Posted: Jan 20 2013
by: wickedpeacock

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Re-fashioning in the Windy City

Chicago-based Michelle Starbuck Designs is a re-fashioning powerhouse. Working with an assortment of brass materials, her vintage creations are a combination of Mad Men chic meets the hippest of Prepster. Classic and refined, her pieces are staples to any wardrobe and can be worn daily.

Michelle Starbuck Designs

A lover of vintage jewelry, she’s always collected. And the first piece she ever made, a long charm necklace, sparked a fashion frenzy with strangers looking to buy the piece right off her neck. “So many people wanted to buy that I started making more and selling them,” she laughs.

Jade Ladder Necklace

Fast-forward SEVEN years, and Michelle Starbuck is still making jewelry by hand and designing with deadstock findings.

It’s the hunt for materials that thrills her and she that by using vintage pieces, she’s saving unwanted and unused materials from being wasted or discarded.  “Usually I'll see a charm or bead and I'll know immediately that I want to use it for a specific design. I just go with it and try not to over think it,” she says of her process.

Vintage Vixen copy

Though she won’t reveal her secret spots for sourcing her FAB vintage finds, what she will say is this: “I like digging, sorting, and cleaning my materials before I can work with them. I like metals with a patina and a history.”

Though she’s been designing for a long time, it isn’t her full-time gig. An uber go-getter who can accomplish anything she sets her mind to, MSD also works as a manager at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago—a city she loves for its bustle and quietude. “I like being able to run all over the city to go to gallery openings and check out new restaurants without having a car and still managing to feel like I have a quiet place to call home at the end of the day.”


Though she admits that working full time sometimes cramps her passion for jewelry design, she’s not ready to make the transition to designing full-time. “I think I'll know when the time is right. Maybe sooner rather than later? I'd really miss my job, though. I get to work with the best people!”

In 2013 we can expect big things from this designer, including a look book, limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces, and of course some secret projects that we CANNOT wait to hear all about!

We are OBSESSED with her jewelry, especially the chic Equestrian bracelet and the AMAZING Arc Deco necklace. Michelle, herself, opts for the Fiesta bracelet, but her favorites change a lot. “I've been wearing it for the past 5 months or so. I like any jewelry that I don't have to take off at the end of the day. Ironically, I'm pretty lazy about my every day jewelry.”



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