Tattoos and couture collide in the work of these fashion designers. Some are upand- coming and some have already come up, but they all stay true to their art with designs that are irreverent, witty, and anything but ordinary.
Matt Booth - Room 101
Matt Booth, a Los Angeles-based jewelry designer and former Marine, twice deployed to the Far East, now finds his muse in the Japanese theater. His masculine line Room 101 is heavy on thick chains, locks, gargoyles, and faces from Japanese theater. And tattoos of Fu temple guards watch over his body as they do the Great Buddha back in Japan.
Booth's jewelry has its roots in what he calls "The L.A. silver soap opera," a name he coined for a cliquey small group of local jewelry designers. "When I first moved to Hollywood, I was working at the Whiskey as a sound engineer. I was meeting designers, and I became obsessed with the idea, so I began making my own [jewelry]." Combining his Far East influence and love for music into his designs, Booth's work has been spotted on everyone from Chuck Liddell to members of Cypress Hill and Coal Chamber. Room 101 is sold online, but Booth also has showrooms in L.A. and Japan. "I go back to Japan a lot, and there's this massive movement of silver freaks who will literally stand in line so I can engrave their pieces. They really get it over there."
"My roots are in the L.A. silver world, but … there's a cap with silver, and I'm already doing so much more," he explains. These days, Booth favors pricier materials and crafts his still-masculine pieces with platinum, rose, white, and green gold, and lots of stonework.
"When people limit their influence, they limit their output," says Booth. "The more well rounded you are, the more you can produce." As he continues to shift his style, the tattooed guards on his body will also expand. Jack Rudy did his sleeve while he was in the service, and Robert Atkinson did a Fu guard on his forearm. "Next, I'm going to do my entire carcass," he says.