In recent months I have all but abandoned my earring collection in favor of big chunky bracelets and cocktail rings, and truth be told I haven't missed bedazzling my lobes one bit. Since discovering Owlita earrings however, that trend is likely to change. Started by Portland, Oregon native Ashley Doty in 2007, the line consists of earrings made up of clustered feathers in different lengths; some are shoulder grazing (like those above), and others are much shorter and more understated. Constructed using a variety of feathers, leather, bone, and copper wire, the first pair was born from the feathers that an owl left behind in Doty's backyard. Since then, the line–which ranges from about $68-$82) has taken off and is now sold in boutiques all over the nation and online.
StyledOn: How did Owlita come to be?
Ashley Doty: Nights spent drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and dreaming at my kitchen table. Owlita was birthed out of many non-coincidental events & opportunities that lead up to this present moment; full of friends, mentorship, lots of laughter, and a couple of break-downs.
SO: Which feathers do you love to work with the most?
AD: I love working with new feathers, new colors and custom arrangements. I have a serious love for the elusive, coveted creme feathers. Product availability is very interesting in this particular industry; you are at the whim of the bird. Some years only certain colors are available, so its like each piece really is a custom work of art. No two birds are the same.
SO: Being a Portland native myself, I'm curious: do you find inspiration in the city and/or in Oregon?
AD: Absolutely. Walking in the woods or city trekking with my dog. The night sky, after rainfall, or sunrise in the desert. There is no richer color or more vibrant landscape to evoke immense reverence and inspiration. Bring on the dark & seedy too: the multi-dimensional layers of the city and surrounding areas are marvelous.
SO: What else inspires you?
AD: Random flittering moments in time & my amazing group of friends.
SO: The earrings look amazing on women of all different styles; urban, boho, rock chic and even uptown girls look great in them. What kind of woman do you design them for?
AD: To be honest, I designed them for me but have found that all types of women (and men!) can rock them.
SO: It seems like this process took off right away; you started in 2007 and now your jewelry is available all over the nation. Did you expect this level of success when you started?
AD: Not at all. I had no expectations. I am definitely thankful for the launching pad that clothing company Rise Up International provided me by inviting me to showcase my designs at their booth at POOL Tradeshow in 2007.
SO: Is there anyone (artist/designer/writer/other) you would love to collaborate with?
AD: Yes, but too many to name! I really admire the photographer that runs Twisted Lamb, Mary Lee, and many of the designers she posts.
SO: What is next for Owlita?
AD: I would love to create, or be provided resources to take Owlita to the next level, time to design, interns, photography, sewing, globe trotting & world domination! Just kidding... well kind of. And of course, new accessories!
How would you wear your Owlitas?