I AM / Andrea Li

Andrea Li is a formidable force in the Denver fashion scene; standing next to her, one can feel a distinct power radiating from her.  A jewelry designer by trade, but more accurately described as a sculpture artist, Andrea crafts some incredibly insane, wonderfully intricate creations from precious and semi precious stones, coral, found objects and antiques using next-level wire wrapping techniques.  Each piece is truly a masterpiece, which has garnered her a strong following among a select group of women.  We at Goldyn have been lucky enough to stock her collection for quite some time, though our roots together go way deeper than that.  Truth be told, Andrea was my babysitter when I was growing up in Boulder.  I recall thinking how cool it was that she made her own jewelry, even back then, and would sell it at Boulder High or to the ladies in our moms’ office.  We’ve both come a long way from that now, but it’s fun to think back on those times and see how our lives have developed in intersecting paths through our adult years.  See for yourself what makes Andrea such a special creature as she and I reminisce and talk shop below.

Andrea wears a Helmut Lang top and crackled leather pants.  Jewelry is her own – prices available upon request.

Andrea at home

Andrea at home. Images by Sara Ford.

Goldyn:  What do you do for a living?  How does that influence your style?

Andrea:  I am a jewelry artist that creates one-of-a-kind wearable sculpture. This influences my style by creating a blank canvas to showcase my work. I have found that simply by adding jewelry you can dramatically change the mood of any outfit to suit any situation. You can go from the office to happy hour to an art opening by doing this. I love the versatility and transformative effect that jewelry can lend to anyone’s overall style. Jewelry and shoes are similar. You can never have too many of either.

Some of Andrea's magic creations on display

Some of Andrea’s magic creations on display

Goldyn:  How would you define your style in a nutshell?

Andrea:  Comfortably cool. Looking polished is important but being comfortable is equally as important. I used to sacrifice comfort for fashion’s sake until I realized that it actually distracted me from enjoying myself while I was out. With some of the edgier contemporary designers who use interesting draping in their construction you can have both. Rick Owens was an early favorite of mine whose clothes really embrace this philosophy. He is the designer who changed my style forever.

Fur babies

Fur babies and ‘Choos

Goldyn:  How did you get started doing what you’re doing?

Andrea:  I have always loved jewelry so it was a natural fit. I believe that what you do chooses you before you choose it. For me the process started very early. I even designed jewelry that I sold to the office employees of [your] mom Janet Heimer at Boulder Community Action Program, where my own mom also worked.

In conversation

In conversation

Goldyn:  Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve designed?

Andrea:  Every piece I just finished is my favorite until I finish the next one. It just has to be that way for me as a designer. Otherwise it is an indication that the piece is not done. In these cases I re-work the piece until I can sit back with satisfaction and excitement to wear it out. They always say that you are only as good as your last success. I try to achieve this and use it as a bar it to measure my current work.

Hands at work

Hands at work

Goldyn:  I know you work a little with your boyfriend Kris on some technology projects.  Tell me a little about that, and what it’s like working with him?

Andrea:  Kris and I have worked extensively together on multiple technology projects. From full production fashion shows, videos, visual installations, websites and more. Our creative visions really align making it easy to bring our collective visions to life. He is my partner not only in real life but also in my business. Some of my favorite times are working together in our shared office space late hours into the night sharing ideas and bringing them to fruition.

Hanging out at Andrea and Kris' new loft

Hanging out at Andrea and Kris’ new loft

Goldyn:  If you could be anyone at any time, who would your fantasy self be (famous or just made up!), and what would she be doing?

Andrea:  It is always fun to imagine the possibilities of who you could be if you had a magic wand to make it so. I used to fantasize about this frequently, but as the years roll by I began to realize that I should focus on making my own life what I want. To do what I want to do and be who I want to be. I want to be myself that is constantly evolving to be a better version of me. That being said I have always loved and admired Alexander McQueen. It would be incredible to have walked in the shoes of Shaun Leane, a jewelry designer who collaborated extensively with McQueen in many of his collections.

In the studio

In the studio

Goldyn:  Any words for girls growing up today about style?

Andrea:  Individuality is something to cherish. Something that is typically punished when you are younger however as you grow older you will find that it is celebrated. Be memorable above all else. As Ralph Lauren, a great fashion icon, once said, “Personal style is having a sense of yourself and what you believe in everyday.”

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