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51 E JOHN isn’t just a name, it’s a location. This particular location might be considered by most to be an odd place for two metal artisans to meet - due to the fact it exists within the campus of the University of Illinois in Champagne Urbana. It is there where founders Yang and Zhan discovered themselves to be roommates while pursuing their degrees in Jewelry Design. Their shared passions proved a pivotal bond, which led them to New York City where they eventually launched 51 E JOHN in 2016.

Since that time, the founders have been on individual yet intertwined paths in the eternal pursuit of skills and knowledge. Yang went on to earn her Fashion Design MFA at Parsons School of Art and Design, which has been followed by a number of highly praised collections that have garnered her awards from the CFDA, Forbes Magazine and more. Zhan sharpened her focus even more clearly on crafting jewelry, earning first her diploma from the Gemological Institute of America then an MFA in Metalsmithing from the University of Edinburgh. She has worked with a team that has racked up a number of awards from design competitions and has begun expanding into interior design as well.

Throughout it all though, there has been 51 E JOHN, a rapidly-expanding encapsulation of their varied and shared experiences and inspirations. Acting as both archaeologists and deconstructionists, the pair wander the halls of history, using their creativity to reinterpret elements of humanity most deem unworthy of having life in the realm of modern design. Whether it’s crafting chic dental braces to help offset the stigma felt by those forced to wear them in their most vulnerable years, or using the vacuum packed look of aluminum most associated with frozen foods to make us reconsider the places we look to find beauty - the idea of questioning traditional ideals is everywhere. This can be seen most clearly in their range of literally deconstructed pieces, where the types of rings and necklaces aligned with marriages or anniversaries are expertly cut and mangled to create new and exciting shapes from an antiquated mold. This is all made possible due to their expertly hands-on approach with their materials - a rare occurrence for designers operating so conceptually.

Now, the pair have ratcheted up the intensity of their vision, and the world is taking notice to this rarefied unification of craft and concept. After show-stopping displays at both Paris and New York fashion week and beautiful new editorials executed by a global team of like-minded artisans - expect to see their singular designs in a storefront or magazine shop near you soon.
From New York to Edinburgh, two designers cross around the whole earth to complete the promise of
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