Meet IKO INO: The Jewelry Designers Merging Women’s Safety With Fresh Bling

Bushwick based jewelry designers IKO INO impressed us with there inspired jewelry line, but what impressed us most was their safety whistle piece. Mariko Makino and Chelsea Fisher stopped by the Galore offices to chat with us about their jewelry line, and promoting women’s safety with their beautiful police grade whistle chain. Check out all their pieces on their website, also they have an awesome new collection coming up too!

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Where did you guys meet? 

Chelsea Fisher: We met working at a restaurant on the LES and continued to work in the food industry together, until we decided we didn’t wanna smell like food all time anymore.

Mariko Makino: Our work ethics and sense of humor have always been in line. We are flirty.

Where does name Iko Ino come from?

MM: It’s the last three letters of my first and last name.

How did you decide to make jewelry?

MM: I couldn’t find the type of jewelry I wanted to wear — I was looking for something that was the perfect balance between simplicity, quality, good design and a statement piece. I began playing around with a lot of materials I picked up at the hardware store then on a trip upstate I found a survival bracelet and was so inspired by the functionality and durability of the technique. It was the basis of my first pieces and continues to motivate a lot of the designs. IKO-INOsafetyWhistle_0069

So tell us about the safety whistle, what is the idea behind it?

MM: I won a plastic whistle bracelet at the Chinatown Arcade and started wearing it as a choker, and it ended up making me feel safer walking home alone in Bushwick at night. But it was too cheesy and too plastic so I made one with our gold chain and brass police-grade whistles. (original chinatown whistle: https://instagram.com/p/fynlqRJkB4/#)

CF: Essentially our goal behind the safety whistle was to make a rape whistle that was stylish that people would actually wear. We didn’t want to call it a rape whistle because we didn’t want to glamorize the word itself in any way, so we call it a safety whistle.  Plus you can use the safety whistle for just about anything.

MM: Yeah, one of our friends wears it while biking.

Do you both carry one?

CF:  Yeah, I mean,  I wear it because I moonlight as a traffic conductor. I really do wear it because it’s beautiful and does make me feel safer.

MM: Definitely, I feel naked when I’m not wearing any IKO INO. Its also a really good noise maker …at the club you can fist pump and blow your whistle to the beat. IKO-INO_4-1

What is your jewelry made of and is every piece handmade?

MM: Every piece is handmade here in Brooklyn. We use chain that is manufactured and plated in Japan, and nylon parachute cord and brass buckles sourced in the USA. We realize that you get what you pay for and the better quality materials we source, the better our jewelry will be.

Is all of your jewelry made of the same materials?

MM: We have started to incorporate new materials, in the next line I was really inspired by speaker wire. It is clear cord filled with aluminum and copper, so you will see some of that in our next line, along with gold mesh wire.

How much does it cost? The safety whistles are $140, handmade to order.

The safety whistles are $140, handmade to order.Where can one buy a safety whistle?

From our website! www.iko-ino.com All photos by Dylan Kelly


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