The significant, bold, and entertaining extras with an air of mystique that Đinh Nguyễn Song Khanh and their husband or wife, Meiyin, develop below their manufacturer XYZ mirror their definition of queer vogue in the US, exactly where they now are living with a bunch of cute and mischievous cats.
Đinh Nguyễn Track Khanh (they/them) is an outdated buddy of mine from significant faculty. They are at present an trade scholar at the University of Washington, ending their graduate diploma in Digital Media while also functioning as a videographer. Their partner, Meiyin (they/them), is a Chinese-American with a degree in promoting who is now doing work in a coffee shop to help guidance their artistic aspiration of building jewelry.
In addition to parenting a cuddly crew of cats, the pair are co-proprietors of XYZ, a boutique jewelry brand name with pieces crafted by the proprietors. Khanh and Meiyin provide their creations via their web page or at regular pop-up markets throughout Seattle.
A enjoy tale that began it all
The concept at the rear of XYZ was kindled when Meiyin built a several handcrafted earrings for by themselves as a personalized challenge the personalized blings quickly introduced in rather a few compliments from their buddies. “Oh, these earrings are so exciting! You ought to promote them!” Meiyin recollects the praise. This was all around the starting of 2020 when Meyin and Khanh have been only mates. Meiyin invited Khanh to style earrings with them and, by the conclude of that calendar year, XYZ was formally founded.
“[After that], we fell in appreciate, and started out courting,” Khanh suggests. “So XYZ was there at the commencing of our romance. It was there when we were just buddies, and when we created into a romantic relationship, XYZ was also there. So I would say queerness is at the main of XYZ’s mission.”
Inspite of its simplicity, the name XYZ is really a intelligent wordplay on Meiyin’s precise title, which contains the Chinese character for “swallow,” a species of chirpy birds that have an crucial part in a lot of Asian cultures, Vietnamese bundled. “I genuinely like these birds,” Meiyin suggests. “In Chinese, you connect with them 小燕子 [xiaoyanzi, or tiểu yến tử in Vietnamese] so I took XYZ from Xiaoyanzi.” Younger Vietnamese may well also know the title Tiểu Yến Tử from the typical Chinese drama Hoàn Châu Cách Cách.
Large, daring, and attractive
XYZ’s design and style emphasizes massive and daring accessories that juxtapose class and eccentricity, providing quite a few of their products an overarching aesthetic of “just possessing entertaining.” At the moment, Khanh and Meiyin make mask chains, necklaces and earrings, the latter of which are among the most well-liked.
Most of XYZ’s earrings are dangles, usually made by attaching valuable stones to chains. They often include crystal beads and chips in metallic frames, wire-wrapped crystal quartz and other semi-treasured stones. From time to time, the pair will also use enjoyable little designs or miniature objects to embellish their creations with added cuteness.
“Meyin has a pair of soy sauce earrings, and sometimes we would have little small chili peppers, we just attach them to a chain and they’ll be dangly,” Khanh shares about some of their far more comedic products and solutions. Meanwhile, for the duration of Tết, Khanh also aided channel some festive air into their craft with iconic Tết colours like crimson and yellow to introduce a aspect of Vietnam to Seattle.
Their generation method is uncomplicated: lay out just about every piece of materials they have on hand and wait right up until a spark of inspiration hits. On rare situations, they will sketch out their design’s silhouette to see if it would search superior, “but most of the time, we just wing it,” Khanh points out.
When it will come to materials, the duo opts to supply ethically from other tiny companies all over the town or via web pages like Etsy, partly mainly because they do not want to rely on large firms, and also would relatively assist the neighborhood group. The semi-important stones used are also bought at Gem Faire — a market for gemstones and minerals that permits Khanh and Meiyin to assistance smaller corporations instantly.
Khanh and Meiyin 1st started marketing their wares on the net. Soon after a when, they resolved to grow their horizons by attending neighborhood pop-up marketplaces and sought the assist of VietQ — a grassroots firm that aims to assist LGBTQ+ Vietnamese residing in Seattle. “It’s a minimal neighborhood that has a pair of massive pop-up markets for queer and trans creators. So these marketplaces were being some of our first-at any time marketplaces,” Khanh reminisces.
