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  • Writer's pictureDina Klarisse

Asian-owned company LOUPN launches Asian-designed jewelry line

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

In a Los Angeles studio in late June, jewelry designer Benjamin Holtrop, launched and celebrated the release of his “Be Water Summer Collection.” The collection, mostly made with sustainably sourced silver and displayed on surfaces that radiated the sun’s warmth, is the most recent major collaboration between Holtrop and LOUPN, the Los Angeles-based jewelry company that sponsored the event.

The company was founded by third generation immigrants who saw the lack of quality choices in men’s jewelry.

“LOUPN was born out of the lack of opportunities for men to express themselves,” co-founder and CEO Grace Nguyen said in an email interview. “Most of the jewelry we saw in the market were very grungy, super blingy, out-of-reach expensive, or just plain cheap.”

As a young immigrant girl, Nguyen felt that she could not relate to the mostly white models in publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to connect with our audience, and work to develop role models for our AAPI community and other minorities,” said Nguyen.

On their website, the pieces are worn by mostly models of color–– a rare site in the fashion industry.

The collection is currently viewable online and the pieces are far from blingy or grungy.

Holtrop’s description on the site reads, “As a stylist, I wanted to design & create jewelry pieces that encapsulated a nostalgic feeling of finding ‘beautiful things’ and expressing yourself through them. The ‘Be Water Collection’ is about capturing that summer shimmer & embracing the heat of the night.”

Despite current assumptions that the fashion industry is driven by unsustainable business practices led by algorithms, LOUPN is driven by goals of prioritizing customers above all else.

In addition to high quality craftsmanship, the company also emphasises that their pieces are “clean” both in design and material sourcing. While other fast fashion brands use cheap materials such as brass, LOUPN uses silver sources from South Korea which can last longer.

“We use sustainable materials so that our products can last a lifetime,” said Nguyen. “We hate wasting so by using long lasting materials that can easily be cleaned and repaired, paired with timeless designs, we hope to have less waste end up in landfills. We also use recyclable packaging materials and compact shipping boxes so that we can be mindful about our impact on our earth.”

It doesn’t stop there either. LOUPN pieces also use a T-bar clasp which allows easier wear and removal for those who may struggle with the small clamps used by other brands.

A percentage of proceeds from the Be Water collection sales will also be donated to the anti-racism organization Hate is a Virus.

Even though their products are marketed to men, the jewelry–– with its slick and timeless design–– can also be worn by those with other gender identities.

“We like the trend of gender fluid fashion pieces that don’t create borders,” said Nguyen. “As we grow, we are expanding our size options so that more women can wear our pieces as well.”

It all comes down to LOUPN’s mission to provide quality jewelry that encourages self expression.

“I’m very intentional about the pieces that I wear or purchase, as each piece has a special meaning that’s personal to me.” said Nguyen.

For more information on LOUPN visit their website or follow @loupn_collection on Instagram. Follow Benjamin Holtrop @benjaminholtrop on Instagram and Twitter.

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Dina Klarisse

Chopsticks Alley Pinoy Contributor

Dina Klarisse is a writer/poet/editor/YouTube binge-watcher living in the Bay Area. Her writing explores identity, religion/atheism, and the Filipino-American immigrant experience, all from shifting feminist, postcolonial, and lapsed emo gurl perspectives. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in ASU's Canyon Voices, Marias at Sampaguitas, Rejection Letters, The Daily Drunk Mag, and Emerging Arts Professions SFBA. More of her writing can be found on her Instagram @hella_going and blog

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