Boy meets girl. They get married and have kids. She designs jewellery, and he makes it. That’s where Niki & Lola’s story begins…
Wife and husband duo Angie Tingas and Michael Proteau are the creative minds behind indie jewelry line, Niki & Lola. Named after their daughters, the collection is inspired by how the little girls (much like their parents) are so uniquely different. Sophia Niki likes things that are pretty and delicate, and is sophisticated yet a perfectionist at heart. Alexia Lola is jovial, smart and funny, always raring to go, and independent to a fault.
Jugni Style talked to the duo behind the edgy and elegant pieces at Niki & Lola to find out more about their inspirations, their craft, and the cone bra they created for the VAWK Spring/Summer 2013 presentation at Toronto Fashion Week.
Your collection is inspired by your daughters Niki and Lola.
Angie: I had envisioned having a jewelry line right after having our second daughter. The perfections that are our girls has been a wake up call that if I can create something so beautiful I can make more beautiful things.
What do each of you bring to the design equation?
Mike: I have been a car and motorcycle guy who has been working in the art of wood carving. And when Angie wanted to add mix metals with soldering and shaping it spoke to all my electronics hobbying.
Angie: I am definitely the fashion part of the equation of the two of us.
How did both of you decide that a jewellery line was in the mix after marriage?
We never fathomed the idea of working together, we have such different interests, but on a trip to LA we discussed me going full pace with my jewellery idea and we started talking mix metals and it made sense for Mike to come on board.
Tell us a little bit about the inspirations and influences of ancient nomadic cultures in your jewellery.
We wanted something simple, and geometrics and visions of someone finding their way without any cultural bias or influences really spoke to us.
You’ve got many different shapes and mixed metals in your jewellery, tell us a little bit about your current collection?
Geometrics is something we are fond of, we liked how beautiful and yet statement the pieces became. [Sic] The Astra bangle represents the randomness of the stars in the sky [and] the Agny spear is seen as a weapon for hunting or protection.
Angie: As the certain pieces came to life they began to show both of our aesthetic which makes sense since we are a man and a woman. But honestly no intentions, we love the idea that our pieces are being well received by men.
Mike: I’d love to solely make a men’s collection.
Recently, you made quite at statement at Toronto Fashion week in the VAWK/VAWKKIN show, by taking your creativity beyond jewellery. Tell us about this.
Angie: I’ve been dreaming up these crowns for a while. We pitched the idea to them and offered our jewellery to them. The bra was a very last minute decision when we finally knew the theme had a Madonna element. We didn’t want to copy the cone bra but be completely inspired by JPG [Jean Paul Gaultier] and make something that could also be seen as jewellery not just metal clothing.
What can we expect next from Niki and Lola?
We are tying in the crowns into our Spring collection which we are finishing off. We plan on physically expanding where we can be bought and are looking at the American market. But creatively we are just trying to one up ourselves. We like challenging ourselves and creating art. We love being part of the jewellery/fashion community in Toronto… But our city isn’t always loving our talents who tend to leave for New York or London. We want to show that Toronto is producing amazing pieces.
In its first season, Niki & Lola is now sold online and prices range from $80 to $315.