Sometimes something is so special, you never forget the moment you first laid eyes on it. That’s how I would describe Rosa Hu’s enchanting adornments, also known under the brand name, House of Who. Her elaborate necklaces? File them under sparkly, art deco deliciousness. So good they convinced me that bare breasts are meant to be adorned with loads of crystals, vintage chains and nothing else.
In a sea of beige, more is more for Rosa and that’s why I love her. Tune in as we talk about muses, current obsessions and best travel stories.
You have a pretty extensive background in design. Could you briefly summarize it?
I’ve been in the garment industry since I was 19 years old so essentially my entire adult life. I’ve been a designer at many Los Angeles contemporary companies and in every incarnation – from a full-time corporate designer, part-time designer, freelance designer, and consultant, to owning my own clothing line, etc. I’ve also worked at every size company, from a large corporate environment to freelancing for a one-woman consulting firm operating out of a garage. I decided 16 years ago that a full-time office environment was not for me, and I’ve never looked back. It was a lot to juggle at times with all the freelance clients, but a little freedom does wonders for the soul and your creativity!
Subtle is boring.
Everyone has a unique creative process. Can you describe yours when it comes to making jewelry?
It’s funny because the way I make jewelry is a totally different process from how I design clothing professionally; it’s actually the complete opposite! As a designer, I would create “groups” of styles with one detail or fabrication tying it all together and have all the necklines and sleeve lengths represented so it was a very balanced and methodically merchandised assortment. Everything would be sketched and re-sketched a few times before an actual garment would be made.
For my jewelry, there’s no planning or sketching. I basically take out all my stones, lay them all over the table and see which ones feel the best to me that day. Different stones seem to gravitate towards each other when I’m mixing and a few hours later, voila! It’s kind of crazy; I can have music and the TV on and be drinking wine all at the same time, and it doesn’t distract me at all. They just organically come together!
Professionally, my designing was always very practical. For my jewelry, there’s no practicality or methodology. It’s just whatever I like! I mean, how many 5-pound crystal necklaces with gold fringe down to your knees does anyone really need??? I say at least a dozen or so every few months. :)
Who have been your muses along the way?
Hmmm, can’t say I’ve really had a muse… Of course there’s a bunch of people throughout time that I’m inspired by but when it comes to my jewelry, I just wanted to make stuff that I wanted to wear! There’s a whole world of dainty charms out there, but there wasn’t much of what I liked so I started making it. I guess you could say my muse is anyone that will wear all the over-the-top stuff I make! I have friends that I know who live for big jewelry like me so I will make them the most excessive, ostentatious pieces I can! Subtle is boring.
When you're feeling stuck, what do you do for inspiration?
Although I’ve for sure experienced creative blocks professionally, I’ve never really felt stuck when it comes to my jewelry… I actually wish they could be made faster so I could produce all the ideas running through my head. But, I would say that sometimes you just need to walk away for a minute. Get some perspective from the project and the inspiration will come to you. It always does.
Crystals are heavily used in your work. Do you always plan to use them, or would you consider other materials down the road?
I’ve loved crystals since I was a kid! I’ve always loved their organic beauty and have come to love them more after discovering the energetic qualities they possess. I’m open to other materials, but I would like to always incorporate crystals somehow into my jewelry. What would be better than to have a beautiful piece of jewelry that also protects and heals you like a mystical amulet? That’s a double-whammy of amazing!
How do you define style, and how would you describe your own?
I don’t know if I can define style… Everyone has their own whether it’s good or bad… For me, I guess mine is part Bohemian, part Goth, part Art Deco drag-queen with 10 pounds of crystals and gold fringe piled on top.
Best-kept secret in Silverlake:
My most prized possession:
My drink of choice:
I'm dying to visit:
I would love to go to Spain, Morocco, Argentina! I think I would need to get a container just to ship all my shopping home!
Best trip I ever took:
There have been so many, but maybe the time I went to Istanbul and Cappadocia in Turkey, Athens, and Paris. We did the whole hot-air ballon ride through Cappadocia flying over the “fairy-chimney” Grand Canyon-esque landscape and explored the ancient underground tunnels, which was amazing and mesmerizing. We shopped the antique tribal wares and jewelry of Istanbul.
We also witnessed a protest snaking through the streets from our Acropolis hotel rooftop that shut down Athens, and later we bribed a driver to break the taxi strike to drive us to the airport. That was an interesting trip! I’ve also had pretty amazing adventures in Brazil, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. I’m very lucky to have traveled as much as I have.
Best travel souvenir:
This giant vintage Turkish tribal wall-hanging from Cappadocia that I carried through 4 countries and was questioned by immigration for at every airport! (See above.)
Right now I'm obsessed with:
Jewelry, vintage, decor, plants… these are pretty much my forever obsessions.
Favorite place to find cool shit:
I am a sucker for a flea market! I have sought out and shopped flea markets in every city/country I’ve ever visited!
I'm happiest when:
I’m home with Roxy and there’s a marathon of my favorite shows on TV.