Fashionable Life: Couture Jewelry for the Cherry Blossom Festival

by Catherine Douglas Moran

Local designer Mindy Lam uses the blossoms for inspiration. 

Mindy Lam cherry blossom brooch (Photo Courtesy of Mindy Lam Couture.)

Local designer Mindy Lam of Mindy Lam Couture offers high-end cherry blossom jewelry as the seasonal favorite nears peak bloom. For this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, Lam handcrafted cherry blossom brooches made of Swarovski crystals in four sizes ranging from small to extra large. As official merchandise for the festival, thirty percent of the brooches profit will go straight to the organization, Lam says.

The brooches fit well with the ethereal, nature-inspired Mindy Lam Couture designs. Originally from Hong Kong, Lam started designing 16 years ago and has become known for her signature  “metal lace” designs. “I did not learn to be a designer,” she says, explaining that ideas and inspiration actually popped up in her dreams.

She also has a men and women’s jewelry collection with the nonprofit Chance for Life to show solidarity in the fight against cancer. Lam said that the organization’s mission to fight pediatric cancer appealed to her own personal health struggles.

Years ago Lam was diagnosed with hypertensive nephropathy, a disease affecting the kidneys. Her then 16-year-old daughter, Kai Sia, offered to donate her organ, but had to wait until she turned 18, the minimum age to be a living donor. Lam eventually received her daughter’s kidney when Sia was 19. “I tell myself if it was not for my daughter who donated her kidney to me, I wouldn’t have a second chance at life,” Lam says, calling her kidney failure he hardest experience of her life. Among the notable challenges were losing 50 pounds, relearning how to walk and being shocked back to life after her heart stopped.

“My daughter played a big part,” Lam says. “She is my caretaker.” The mother-daughter duo also works as a team for designing accessories. Inspired by Audrey Hepburn movies and vintage designs, Lam describes her style as romantic and contemporary, while her daughter likes to play with colors and push her mother outside of her comfort zone. “When she came into the company, I said, ‘OMG baby. What is that? I don’t know that can sell.'” Lam said. “She will give me the idea of ‘Yes, it’s OK for different colors.'”

With key markets in New York and Texas, Lam says she wants to pay more attention to D.C. shoppers. “My main focus is to do more in D.C. doing more things and more charities,” she says, adding that fundraising is now a major part of her mission as a designer. In addition to the Cherry Blossom Festival, a three day pop-up event introducing her spring/summer hats and hair accessory collection will be hosted by the W Hotel in D.C. from April 26-28.

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