Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna Wear Her Jewelry

Martine Ali

Age 31

Hometown Chicago

Now Lives In a minimal one-bedroom apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where the lights are seldom on but a record always is.

Claim to Fame Ms. Ali has a namesake line of unisex jewelry that evokes early 2000s hip-hop with its street-wear-inspired use of hardware staples like chains, dog tags and safety pins. The line is carried by influential stores including Opening Ceremony and Kith, and the rapper Kendrick Lamar is a fan and has worn her bracelet, necklace and wallet chain on tour this year, as well as in several videos, including “Humble” and “Element.” “That was definitely the moment I saw a pretty literal spike in business and industry love,” Ms. Ali said. “Kendrick made my designs recognizable.” And just this month Rihanna wore Ms. Ali’s bracelets and earring in her “Lemon” video with N.E.R.D, which the designer long considered a dream.

N.E.R.D & Rihanna – Lemon Video by NERDVEVO

Big Break In 2010, while interning at DKNY, Ms. Ali would wear her homemade pieces around the office. One day, her jewelry got noticed by Jane Chung, then the designer, who commissioned her to create pieces for the coming collection. The day before the show, Donna Karan herself saw the pieces and asked if Ms. Ali could adapt them as handbag adornments. “After that it changed from a hobby to a skill and an asset,” Ms. Ali said.


Ms. Ali shows off pieces from her namesake jewelry collection.

Amanda Jasnowski Pascual for The New York Times

Latest Project Ms. Ali created a jewelry collection for the Australian-American designer Matthew Adams Dolan’s spring 2018 fashion show that will be available at Opening Ceremony for the holidays under her name. The collection, featuring delicate pieces rendered in gold and pearl, is a departure from her usual aesthetic (“like if I were a painter going from oil to…

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