Lucky Jewel is hard to define. It’s a retailer, a brand, a gallery, a collective, an “events-based practice,” and a platform for other designers. Since its creation, in 2018, Lucky Jewel has evolved to anticipate the needs of the people around it—the artists, writers, and It Girls (indie pop star Caroline Polachek is a fan) who devoutly follow each iteration.
The girls who created Lucky Jewel—Olive Woodward, Lola Dement Myers, and Shay Gallagher—are similarly expansive: they are collaborators, independent designers, artists, and best friends. Woodward, 26, and Myers, 25, met in 2017, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lucky Jewel started a year later, when they began hosting art and fashion pop-ups around Chicago.
Gallagher, 25, literally fell into bed with them. When her clothes were featured in one of the first Lucky Jewel pop-ups, in Chicago, she stayed with Myers. Fluent in art-school lingo, they pluck the threads of each other’s ideas, spinning them into a bigger and more intricate net.
Since Lucky Jewel’s migration to New York, in 2020, they’ve built a glossy world that girls in downtown Manhattan want to live in. This past year marked a new step for them—they launched their first formal fashion collection, in September, with a runway show that featured their friends as models. In December, they opened their first store, on the Lower East Side.
While the permanent space is “all about us building out an environment to showcase the work of others,” explains Gallagher, “the collection is the first time we’ve shown our own voice and visual language as something independent from any other outside artists.”
Their spring-summer 2023 collection, titled “Yours Is Perfect,” is, in fact, perfect. The clothes are for “the sexy secretary,” says Gallagher—shrunken vests in waxed cotton, miniskirts with pockets so small you can barely fit a thumb in. Models walked down the runway with briefcases almost too heavy to carry. It’s business impractical.
The trio delights in sentimentality. Their store, at 9 Monroe Street, is a museum of Lucky Jewel history. Everything from the racks they use to the concrete display pedestals (they’ve lugged them all over downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn) has a story. The briefcases from their runway show once belonged to Gallagher’s dad. Now they are display tables in the store.
Lucky Jewel is a vision of renewal and re-purpose. “So much of the practice is changing the narrative behind consuming or buying,” says Myers. “I think in the very first Lucky Jewel [clothing swaps], I traded three things for a pair of shoes. They’re huge platforms I wear basically everyday.”
I ask them what’s next. Rapid-fire, they tell me 10 great ideas. An ambient-music show in the store’s boiler room. Design classes, banquets, closet sales, picnics, a clothing swap. Finally, Gallagher suggests sleep.
Lucky Jewel is now open at 9 Monroe Street, in New York City
Nicolaia Rips is the author of Trying to Float: Coming of Age in the Chelsea Hotel, a screenwriter, and an editor for HommeGirls