For Kora’s Maxandra Short, life has been one big ol’ happy accident. When co-founder Amy Walker’s public health gig in Africa took an unexpected turn towards handicraft development, the duo discovered horn and decided to build a jewelry line around the material together. Following the smashing success of the trunk shows unveiling their Rwandan bracelets, Maxandra left her film job in Los Angeles behind and never looked back. “That’s the best time to start your business—when you really hate your current job,” she laughed.
As a kid growing up in Southeast Asia, the designer moved around between places like Seoul and Jakarta, collecting antique and Indonesian jewelry and making her own, too. Though her childhood interests weren’t supposed to evolve in a career, her passion for overseas travel, business development, and craft made it a perfect fit. “My absolute favorite part has been when I’m in Kenya and I’m at the workshop, working on the piece together and trying to tweak it with them,” she said. “When you get it, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
For the past four years, Maxandra and Amy have focused on building a line from four sustainable components: brass, recycled aluminum, glass shards, and, of course, the one that started it all. While it’s probably easy for Maxandra, who has been alone at the helm since a few months ago, to get distracted by collaborating with Rooney Mara or seeing her designs in Vogue editorials, she has committed big-time to economic development in foreign countries—a passion that keeps her bopping around the globe as much as possible. —carlye wisel
Behind The Scenes
The Four Key Kora Materials Get down with Maxandra Short’s essential components.For Kora, it’s all about sustainability. Maxandra Short, the talented, continent-hopping designer, and all of the based-in-Africa artisans behind the jewelry line have become pros at making necklaces and cuffs from repurposed goods. From shattered glass to old pans, she gives us a start-to-finish guide to how Kora shape-shifts these once-discarded materials. —carlye wiselScore the so-amazing horn, brass, and leather bangles Max made for us n... READ MORE »
Kora's Insider-y Tour of New York's Chinatown There’s more than dim sum.When the rad gal behind Kora’s earthy-sleek bangles and hammered brass cuffs raved about a candy shop below Canal Street that she calls her “happy place,” we were desperate to know more about her downtown hangs. Ends up Maxandra Short’s love affair with Chinatown goes all the way back to her childhood—she spent her formative years growing up in Southeast Asia. From tea wonderlands to kung-foo shoes joints (seriously), here’s her tour of the neighborhood’s coolest—and... READ MORE »