"Hello Kitty is still cute. Barbie is still flawless and gorgeous," says jewelry designer Onch, "but, I think that OnchMovement should be the next cute thing. Hopefully, OnchMovement is the cute now."
Onch, a former contestant on Paris Hilton's My New BFF (and Hilton's "life pet" in the second season of the series) and founder of jewelry line OnchMovement, lives cute. This Thursday night, he will share that vision with the opening of Perfectasy, a month-long pop-up shop and event series at Royal/T in Culver City. The event will feature OnchMovement jewelry-- bold, colorful pieces featuring ice cream, lollipops, lips and more-- along with collaborations between Onch and artists and designers like Misha, Petro Zillia, T. Rains and Jason of Beverly Hills.
Onch moved to Los Angeles from Taiwan when he was 18 to go to school. OnchMovement began while he was studying graphic design at the Art Institute of California in Santa Monica.
"My first necklace was a pill necklace. It was a piece of Tylenol encased in resin," he recalls. "I was in class and we were making all these fun pieces and I had an extra bucket of resin...I threw Tylenol in there and the next day I wore it out and a lady bought it off my neck immediately."
His second piece was based on M&Ms. He was wearing it when he walked into the former Cake Jewelry shop in West Hollywood.
"The lady loved it so much that she started carrying it," he says. "That's how the OnchMovement brand really started with jewelry."
OnchMovement's signature piece is the double-twist pretzel, which appears in a variety of forms from hand-rolled polymer clay to metal. There's even a pretzel rosary.
"I'm from Taiwan, so I had never had a pretzel in my life," says Onch. "When I saw it, I thought it was a really cute shape. So when I was at home in my creative world, I made it with a double twist."
Onch began wearing the pretzel out on the town. People complimented him. Then one friend pointed out that pretzels don't have a double-twist in the center.
"That means that I actually created something that was original," he says. OnchMovement now has the trademark on double-twist pretzels, which Onch debuted on Paris Hilton's My New BFF.
Onch's reality TV stint began when he was discovered while hanging out at The Abbey in West Hollywood. He was on the first season of the series for four episodes before being eliminated and then returned for one more episode later in the competition. In the second season, Hilton brought him on as her "life pet."
"It was pretty sweet to hang out with her, to get to know her and to actually get to be her friend," says Onch.
Onch had launched his jewelry line before he joined the show and he credits the MTV series with helping popularize his work.
"MTV has the best market for OnchMovement," he says. "They're young. They're hip. They're fun and edgy."
He also says that the pretzel became a "huge hit" after its debut on the show.
While keeping a few design staples, OnchMovement has evolved over the few short years that the company has been in existence.
"My jewelry has evolved from being just wow show pieces to everyday wear," says Onch. "I've listened to my fans. and people who support me to how they would want the jewelry to be."
He continues, "There's also the wow version, but there's the toned down version that you can wear to sleep."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Onch points to the cast metal pretzel necklace that he was wearing during our interview ("They work as a weapon, too," he jokes) as a sign of what's to come, more pieces that are easily affordable.
"That's one of our goals for Perfectasy," says Onch, "to bring down the price points so that everyone can have a piece of OnchMovement."
Perfectasy's opening party is August 4 from 8-11 p.m. at Royal/T. Other events include the Rainbows & Cowboys party on August 18 and a Bacon Bonanza Brunch on August 21. Check Royal/T's calendar for more details.
Follow @lizohanesian @ShannonCottrell and @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.