I was at Barneys the other day shopping on the 7th floor when a case of bold necklaces caught my attention. The pieces, from the brand mctega, are described by their two designers – Sarah McLellan and Kristina Ortega– as being “all about resin. And texture. And dyes. And sometimes goldleaf.” I was intrigued by this description and immediately contacted the two ladies to get the scoop on the collection.
Unsurprisingly this original line of jewelry has an interesting backstory. A few years ago when both gals were juniors in college — Sarah was pre-med and Kristina was micro-bio – they each, separately, decided to switch to design majors. In Kristina’s case she found that she had way more design credits than science credits, while Sarah made the switch after she nearly blew up her Org Chem II lab. And the rest as they say, is fashion history.
How did your jewelry line come about?
We met while interning at Rodarte, and quickly became friends. The line was hatched on an errand to home depot! We really were just looking for an excuse to work together.
Where did the name mctega stem from?
Mctega is an amalgamation of our last names (Sarah McLellan and Kristina Ortega).
What was the first piece you designed together?
Our first piece was inspired by carbon ring formations and was made of vintage Italian hexagon beads cast into sheets of resin. However, as we experimented with the resin our pieces became more influenced by the materials than anything else.
How would describe your line?
We work hard to create something that represents our aesthetic, while trying to make something that we feel is playful, intelligent, and most importantly, fun. A mctega necklace has as much importance as a piece of clothing; they are definitely pieces you have to outfit around.
How would you describe your clientele?
The only unifying trait in all our clients is that they are rad.
What are your price points?
$92-$500, but our next line is going to be slightly higher.
How do you pick the materials that you are going to work with?
We have used resin since the beginning and to some extent it has dictated the way we design. We are constantly experimenting with the material, catalyst, dyes, the different states of prehardened poly, etc. Our best pieces began as mistakes, and we just ran from there.
What inspired the toy animal necklace?
A birthday cake!
What are each of your favorite pieces in the collection?
Sarah — chunk colored – can’t get enough and I wear it like 4 days a week!
Kristina – I’m really proud of the triptychs.
Do you ever think about expanding into clothing or other accessories?
We went into jewelry with the intention of eventually creating a clothing line.
Our next season is scheduled to be a clothing line (spring 2010), but we will still make some accessories as well.
Any suggestions for aspiring jewelry designers?
For more information and retail locations check-out http://www.mctega.com/.