By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography by Madison Ham
Models: Kaitlin Brazil, Aaron Rogers
Javan Andrew has a sense of adventure. And when he lost his favorite accessory, he discovered a new path.
Andrew, 24, is the owner and namesake of J. Andrew, which started with a men’s jewelry line in 2015 being made in Wichita and has expanded into unisex jewelry, upscale bandannas and bags made of vintage fabrics. His product lines are now found in nearly 20 different men’s specialty stores and other boutiques, primarily on the Coasts, as well as being sold online on the company’s website and through trunk shows and select artisan shows here in Wichita and regionally.
He started the jewelry line when he lost his favorite bracelet made of Tibetan agate stones and couldn’t find a suitable, similar quality replacement. He ended up making his own. Almost all of his bracelets and necklaces – which tend to be named for various countries and U.S. cities he’s visited and Wichita locales – are made of semi-precious, natural stones strung on stretch floss for better durability.
His travels, both in the U.S. and abroad, have given him an appreciation for things with a sense of place and character, he said, like the World War II-era drop cloth fabric that he repurposes with local artisan and home design studio Liv+Work into accessory bags, the Japanese cotton and linen fabric that he uses for his line of bandannas or the semi-precious stones he uses in the jewelry.
“I like things that the more you wear them, the better they look.”
Online descriptions for products named for places detail the significance of their names, like the Tabor necklace made of Tibetan agate that’s named for Mount Tabor near Portland, Oregon, one of Andrew’s favorite U.S. cities, and the Eaton wrap bracelet made of turquoise that’s named for the former Eaton Hotel in Wichita.
Andrew’s retail storefront in Wichita has been located in the Eaton, inside Liv+Work at 515 E. Douglas, but he recently acquired studio space at 520 S. Commerce to design and create all of his in-house product lines – the jewelry, bags and bandannas. Public visits will be by appointment only.
He also sells fedoras, an accessory he loves to wear himself, as well as other men’s products such as colognes and flasks.
The day after Andrew graduated from high school in his hometown of El Dorado, Kansas, he set off for a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand. When he returned, he started working for a longtime Wichita menswear store, Johnston’s Clothier, where he eventually became the men’s accessory buyer. In June, he left that position to focus his efforts exclusively on J. Andrew.
His experience at Johnston’s was invaluable, he said, as he gleaned knowledge about the retail and fashion industry, price points and the value of networking with other buyers and industry reps at the biannual Liberty Fairs men’s fashion events in New York City and Las Vegas. His mother, Robin, continues to work at Johnston’s and has been an inspiration and motivation for him.
Andrew credits his mom with the idea for his wrap bracelet – he even named it for her – and with coming up with the idea for the free Movie in the Alley community event that J. Andrew and Liv+Work hosted the last Saturday of the month from May through October this year in Gallery Alley, an outdoor pop-up art gallery at 616 E. Douglas.