Photo Diary: Magic Man's Justine Bowe Designs Handmade Necklaces

A fan girl's dream accessory.


Today, Magic Man, the five-piece electronic band by way of Boston, releases their much-anticipated debut LP Before The Waves and it's already the dreamy, synth-heavy rock soundtrack to our summer. Coinciding with their album drop, keyboardist and solo female member Justine Bowe is making her foray into designing jewelry pieces inspired by their band. Her first-ever necklace collection is a fan girl's dream, cleverly incorporating the band's initials inside an industrial-cool triangle frame.

In the days leading up to tour, we caught up with Bowe about her love for jewelry, new album, and packing for the road.

Marie Claire: How long have you been making jewelry?
Justine Bowe: I started during my freshman year of high school in 2005. I have this vague memory of having this pink shirt and thinking, "I wish I had earrings to match this." I had some craft supplies floating around and decided to make some. The whole thing seemed pretty intuitive. So I just did it all through college. I haven't really had a chance since college to do it seriously, so this is really exciting for me.

MC: How has your design technique evolved over time?
JB: Back in college I was mostly working with vintage pieces and reworking them — upcycling was really exciting then. My favorite sort of thing to do was to have pieces commissioned by people who had a couple of pieces from their family who wanted to rework them into something they can wear now. It's been really cool for me to take into account the Magic Man aesthetic. I hadn't created anything but one-of-a-kind pieces before, so the idea of a collection was so fun for me.

MC: Do you have a jewelry style tha you're most drawn to?
JB: I'm honestly not much of jewelry wearer myself — it's weird, but I don't pay too much attention to what's going on in the jewelry world. Jewelry, for me, is just an intuitive window into design. I do it for myself. Whatever comes into my head, I'll just try and make.

MC: What was the inspiration behind these pieces?
JB: I was really excited about the idea of making something handmade for our merch table. I knew I had this skill that I wasn't bringing to the table, so it was exciting. I also really wanted to work in the media I'm working in, which is laser-cutting different materials like wood or acrylic. One day I was sitting down at a cafe and I thought there were ways work in the "M" in the geometric pattern, as opposed to looking like the actual letter. I wanted to make the logo itself into something a bit more abstract. Nobody really wants to go walking around with somebody’s band name on their necklace.

MC: How do your personal style and music coincide?
JB: My aesthetic back a few years ago was a lot more ornate — there was a lot going on. Now that I look back on it, it was maybe a little too much and I think that even with my pieces for Magic Man, I'm trying to pair my natural inclination down to be a little bit more minimalist. It totally goes against my sensibilities as it's a reaction of mine to keep adding more. That's kind of how I'm working my style into it. I’m just trying to work out the excess and pair everything down to what's essential. In terms of my personal style for clothes, I definitely prefer plainer colors, neutrals. I hardly ever wear anything bold color-wise.

MC: Your album Before The Waves is dropping next week. What can fans expect?
JB: As opposed to the EP, there's just a lot more room to have different stylistic expression on a full-length album. There are a few more slower grooves, which would be harder to work into a short release.

MC: I imagine you're in the process of packing for tour, how do you go about it?
JB: Well, I'm totally a homebody. The idea of me being on the road is kind of antithetical to my being. There are things I need to do just to kind of calm down and chill out. The biggest thing is to have a packing list. The other something spooky happened actually. I was going through the jewelry box of my great aunt who passed away and I found a packing list that was exactly how I structured mine. It was just the weirdest, most hilariously spiritual moment. I tend to pack things that I can wear on and off stage as much as I can. It's kind of a challenge but I'm a light packer. And a candle, I always bring a candle.


Bowe's Magic Man necklace comes in natural wood, clear acrylic, gold painted wood, gold mirrored acrylic, silver mirrored acrylic, and tortoise shell and retails for $24.99 on their website and at the merch tables at their shows. 

Magic Man kicks off their tour today, July 8, in San Diego. You can view all the tour dates here.



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