“If you’re putting too much time into [creating], then you’re kind of missing out on what’s actually going on,” said conceptual filmmaker, performance artist, and designer Jennifer Elster from the confines of her studio, The Development. “I create because that’s how I live my life. I’ve never not created, because that’s also how I deal with tragedy. Even though I’m very happy, I’m still traumatized over what’s going on with politics. So, of course I’m going to express that, but at the same time, I also know that it’s good to be really [socially] active right now.”
The Development, where Elster works and holds “happenings,” is filled with art (including photographs of her styling collaboration with David Bowie, and mementos from a film she made with Yoko Ono), and her J. Elster line of leather accessories, which launched in 2016 with a pop-up store co-hosted by Helena Christensen and Reserved Magazine.
“It is really for empowering women and being obsessed with perfection,” she said of the line. In a time when most people are hyper-attuned to socio-political imbalances, Elster’s collection speaks to the (sadly) radical notion that women are strong. The series of leather goods, which includes a variety of pouches, neck and wrist pieces, masks, and an oversized ruffle, are sleek, though the edges are left raw. The only adornment is her signature.