This week we joined Mariana Bastos, the creator of Lost My Julz at her home and studio in Lisbon. Lost My Julz can be defined as a pandemic project that blossomed into a small business bursting with character and leading with queer values.
Kintu Studio: Thank you for having me to your home and studio, you are Lisbon born and raised right?
Mariana: Yes, I was born in this house, well a hospital but I came to this house straight after. There was my mom, dad and my older brother - there’s three years between us. My brother just moved to Austria actually, he has new job, house and one year old child. I’ll miss him a lot.
Kintu Studio: Of course you work for Kintu so we know each other. How did you start working at Kintu?
Mariana: Yes, I’m part of the Kintu Family. I was following Kintu for a while and was hoping to sell my pieces there, an opportunity came to join the team part-time so I collaborated with my jewellery brand also. So I nailed both, it’s a good partnership!
Kintu Studio: Your brand is called Lost My Julz, what does the name mean to you?
Mariana: So before I made my own jewellery, I was always losing my jewellery, it was like a personality trait you know. But now that I make my own jewellery, I don’t lose any pieces anymore because I value them even more now. I think it’s a pretty catchy name too. It’s been going for a year and half now. It started in quarantine and it’s gradually grown since.
Kintu Studio: Do you think you can describe Lost My Julz in one word?
Mariana: Genderless for sure. That’s how view myself, fashion, jewellery, everything really. To me, gender roles are stupid. They shouldn’t exist you know, especially with jewellery, how can you sell pieces that are for men or women?
Kintu Studio: How did you come up with the idea to start your own jewellery brand?
Mariana: It just started as a hobby during quaratine, I had a lot of free time on my hands so I started making some pieces for myself and my dog Olivia. I’ll show you them they were so goofy but so fun.
I started to order some more serious jewels and it took off from there.
Kintu Studio: Your background is in graphic design right?
Mariana: Yes I studied it, and I’ve done it since I was young. But it turned out that it wasn’t for me. It’s not what I was expecting creatively. It’s not particularly well paid and its super competitive. So, now I’ve lost all my passion for it - I just do it for myself and some small clients but not for an agency or anything.
Kintu Studio: I was told you were a model before for Vogue, when was this?
Mariana: Before the Covid pandemic I was more into the fashion scene in Lisbon, one job took me to another one. It was just a phase in my life. Now I guess I’m more camera shy and enjoy working behind the scenes creatively. It was fun for sure, nothing serious.
Kintu Studio: You clearly have a passion for fashion though!
Mariana: Yes for sure and it translates to my work, it inspires me. I see what is trending right now, from this I make really edgy pieces which are sometimes hard to sell but are inspired my fashion sense. From a young age I was dressing differently, breaking down gender roles when I was a kid without even realising it. I had the perfect parents in that regard because they let me wear whatever I wanted to express myself. They never made me question myself. That’s what shaped me into the person that I am today and being comfortable in my own skin. Lots of people don’t have that luck.
Kintu Studio: Were your parents creative?
Mariana: Yeah they are artists. My parents had a silk printing business back in the nineties, back when you could pay rent with art. Now my mother is a kindergarten teacher specialising in art with kids. My father used to teach in António Arroio, a well known school in Lisbon for arts. He used to teach silk printing there. That’s where I went. He was my teacher there, so he really inspired me. We grew up in a house full of art, music and liberty of expression - it was so nice.
Kintu Studio: You speak very openly about being queer, can you tell me what does that mean to you?
Mariana: That’s a hard question, you’re born this way so you have no other choice but to feel comfortable in your own identity. When I was younger it was hard because I didn’t know any other queer people, it was just something that I heard about and saw on television. But as soon as I started getting older and made friends outside of people from school it got easier. You must find your people, your clan - the people you identify with. It took time to identify as a non-binary person also because back in the day, nobody knew what that meant. Even for me, non-binary was not part of my vocabulary. But now I belong in this queer community and I’m super vocal about it and I will translate this into my brand because its my own small business, its my personality, it reflects everything that I am.
Kintu Studio: Thank you so much Mariana, it was a pleasure.
Mariana: Thank you!