Photo Credit: @Oringal_shotz/Instagram
Meet 25 year old Brooklyn resident Andira Sample, who is quickly making her name and unique jewelry/accessories brand Height & Light known throughout NYC. Andira is a self-motivated and talented upcoming jewelry maker that is working hard while perfecting her craft hands-on.
Since the start of Height & Light in 2013, Andira’s brand has been worn by some of the biggest and brightest entertainers in television and music, including artists such as Erykah Badu, reality stars like Angela Simmons and even Hip-Hop fan favorites like Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug and Cardi B. Recently, I had the chance to meet this humble artist to discuss her brand and what else we can expect from the Height & Light Brand. Without further ado, let’s get to know Andira Sample.
RESPECT.: What’s up? Tell us about your day so far?
So far it’s been good, I’ve just been hanging out with my little sister; she’s in town, her birthday just passed, I’ve mainly just been chilling.
RESPECT.: Let’s start at the beginning, How did you get into making jewelry/pieces and what or who were some of your biggest influences for you in the beginning?
How I got into piece and jewelry making is kinda random. I was going to Dowling college in Long Island Suffolk County area for business and then one day it hit me were I said to myself what the f*** am I doing here. This is not something I wanted to do; I was just there. I was in my world art class — one of the only classes I enjoyed — and the teacher was talking about the Basilicas in Rome [being] all about height and light. The tallest with the most light shining in stood out amongst the others. I just thought that was fire, the name just stuck with me [and] its elevation. I wrote it down and kept it, although I had no idea of what I was going to do with the name. After a year, I left college and I went to NC where my family moved to for awhile to assist my mom with my little sister and got my mind right. So while I was down there I thought to myself what am I going to do with this name. I’ve always liked fashion but I wanted to do something different, then it just popped for me while sketching logos and doodling: jewelry! Then I designed my first piece, the Dripping AnKh, which symbolizes purity and fresh starts. The design replicates pulling an Ankh out of water with visible drips. My influences in the beginning, I would have to start with my Mom and Grandpa style-wise, my best friend and brother Ralik who introduced me to conscious teachings and new ways of thinking, Ashra Kwesi who teaches Kemetic History, Erykah Badu, Taz Arnold and Yoon Ambush.
RESPECT.: So your jewelry is highly unique and truly stands out, how did the concept of your jewelry come together? And what is the process like for when you’re starting on a new piece?
I have different techniques for making my pieces. For example, some pieces I draw out with dimensions, especially my more intricate pieces like my latest collection inspired by sun energy and the 18th century dynasty of Egypt…and for other things — like the belt chains — I just merge different chain links, charms and letters together that I come across to ultimately make one piece, so overall I would say my process varies from making molds and casting with my mentor Christine from my drawings to finding different items and putting them together.
RESPECT.: Overall, your jewelry has been in the hands of some of the hottest entertainers, from Lauryn Hill to Erykah Badu to Lil Uzi Vert to woman of the Summer Cardi B, and the list goes on. How did these connections come about for you and your brand?
It works in different ways. I reach out to an artist, or sometimes like with the Cardi B moment the artist will just take a liking to my jewelry. It was very random and recently I got the chance to meet her and thank her for using my jewelry in her video so I guess things like that are random. With Erykah Badu, I went to one of her concerts and gave her pieces and she embraced me and wore them, also with Lauryn Hill I just did the same thing. I mainly just give my pieces to the people I’m inspired by and if they embrace I it love it, but either way I love that they take my pieces.
RESPECT.: So far, what’s been you hottest selling piece since you’ve started up?
I would say the Dripping Ankh (my first piece), people got that and got so attached to it.
RESPECT.: We wanted to know about your latest pieces that you say have been inspired by the Jim Jones era of Hip-Hop. When you went about making these pieces what did you want to take from that era and put into your work? Have you thought about doing any collaborations with someone or brands, if so, who and why?
That era for me alone is the influence for my latest pieces, [especially] the belt chains. Literally, me and my friends through middle and high school would walk around with gear fully inspired by Dipset, from the clothes to nameplate belts that read Dipset to our earrings. We would even walk through the halls of school reciting Dipset songs real arrogant. I think Jim Jones is a true stand out, so when I started my Belt Chain collection, I thought of how Jim Jones would have the charms hanging off his belt, wallet chains and how he had short and long ones and the different chain styles. Thought I would mix that in with my own vision. And to answer your question regarding collaborations, I would just love to do something with VFILES and other New York City-based companies and embrace my city for now.
RESPECT.: Lastly, What can we look forward to see from you and brand in the near future?
Massive growth in every aspect, working on events, working on pop-ups and maybe doing some live jewelry making at the pop-up ,and empowering my people always.