It’s through these markets that Khanh gets the probability to meet Vietnamese prospects. Outdoors of VietQ’s sector, Vietnamese are unusual. Even so, the kinds they do come upon appear to be to share a identical taste: “For the Vietnamese buyers that we have witnessed, they usually go for dainty, less complicated layouts,” Khanh notes.
Even with a feeling of camaraderie between queer Seattle inhabitants, the pair proceeds to come upon cultural differences. For Khanh, the Vietnamese, queer, and queer Vietnamese communities are three circles that really don’t overlap typically.
“When you happen to be queer, you have a specified hardship, and when you are Vietnamese, you have a specified hardship, so when you’re both, it’s like a combo,” Khanh shares. “Queerness is so international to the Vietnamese group here [and] since our language is incredibly gendered, it is difficult to talk.”
XYZ aids navigate and even link the fragmented communities by means of friendships shaped. “We have this a person good friend that we have fulfilled as a result of VietQ’s current market,” Khanh suggests. “This person’s title is also Khanh and they constantly buy from us, and now we’re fantastic buddies. So it is neat to see that XYZ can build friendships that way.”
But not almost everything has gone easily for the pair. In addition to the occasional resourceful blocks that hinder their layout process, they also had a number of tumbles. “One time we geared up five deals, which provided tailor made orders and solutions that we previously created, completely ready to be transported out and we remaining them at the outgoing mailbox at our condominium. All five of them had been stolen. So now we constantly go to a UPS or post office for our mail,” Khanh recounts an regrettable incident.
Acquiring consolation in crystals
There is no widespread consensus on what the “queer aesthetic” is, as it differs between men and women and cultures. For me, it’s cuffed jeans and an virtually too much total of accessories. For Khanh and Meiyin, it is “goth manner, ‘witchy’ vogue, and massive, fun matters, even things like bones.” This description undoubtedly suits quite a few of XYZ’s products and solutions.
Crystals seem to be to be another standard component of queer culture and, by proxy, queer manner. Khanh and I agree that queer folks, almost irrespective of nationality, appear fond of crystals. A sizable subset of the queer communities around the globe are truly into hobbies and aesthetics that are deemed “mystical,” but not way too overtly religious, like tarot cards, witchcraft, and healing crystals.
When I talk to Khanh if they can check out their hand at detailing this odd link in between queerness and mysticism. Khanh shares a personal interpretation that resonates with me.
“Part of queer society is spirituality,” Khanh suggests. It is a thing that they recognized not just in Seattle, but in other cultures as effectively. “A large amount of queer persons are into remaining Wiccan, which is getting witches and religious. Because vogue is such a huge thing in how folks convey them selves, they get started to include spirituality into their fashion…which is why when we bundle our [crystal and gemstone] goods, at times we contain the stones’ healing houses mainly because it’s something that I, Meiyin and our consumers are interested in.”
The way ahead
Khanh is nonetheless in the center of ending their grad faculty degree, so Meiyin is temporarily doing a ton of the perform for the organization, which usually means that XYZ’s presence in marketplaces is inconsistent. “Because I’m a whole-time pupil, and Meiyin has to do the job [at her other job], we haven’t been ready to [do sales at markets] every single 7 days, but we’ve been capable to do it every single month,” Khanh claims.
After they are finished with grad university, Khanh hopes that they’ll be capable to shell out extra time doing work with Meiyin on XYZ. Each of them want to be equipped to extend into other types of goods, these types of as bracelets and entire body paint, as properly as being able to donate to charities again, significantly kinds that are Asian and queer-centered — anything that they did in the previous, but have place on hold due to some setbacks pertaining to schedules and finances.
“We offer what we make, as a substitute of producing what sells” is a philosophy that lets Khanh and Meiyin to get pleasure from them selves in this line of perform. They had permitted buyers to structure their possess goods but dropped that solution “because we experience like we should have the innovative liberty to make whatever we want to produce. So yeah, we would just make anything that evokes us and people would see that it truly is resourceful, they will be normally drawn to it and acquire it,” they say.