vera balyura of verameat

when vera balyura was 14 she moved from ukraine to the US to become a high fashion model in NYC; she's now the inspiring designer and creator of verameat. during her modeling career she developed a deep love for accessories so in 2008 she decided to start her own line of unique handmade jewelry. vera’s inspiration for her series' are the people around her and personal experiences, from traveling the world, making music, mutant dinosaurs, roque spacemen, and anatomical structures; each piece tells a unique story. explore verameat for her extraordinary one-of-a-kind pieces! instagram // @verameat

local eclectic // you had a pretty vibrant youth coming from ukraine, a modeling career before 14 and much more. can you talk a little about your upbringing and how that brought you to become a jewelry designer? vera balyura // all my life experiences have made me want to do different things in my life. modeling made me realize my love for accessories more than anything and want to start my own line. this also stemmed from my visits to the french rodin museum as a young girl where I used to admire rodin. accessories were the perfect way for me to incorporate sculpture into my life. I wanted to show a narrative element through sculpture since I loved storytelling, and always had from my childhood.

through having my own business and looking at new and exciting ways of reaching out to my customers, I began making commercials through verameat tv. doing this showed me I loved the camera, being both in front of the camera and behind the scenes writing, directing, all aspects of it, so now I am in the process of making my first feature film. more on that here.  

LE // how long have you had your line and how many collections have you produced? VB // the line launched in 2008. we actually work in series not collections and have had numerous seasons over the years ranging from monsters to spines and so on. we recently launched a new line of verameat clothing in verameat plus, our newest retail location in the east village.

LE // do you have a favorite piece that we're showcasing here? VB // hi i'm tiny french ring - I just love lil dog faces, mystery hugs ring - it's always time for a hug, and brainiac ring - we just need a reminder sometimes.

LE // who are some other independent designers that you're inspired by? VB // I love all the independent designers we have selling in our new verameat plus stores: shadow play -- each piece in this label is digitally printed with real images from nature and space, many from nasa's hubble telescope! they also employ a waste-saving technique, carefully designing every garment to use up almost every inch of fabric and leaving next to nothing for the landfill. clashist -- all made in CA, creative, bright and funny. very eye catching. plante -- elegant and beautifully made. very versatile and classic - all their pieces can make an easy seasonal transition. nun bangkok -- simple styles with modern details and sporty vibes.

LE // are all of your rings hand carved? can you tell us a little about your process from the idea stage to actually producing a new piece? VB // yes each piece is hand carved. everything is handmade in our new york studio on 14th st in manhattan. surrounded in the studio by a great creative team, I am constantly inspired by the people around me and my personal experiences – from traveling the world, making music, mutant dinosaurs, rogue spacemen, and anatomical structures.

LE // you have a number of freestanding boutiques in nyc and la, do you plan to expand this part of your business? what's next for verameat? VB // a movie and we are always looking for new opportunities to expand in our favorite market which is NYC! but you never know, maybe london or la could be next ;)