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It's been a tough couple of years, so why not see in 2022 with some beautiful wearable talismans manifesting strength, protection, and perseverance? These bestselling items by LGBTQ jewelry designer Konstantinos Leoussis, founder of KIL N.Y.C., make the perfect unisex fashion statement for now and into the new year.
Based in Brooklyn N.Y., Leoussis, 32, has been passionate about jewelry from an early age. "The first piece of jewelry that was truly my favorite was a kilt pin from the 1850s that I was able to afford with my own money. It was a very sentimental piece of jewelry for years."
He believes that jewelry is not only decorative; "wearing jewelry can be so empowering and strengthening. I do believe jewelry is incredibly talismanic. I try to invoke strength, protection, and inspiration with my designs."
"My jewelry line is inspired by many things: mythology, magic, monsters. I've always loved ancient history since I was a child and I try to add similar elements to my jewelry. The first collection I released was entirely inspired by monsters from Greek mythology," he says.
This is very evident in his beautiful Teras Collection:
The Kelly Sword Pendant and Earrings are two of the new signature styles Leoussis created for the KIL N.Y.C. label. Taking the traditionally masculine symbol of the sword and turning it into one of feminine power, the Kelly Sword design invites you to channel your inner warrior! Light enough to be worn every day, but bold enough to stand out as an accessory in the evening, each piece can be customized with your choice of metal, as well as optional stones set in either the hilt or the blade of the piece. In honor of the strong women who inspired this piece, 10% of each sale before tax will be donated to Equality Now, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for gender equality worldwide.
Kelly Sword Pendant
Leoussis says, "I wanted to create something timeless and unisex, and swords are often seen as symbols of strength and perseverance. I named them Kelly Swords after my friend Kate Kelly, who has dedicated her life to advocating for women's rights. Because of that, we donate 10% of the profits from this piece to organizations that share Kate's ideals.”
Another favorite from his Classics Collection, his Sadboy Pendant, was created to commemorate all the times we really wanted to cry but had to act like we were “too cool.” Now anyone can proudly display their sensitive side no matter what their gender with this luxe piece of jewelry. Available in one’s choice of metal and dangling briolette tears, an extra center stone can be added to the pupil of the eye for added sparkle.
“I was going through my journals from high school and came across a little drawing of an eye crying. In its jewelry form, it's a homage to my 'emo' days and a way of acknowledging that we are all entitled to have bad days,” says Leoussis.
"As an LGBT individual, it is sometimes very hard to get my work out there and sometimes, I am not taken seriously. We still have a very long way to come with LGBT representation especially with POC creators, such as myself. I strive to be inclusive and create designs that break thru the gender binary, and we try to support LGBT organizations with proceeds from select pieces of jewelry," says Leoussis.
But his timeless yet trendy designs are catching on and several celebrities wear his jewelry: Alyssa Milano, Kate Walsh, Carson Kressley, and Michelle Visage of the band Seduction, and judge on RuPaul's Drag Race. "Michelle has been so supportive of our brand and it's always amazing to see her rocking the jewelry," says Leoussis.For more on these beautiful designs follow KIL N.Y.C. on Instagram at @kil_nyc.