By Gabe Licht
LOS ANGELES, CA Mya Lambrecht has gone from walking the hallways of Delano High School to walking a runway during Style Fashion Week in Los Angeles, where her handmade jewelry was on display.
Lambrecht, a 2007 DHS grad, grew up on a hobby farm between Watertown and Delano, and now lives in the Twin Cities.
Though she began helping her aunt, Ann Lambrecht, make jewelry when she was 13, she never intended to make it a career.
“I went to school at Syracuse,” Mya Lambrecht said. “I didn’t think I would do jewelry. I majored in English and creative writing.”
Two years ago, a tragedy pulled Lambrecht into the industry when her aunt died suddenly and unexpectedly while traveling in India at the age of 48.
“I ended up having this opportunity to sort of finish out the end of her business, finish any orders left undone,” Lambrecht said.
She launched Mya Lambrecht Jewelry in January of 2014.
Her jewelry features everything from raw gemstones and crystals to bone and tribal antiques.
“They tend to be large and pretty tribal and one-of-a-kind,” Lambrecht said.
She enjoys getting to know her customers and making pieces just for them.
“I like to meet someone, get a rapport with them, and then they give me leeway or freedom as an artist after they tell me what they’re looking for and I get to go from there,” Lambrecht said. “Somehow, it always works out.”
Many of her clients are well-traveled, and ask her to incorporate something they found overseas into a new piece of jewelry.
“It’s bringing a cross-cultural dynamic to my work,” Lambrecht said. “I’m getting to work with pieces from all over the world and putting them into one expression.”
She especially enjoys working with African pieces and pairing her designs with clothing designed by Kenya native Hilda Mauya.
“We randomly met each other at an event,” Lambrecht said. “My jewelry looks like it was made for her clothing, even though we hadn’t met before.”
Working with Mauya has opened up many opportunities for Lambrecht.
First, she did custom work for Mauya’s line of gowns. Then, she paired her jewelry with Mauya’s designs for a show during New York Fashion Week.
“She’s been really supportive as far as letting people know who I am and that she’s working with me and all her jewelry I’ve done custom for her,” Lambrecht said.
Caribbean fashion ambassador Glenda Lugay discovered Mauya and, practically by default, was introduced to Lambrecht, as well.
Though Lugay’s focus is helping people of Caribbean descent break onto the fashion scene, she has been supportive of Lambrecht’s work.
That support led to an invite to Style Fashion Week in Los Angeles, not only to support Mauya, but to have a show of her own.
Despite short notice, Lambrecht made the most of the opportunity.
“Usually people are planning months in advance,” Lambrecht said. “There was a spot that opened up, so I knew about two weeks before. I didn’t really sleep for a couple weeks.”
Lambrecht said she didn’t mind staying up until 4 a.m. many nights, and actually called her preparation for the show exciting.
“I have a harder time with having to go in, look really nice, have interviews, be on a lot of red carpets, and do a lot of networking and dressing up,” Lambrecht said. “Meeting a lot of people and doing interviews, I still feel like the girl from the farm who shouldn’t be there. I’m honored, and grateful, and proud.”
The work didn’t end once she got to LA.
In preparation for the Oct. 18 show, she arrived at the 900-seat Reef at 10 a.m. She worked with models up to and throughout her show at 3 p.m.
At the end of the show, she was recognized, as well.
“I went out with one of my models at the end,” Lambrecht said. “I walked down the runway, which was a little nerve-wracking for me. It was a way bigger thing than I’m used to. I was a small town girl in a big city.”
Her work was well-received.
“I got a lot of nods,” Lambrecht said. “People in the audience either nod to your looks or look away.”
She added that several designers and audience members “went out of their way to say they enjoyed my work. Anytime I get a compliment like that, I’m still blown away that someone would respond that well.”
Not only were audience members and fellow designers talking about her work, but so were the models wearing her designs.
“So many models were giving me positive feedback,” Lambrecht said. “They do this all day. It was cool to see their response. Even models that didn’t work for me asked if I needed another model. They said they’d love to work for me.”
Lugay had lined up the 20 models, including three men, who had modeled Lambrecht’s jewelry.
She enjoys working with local models, and is looking forward to doing so more in the future.
“I have more connections with models now who really loved my work,” Lambrecht said. “They’re doing photo shoots and would love to use my work in their photos . . . If you build a network, you can support the people you believe in.”
Hopefully, she’ll be able to take some of those models to another fashion show in the future.
“I’d love to continue to do the runway kind of stuff because it gives me an opportunity to expand outside of Minnesota,” Lambrecht said.
In the meantime, she is looking to get her designs into more boutiques. Currently, she has jewelry in Grethin House locations at 50th and France in Edina and in the North Loop, as well as at the House of 365 in Wayzata and a boutique at Necker Island.
“When I was in LA, I talked to a couple boutiques, so I’m hopefully sending out jewelry to sell in LA,” Lambrecht said. “Hopefully, that will do well out there.”
Her designs can also be found on her website, https://myalambrecht.com.