charm to the Marketplace on Wednesday night with her collection, Kenda Kist. This North Carolina based jeweler styled Austin with boho chic metals and artesian gems. A true craftsman, Kistenmacher hand selects each gemstone and precious metal.

What draws your eye to a specific piece of metal?

Most of the time I am drawn to stones. I love going to gem shows and seeing beautiful strands of glimmering gems! Then I lay them all out when I get home and [begin] sketching, [but] sometimes it doesn't come right alway. I have held onto stones for years and then boom it hits me. Inspiration doesn't always come when you want it to.

Kistenmacher studied design at East Carolina University; it was after graduation that Kenda Kist Jewelry was born. This is a designer that taps into the classic simplicity that embodies her female consumer, while adding personality to form and structure. She favors sterling silver and 14K gold, and will continue creating a line that "surpass[es] trend and create[s] functional, lightweight jewelry for women to wear for any occasion." The jewelry is delicate, unique, and great for layering - both bangles and neckwear alike.

Do you see a demographic variance in your collection’s popularity?

Not really, my jewelry goes well with the lifestyle of any woman. Once women start wearing my jewelry they love how lightweight it is...they get compliments and they can tell a story about it. I love that aspect. Over the years I have seen trendier pieces gain more popularity in California...but overall, women everywhere love my collections.

Kenda Kist adornments accessorized the Melissa Fleis collection at this years Austin Fashion Awards. Fleis is also a true artesian who has built a brand that echos European influence with silhouette and structure. This was a powerhouse pairing that displayed the bold silhouettes of Fleis' garments with Kistenmacher's fierce, yet feminine, form.

What is your “signature” style?

My style is a classic, boho, and a little bit edgy. Every woman loves a hoop...but it's got to have some personality. So I give mine a little forge and curl.

Arrows in metals and vibrant gemstones with flair - Kenda Kistenmacher plays with femininity while pushing the boundary of elegance and edge. She has created a line that will have a home on the neck, or wrist, of every American female.

Check out this season's Kenda Kist collection here. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

© Lindsay Watson

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