Get ready to be dazzled, because high fashion with a traditional African flair has landed in the neighborhood of Crown Heights.
Burkindy, a 45-year-old jewelry designer originally from Burkina Faso, West Africa is now bringing his heritage and artistic expertise to Brooklyn with the opening of his new store, JAHNKOY.
The storefront, located at 760 Franklin Ave., opened in May and offers an eclectic selection of jewelry lovingly made and designed by Burkindy himself.
Each ring, necklace, and bracelet found in the store is expertly fashioned to represent his proud West African roots and holds deep spiritual meaning.
“I’ve made jewelry inspired by African signs and symbols and most of them are symbols of love, union, and evolving. It is a reminder of how every day is an opportunity for growth,” said Burkindy.
His foray into jewelry design can only be described as unorthodox. It is a tale of adventure across the world to the United States, a keen eye for design, and ultimately, a mother’s love.
After arriving in the U.S. a decade ago, Burkindy had resolved to learn computer science — that is, until his appreciation for fine jewelry caught the eye of his employer while working at men’s fashion brand Paul Smith.
However, it was repeated inquiries by customers about Burkindy’s own jewelry that prompted the brand to commission a line of jewelry with his unique vision in mind.
Since that chance opportunity, Burnkindy’s work has exploded into popularity with pieces being sold in Bergdorf Goodman and also featured on models in Vogue.
“I’ve met strangers who have helped push me and made me who I am today and I know so many talented people everywhere in the world,” said Burkindy. “I do feel like it always takes someone to make someone.”
Alongside his African culture, Burkindy is also inspired by the life and legacy of his late mother whose illustrious career earned the recognition of Paco Rabanne and Christian Dior.
He said the many lessons his mother taught him about the fashion industry allowed him to transition into jewelry design almost seamlessly, since it was “second nature.”
“She has been one of the reasons why we all as a family keep going because she built up something from nothing. She gave us the tools and the mindset to be able to go through life as I do here today,” said Burkindy. “She crossed all of these walls and gave us another perspective on life and still remained a great mother.”
Along with the opening of his shop, Burkindy was awarded the Rising Star Award by Fashion Group International in May. Burkindy hopes to continue to make his family proud and extend his family’s success in the fashion industry.
“I think it gives you the power to keep going and know how much people appreciate, love and support your work, which I’m grateful for and to have met so many great people in New York.”