Meet Malyia Mcnaughton, her soft voice and calm personality is just as delicate, as her jewelry pieces that she designs. Malyia began designing her own pieces, when she couldn’t find the ones that she liked for herself. As usual anything dope will create a buzz. Hence her being featured in Vogue and Essence Magazine to name a few.
Malyia’s line known as Made By Malyia can be worn by woman of all cultures and no matter your style. Which is why Pynk we had to catch up with her for a chat .
PYNK: What lead you to become a jewelry designer?
Malyia: I initially designed my first body chain because I couldn’t find one jewelry in the market that fit my taste level so I decided to handcraft my own. After I wore my design to a music festival all my friends wanted to buy it on the spot. This motivated me to set up a store on Etsy.com and the response was overwhelming. It started as a side hustle but quickly grew to be a creative outlet from my 9-to-5 where I was no longer fulfilled. I began putting all my free time into the brand and saw it grow. I went on to launch my website in addition to Etsy shop. I was discovered by the founder of the Afropunk festival and invited to be a vendor at Afropunk 2015 the largest multicultural music festival. The brand has since grown from body chains to include faux nose rings, ear-cuffs and hand chains.
You’re a woman of many talents. You dabble in styling, create your own accessories and you recently got signed to a modeling agency. Tell us more about that.
I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising with the goal of becoming a celebrity stylist. I interned in the fashion closet at GIANT magazine and had the amazing opportunity to assist in styling Nicki Minaj.
I went on to work at large fashion brands in production and buying. When I decided to leave my full time job the timing just felt right.
My sister Vanessa and I are partners in a fashion and image consulting company launching summer 2016. The goal is rebranding the wardrobe of the working professional and creative. It will encompass preparing them for a special occasion, a new career, and we will also consult start-up fashion brands using our combined years of experience in the fashion industry.
In August 2015 while setting up my booth for Afropunk I was scouted by VOGUE.com. I was later featured as “The Best Street Style at Afropunk”. This major stamp of approval was the spark that reignited my desire to purse modeling. I’m now represented by Bicoastal Model Management.
Who would you say is the Made by Malyia customer?
My jewels and gems are fearlessly navigating through life and enjoy standing out from the crowd. They are influential with a free-spirited alter ego and self-expressive style.
What celebrity would you say defines your brand?
Solange!!! She did things her way while dancing to the beat of her own drum. Her authenticity allowed her to become a fashion and hair icon. I can definitely identify with her because I always move to the beat of my own drum and so does the collection. I am not concerned with trends much like Solange I design what I love. I enjoy the flexibility my jewelry allows my jewels and gems. They can experiment with their style without the commitment.
What’s next for Made by Malyia?
The new collection will be available early spring stay tuned to madebymalyia.com for all updates. I also want to grow as a lifestyle brand through collaborations with other brands and influencers. My goal is to partner with boutiques domestically and internationally. I will continue to be a sponsor for a non-profits that benefit young children. I will be launching a second installment to the MADE campaign, an entrepreneurship campaign featuring black millennial influencers which is exclusively on Blavity.com.
You are a young, black entrepreneur. How does that feel? What’s your advice to anyone interested in entrepreneurial journey?
I’m proud to be a 27-year-old self-funded, self-employed black female entrepreneur. It’s an honor to be an example for my immediate family, friends and my community. Growing up I didn’t see any entrepreneurs that I could identify with so I know the representation is extremely critical for the next generation of creatives.
I am so glad you referred to it as an entrepreneurial journey because it is indeed a journey. You should surround yourself with positive like-minded individuals because in my case my friends helped me see my side project as a business opportunity. Do what you love and discover a way to market and develop it into a business.
Cynthia: Top – Forever21/ Flare jeans – Free People/Empire necklaces/ hand-chains & belly-chains coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)
Kerry (all black): Transparent blouse – Tantrum Vogue/ Ripped jeans -Uniqlo / Opulence septum piercing/ Chokers & hand chain coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)/ Venus body-chain/
Malyia: Corset – Fredericks of Hollywood / Skirt – Zara/ Choker & ear-cuffs coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)/ Commitment Issues nose-ring/ Divergent ear-cuff
Shawntell (white pants): Half cami – Urban Outfitters/ Disco pants – Tantrum Vogue/ Commitment Issues nose-ring/jewelry bralette, belly-chain & hand chain coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)
Justine: Bodysuit – Urban Outfitters/ Suede skirt – Forever21/ hair jewelry, ear cuffs, necklaces, hand-chains and body-chains coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)/ Commitment Issues nose-ring/
Malyia: The New Kia Dress – Demestiks New York/ Choker coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)/Commitment Issues nose-ring
Kerry (store front): Cardigan – H&M/ Bra – Urban Outfitters/ Printed pants – Zara/ Choker, hand-chain, ear-cuffs and wrap necklace coming soon (Infinity Collection March 2016)/ Opulence septum piercing
Photo courtesy of Heir PR
Jewelry Designer: Malyia McNaughton, Made by Malyia
Photography: Raekia Osgood, SoGoodRae Photography
Stylist: Daryle Tyson Jr.
Hair: Tilly Stewart
Make-up: Trecia Reynolds