How did LITTER come about?

RACHAEL MANN: Mackenzie started making jewelry out of nuts and bolts from the hardware store. It was pretty cool stuff, but not for everyone. Very editorial pieces, but not really stuff you would wear everyday. Then, one day, she totally softened up the look by making this one headpiece with pearls and delicate gold chain. When I saw it, I was thinking for sure people would love these. So, I came on-board totally inspired. We started going to every flea market and thrift store to find vintage costume jewelry and chains. We started coming up with really interesting stuff and we bounced ideas off one another. The people around us who would see the jewelry kept telling us how much they liked it, so we just continued to build LITTER, and see where it would take us.

MACKENZIE BURDICK: It's funny, because I really couldn't tell you exactly how it all went down. It happened really fast. I was interested in making jewelry out of found objects, mostly hardware store finds. I pretty much bought up the entire plumbing section at this one store. I was making some really unusual stuff, but it only looked great in pictures. If you saw someone wearing it on the street you might think they were a trash collector. Rachael came on board after awhile, and we started hitting up flea markets and thrift stores to find more wearable materials. Then, we took over the guest bedroom in her house making the headpieces. After enough people bought them from us, we moved into our studio on Union Street, and we were able to start making different kinds of jewelry and experimenting with new styles. I still have all that left over plumbing hardware-- if anyone out there has a leaky drain or something, you are welcome to come pick it up!

Your constantly creating new pieces- where does the inspiration come from?

RM: Nothing we ever make is totally premeditated. We literally have a mountain of chains, charms, rings, and hardware that we sit in front of and mix and match. Usually, we will be in the studio with all of the materials and we drape chain on ourselves in different ways, and take stuff apart and reconstruct it into new pieces. Mackenzie does a lot more research on trends than I do, so sometimes she will come up with a design ahead of time, but nine times out of ten it changes as soon as she gets in front of the mountain in the studio.

MB: I love staying up late and checking out fashion shows on line, or reading fashion blogs. I will pull ideas, and then bring it into the office and Rachael and I will build off of the idea.

What are your favorite pieces from the line?

RM: Some of my favorite pieces aren't on the website, because I can't part with them! That's what's been so fun about doing LITTER; I get to make and wear fun jewelry all the time! I do, however, LOVE the shoe jewelry. I really feel like such a badass when I have a pair on, and they make my shoes look so much sexier. We have these new shoe straps for flats and sandals coming out for summer that are super cute.

MB: Lately, I have been making these over the shoulder chains. It's kind of like an arm cuff, but for your shoulders. It looks a little bit like a marine uniform. They are still a work in progress, but I know people will love them. They are so different.

If anyone living or dead could wear Litter, who would it be?

RM: I really like seeing men in our jewelry. Some guys can totally rock chains and rings like it's natural.

MB: I am really hoping that Karl Lagerfeld will see our line and decide that he wants to fly out here to SF and be best friends with us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Three things you can't live without?

RM: I can't live without my animals. In fact, when we first started LITTER, I had to use my dog to size the head jewelry. I found out her head was the same size as mine, so I was making the headpieces on her head because it was easier. I can't live without the Beach. I love everything about the beach. It's beautiful when it's sunny and it's so romantic when it's stormy. And sweatpants. The people closest to me will tell you that I am a sweatpants hoarder. While everyone else goes to the store to buy a dress for their night out, I buy sweatpants and then complain that I have nothing to wear when I want to go out.

MB: I can't live without these chocolate chip pumpkin bars from Cafe Sapore in North Beach. But please don't go there and get one because lately, someone else has been going there for those too, and they have been selling out. I can't live without music. While I am up researching stuff for LITTER, I am also up making playlists for the office. We are way more productive when the music is on. And of course showers. I shower two times a day. I refuse to leave my house without a shower and I won't fall asleep at night unless I have had one. My sister can go days without a shower! I figure I am not really wasting water because I am using up Rachael's showers on the days she doesn't take them.

Any absolute fashion must haves? (other than jewelry by LITTER of course!)

RM: Mini skirts! I love everything about mini skirts. I wish I had them in every color. Mini skirts go with everything. They showcase your shoes the best, they make you look taller, and you can wear any top you want and always look dressed up cute.

MB: The perfect t-shirts. I am on a constant mission to find the perfect tee. I love them all broken in and ratty.

What's on the Horizon for LITTER?

RM: LITTER has a good name for taking on new ventures. LITTER means so many things. I love interior design; it's my true passion. Mackenzie loves fashion design, and is really good at it. We have talked a lot about turning LITTER into a creative house, where we can do clothing and things for the home as well.

MB: I really want to focus on the clothing next. I have all these ideas. Also, a t-shirt line. A friend of ours named Connor is an amazing artist, and I want to get some of his sketches and put them on old tees.


loved reading this, i absolutly love everything about your jewels and your blog arrrgh keep up zee amazing work ladies big fans.x x

—B B (Mon May 11 20:55:00 2009)

i would just like to thank you both for existing and for blessing us with all your jewelry. but esp the shoe jewelry….i kid you not, i had an oh. my. GOD. moment when i saw them.

—Anonymous (Sat May 23 15:12:24 2009)

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.