Jameel Mohammed’s Cinderella moment arrived in the nick of time.
In 2018 the designer had achieved a modicum of success with his distinctive jewelry, which pays homage to the African diaspora. The fledgling line, called Khiry, had been picked up by Barneys New York, but Mr. Mohammed was not making enough to survive in New York City, or in the industry.
“I felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill,” Mr. Mohammed, 26, said in a recent interview from his studio in Brooklyn.
So he was on a Greyhound bus — with a ticket supplied by his parents, and “knowing I had to get a job as a waiter when I got back to Chicago” — when he got an email. Michelle Obama’s stylist was interested in Khiry pieces for the former first lady to wear during her “Becoming” book tour.
Meredith Koop, the stylist, wrote to explain why she bought the Isha Rose Quartz Hoops with a matching ring for Mrs. Obama. Ms. Koop said she had been struck by Mr. Mohammed’s “immense creativity and character.”