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John Wind and Maximal Art

I recently had the good fortune to interview John Wind of Maximal Art, he is someone I have known for around 3 years and I often wear his pieces as you may know. So although I say I have known him for 3 years I really did not know much about his background and I was surprised at what he had to tell me…

He started his life growing up in Philadelphia but he went to my home country England to study for his English Major because he initially thought he wanted to be a writer, but what he really wanted to do was go to Art school. He went to the UK Slade School of Art in the 80′s and got swept up in the London fashion scene, culture club and of course Vivienne Westwood.


Warhol took his picture

John started making crazy brooches that he wore!! this was the seed that started the whole business… with influences by Annie Lennox, remember her crazy hair at the time and wearing wacky jewels… The first store he was able to supply was Hyper Hyper in London and unbelievably they they sold out in one week.

After Hyper Hyper was such a success he ventured in to Browns on South Molton Street, I have to say he was a brave man, I remember when I started Izzi Bag going to talk to them and they looked at me like I had two heads, anyway they did not turn him away with the flick of a hand they gave him advice on how to enhance the lines and told him to come back. Of course when he came back they jumped on his line. He got in UK Vogue and the UK Times,  he was still in school for heaven’s sake! By the time he graduated in 1985 he had a full blown business.

You know you made it when you hit the Front Cover


He came back to Philadelphia and made friends, during 1985 – 90 the company was growing quickly selling to Barneys together with  all the best stores in the USA. John at the time was only in his mid 20’s.

John was so successful that he had A list stars like Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock buying his creations from a store called Room with a view in Los Angeles, California.


Even Janet Jackson has worn Maximal Art


But suddenly early 90′s fashion turned minimal and Maximal was out, the stores suddenly became less interested in his collections and he found himself in a difficult situation, they were very lonely times for John and together with Robbin Cook, who he was working with, took the decision post fashion to reinvent themselves. They went to the gift shows and starting looking  at  seasonal jewelry, mothers-day, Valentine’s Day, personal gifts. This was really the beginning of story telling through jewelry!


This is my favorite CHER!

Through the 90′s they continued to build this business, in the mid 2000’s they turned the corner again when fashion jewelry came back into fashion. However the gifting / accessories business was also booming too.  John was designing individual pieces and 20years in they wanted to move on to be a bigger brand with broader appeal. Vintage inspiration was Victorian originally, now their clients turned out to be the granddaughter’s of their original ones. John says  ’The definition of vintage had changed and I was not paying attention. So they looked at mid century and not Victorian as vintage! how bizarre, as I come from England where of course vintage is a lot older than here in the US, but I knew what he meant when I thought of the pieces my Grandmother wore then my mother and now me.

The last few years have been exciting because even though he has been around forever he didn’t have a huge profile and now anthropology is one of their top  clients they do private labeling for.

I was amazed at the people who have worn his creations and he told me that recently Gail King has worn his jewelry and Hart of Dixie’s Jamie King wears pieces on the show.


Check the earrings

So John went from selling a few pieces in a small London store to 20 years later selling to over 800 stores Worldwide, what an achievement.

Anne with John Wind

John is a wonderful person and he is someone I hold in high regard and deserves all the success that comes his way. When he told me that his tag line was ‘Gotta Have it….  I replied  ”I  for one have Gotta Have it all….. “

Check out his creations at http://www.maximalart.com/