Alyssa Thralls’ collection Panda Eyes is captivating to say the least, vibing on supernatural energy. Thralls’ line is occult-inspired jewelry and clothing. Each piece is adorned with symbolic emblems that can be interpreted in various ways; all which have been created with the intent of being treasured by those who seek them, and open to interpretation. She designs her pieces in accordance to what tastes good to her and that makes them all the more delightful–if that doesn’t say it all, then check out the line. Her line is contemporary, cool and thought-provoking all at once. She has found her own way to steer clear from being just another number in the independent design world, with music as her guide to creating her own personal soundtrack to life.

Take a look.

Here's designer Alyssa Thralls in her rad RUNES sunglasses.

Here’s designer Alyssa Thralls in her rad RUNES sunglasses.

How would you describe your personality in juxtaposition with your line?
I don’t think of myself as a fashion designer; I consider myself a visual artist who sells some of my ideas as clothing & accessories. My collection, like all my creative projects, is a direct extension of myself, my interests and my beliefs. Many times, after meeting people in real life who I had previously only known online, I have been told that the way I represent myself digitally is entirely accurate to who I actually am. I always took a lot of pride in that, and the idea that there was only a very small filter between my true self and how I present myself. I think the only notable difference between my personality and my art is that my art represents a part of myself more serious and intense than I usually behave on a day to day basis – in short, I laugh a lot.

What is the creation process like when you are in your studio designing?
Generally when it comes to my line, I create things simply because I want to wear them – my collection started with DIY projects on my own wardrobe. Usually my creations reflect what I’m feeling and interested in at the time, so my creative process is just me getting really excited about a concept and then elaborating on it for a few months. As an artist, I tend to work very conceptually, I will think about something for weeks or months on end, often not even saying a word to anyone about it or writing it down anywhere. Then one day I will just make it; a whole bunch of ideas I’ve been moving around and re-organizing over a long period and then they’ll all come out at once.

I see that you are also a DJ. Is music a major influence in how you work as a designer and also as a creative person?
Absolutely. Music is easily the biggest influence on me as a creative person, and my first love. A lot of my creative directions, fashion choices and artistic ideas are inspired directly by what I’m listening to.


Can you define what it’s personally like for you being a young independent contemporary designer?
Being a designer in today’s climate is very different than it ever has been before. The fashion industry, like all creative fields, is changing dramatically because of the internet and worldwide accessibility to products and ideas that previously only belonged to the elite. I think the new fashion industry is something that is still working out who it is and what it wants to be, which makes it a confusing, but also exciting time to be working in this industry as a
young designer. It’s also a really good time to not play by the rules, which works really well for me because I don’t think the traditional fashion industry from 20 years ago would have had a place in it for someone like myself.

I think summer is a great time for dancing all day, everyday, and of course we have DJs to thank for that. What’s a good vibing set you’ve put together?
I grew up in a rainy, fairly cold climate and I’ll never get used to heat and humidity, so I tend to think of summer as a good time for staying indoors, shutting the blinds and waiting for rain! My favorite summer jams are more chilled out, something to sit on the roof at night with a drink after a long summer day and relax to: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Saint Etienne, “Goth Star” by Pictureplane, “Just Like Honey” by The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Big Time Sensuality” by Björk, “Crawlersout” by Purity Ring, “Turn The Page” by The Streets, “Sea Within A Sea” by The Horrors, “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. and “Your Love” by Jamie Principle/Frankie Knuckles, etc.

I feel being a creative person in New York City it’s easy to get lumped into a very large crowd with a lot of others who are striving for the same goal. What do you find yourself doing to keep above the fray?
That is definitely a feeling I was immersed in for my first year of living here. But as I’ve moved through my initial fears and insecurities, I’ve found the best way to stay removed from that is to think about your environment and contemporaries as little as possible. The more that I focus on myself and what is unique and interesting about me and how best to communicate that to the world, the better my work becomes and the happier I am.

What’s the story behind the symbolism on most of your pieces?
I’ve always found the symbols in the occult really aesthetically interesting and beautiful. They look like they belong to another world, and their meanings are something that most people know very little about—which is a very rare thing these days. I grew up in a hippy, new-age town, so I was aware of Wicca from a young age and it was always painted in a positive light. When I use occult symbols I always make sure to use only symbols that have very positive meanings, I’ve always found it really interesting that so many people see these symbols as evil or negative, and I like playing with that idea.


Are you planning and cramming this summer for your next collection, or are you just letting it flow organically as it comes?
One of the big steps for me as a designer and individual was to step away from the fashion industry’s traditional 2 collections a year
routine. As a creative person, I tend to work better when I can put out smaller things every couple of months rather than the intensity and pressure that comes with only expressing myself twice a year. As a businessperson, I deal directly with my customer base, and I find it works much better to be frequently releasing new things. I will be releasing a video and new photoshoots, and more designs from the symbolism theme in July and August. I also have a big project I’ll be working on for the next few months, hoping to release around October; my next collection will be based around the planetary symbols.

What are some of your favorite pieces you have out this summer?
Definitely the RUNES sunglasses. I am a total sunglasses fiend myself, I have dozens of pairs and usually have at least 3 in my bag all the time, and finally getting to design my own was super exciting for me. I also really love the SYMBOLISM Jersey, it combines a lot of design elements I’m excited about right now and is also just super comfy.

When people think of your line, what do you want them remember most?
That’s honestly not something I’ve ever thought about. I try not to think about how something will be perceived when I’m making it, and you can’t ever really know what people think of you or how they relate to what you make. I guess, if anything, I would like people to think of me as unique.


For more on Alyssa Thralls and her work, and to get your hands on some fabulous merch, visit her website.