The jewelry industry is two worlds, which do not intersect in any way. The first is jewelry houses with history, known for their contracts with Hollywood divas, unique exhibitions (both dedicated to a particular brand and collective ones - like “high jewelry exhibitions” held twice a year) and items with rare stones or incredibly skillful cutting. The second is local small companies, young designers and new names. They are the ones who react more quickly to fashionable trends or create them; they are of the greatest interest today. But if in the West it is difficult not to notice the emergence of a wave of new brands relying on pretentious and subcultural jewelry, then in Russia for several years now minimalism has been reigning, which will not go anywhere in the near future. We understand how the attitude towards rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets in Russia and the world is changing.
Thick chains, Yin and Yang badges, an image of an alien head, fluff, rhinestones - young progressive brands use all elements of a wide variety of subcultures: from R'n'B, whose global return is taking place here and now, to punk. The new generation of jewelry designers are also voting to blur gender lines - and in a pretty demonstrative way.
Take Ambush, a Japanese label created by rap artist Verbal and his wife Yoon. Their fans include Kanye West and K-pop stars like CL and G-Dragon, and their portfolio includes only very serious collaborations - with Sacai, Louis Vuitton and Undercover. Ambush is aiming at global expansion, and publications like Dazed do their best to help. At the same time, the concept of the brand is jewelry for everyone: “Asian men prefer an experimental style, they are not afraid to look pampered, because ideals about masculinity do not press on them so much; so they are ready to 'play' with the decorations,”says Yoon in an interview. It seems that the West is also ready to experiment with jewelry - their products easily fit into the alternative French magazine Masses, and into the flagship of the “new masculinity” Fantastic Man. The summer collection can be somewhat reminiscent of the Vivienne Westwood archives, redesigned in a new way: complex chains for the whole body, brass knuckles, chokers and earrings in the form of ordinary locks, massive bracelets and key pendants.
And if Ambush is already a small empire (in addition to jewelry, the brand also makes clothes), then the Korean designer Marisa Jivi Sok and the founder of the Jiwinaia brand, who lives in Milan, is just beginning her journey - but loudly. Vogue is already writing about it and it is being sold by VFiles. Faux diamond chokers are inspired by hip-hop singers from the 90s, while chunky earrings and enamel necklaces are inspired by vintage cartoons. Both are extremely difficult to miss in the crowd. It's the same with Annelise Michelson, whose heavy bracelets, razor chokers, and scalloped rings are a favorite of pop stars like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. You can buy these at several major online stores like Farfetch.
About the self-taught jeweler We have already written about Tongtai, the founder of the brand from Bangkok. Her playful jewelry, with lots of faux crystals, pearls and non-standard materials like fur, catchy, on the verge of bad taste, is very impressive. But the fate of such jewelry in Russia, unfortunately, is to live up to the last discounts in Kuznetsky Most 20. And this is understandable if you look back at our tradition of treating jewelry either as expensive, “outdated” and “adult” accessories, or as an ethnic “body kit”, or as a consumer goods from the transition.
That is why the new generation of Russian shoppers gravitates towards elegant or harsh minimalism in the spirit of COS: if you wear bracelets and rings every day, then it is desirable to wear “basic”, delicate and neutral, without the aforementioned connotations.The style of the "dashing 2000s" has gone over us too strongly: many admit that they still remember this time and the trend towards "expensive-rich" with shudder or contempt. Along with the leopard print, velor tracksuits, caps, corsets and low-waisted jeans and other attributes of the “beautiful life”, the love for massive pendants, artificial huge diamonds, noticeable crosses and colored plastic has gone.
All this is being sold now, but it is considered a sign of bad taste: it is not easy to find interesting samples, it is even more difficult to beat them, so it is much more comfortable not to take risks. Uncertainty in our styling skills, together with the aggression of society, dictating the desire to be invisible, make us either completely abandon jewelry, or wear something laconic, simple, which does not cause unnecessary questions and sidelong glances.
Another explanation lies, let's go directly, in the price. Buying large, intricate jewelery made from semi-precious metals seems unreasonable - as a result, the segment of expressive jewelery costing “above average” is the most difficult to sell. Thought: "How can you pay so much for ordinary jewelry, without stones and gold?" - natural for a world where a "status" ring or brooch is perceived as an investment. So instead of one expensive piece of jewelry that cannot be sold “if anything,” buyers tend to choose a lot of cheaper ones.
Just a few years ago, small brands of “local” jewelry began to appear in Russia, and then the Moscow store “Sakharok” was launched, bringing together several notable young jewelers in one place. Add to this the boom in Instagram trading - a platform on which it has become so easy to beautifully present small, laconic earrings and rings. The most worthy survived, more and more new ones began to join them.
The heroes of today are Himère, anna.m.objects, Bluebox, Anima, Natalia Bryantseva, 48, anotheronejewellery. And all of them are unique, interesting in their own way; we have already written about many of them or included their things in the shooting. It's nice to see that the best ones are still afloat and thrive: local designers always have to face a lot of difficulties, as each New Brand hero says. But, perhaps, jewelry designers and jewelry designers who have chosen a minimalistic direction are amazingly lucky. They really were in the right place at the right time. This is a big wave and it is not going to subside. On the contrary, the number of fans of these brands on the same Instagram is growing every day.
Of course, the laconic design and simple jewelry are not exclusively Russian specifics - this is a big global trend, which has and will have its loyal followers. But in parallel with it, a new one arises - a fashion for pretentious jewelry, visible from afar. All these newcomers like Annelise Michelson are just the beginning, but this wave has not yet reached Russia. And it's not that our “minimalist direction” designers have taken over the market. There is plenty of room for choice and alternatives, it’s a pity that it doesn’t exist yet. It remains to wait for those who will mature - from the side of both supply and demand.
Photos: Jiwinaia, Ambush, anotheronejewellery