Recently, I have started making cufflinks. I had wanted for a while now to try making jewellery for men. I did not expect to stumble upon the very type of obstacle I hate most, which made me question my design choices a lot more than usual.
This notion, as sexist and moronic as it is, is everywhere. Real men don’t wear accessories, they are not interested in fashion, and if they do there must be something wrong with them. I will not rant too long on this matter because there is so much to say and I don’t feel qualified enough for it. But there is something furiously unhealthy in our society.
When you look up “jewellery for men” on the internet, you get very simple things made with leather, metal, chain. The designs have lots of angles and straight lines, dark colours, wide seams or links, rough looks.
It would seem the 21st century man is supposed to be a suit-clad caveman with everything about him very large and very sturdy (there was so much potential for a joke about size and/or hardness here, be thankful I’m a classy person).
So here I come, all about round shapes and lively colours, ready to conquer the manly market. I would love to make things in leather but it’s not something one can improvise; I have too much to learn before starting and now is not the time. Metal is coming, but slowly. This was not looking very promising…
After a time of reflexion, the first easy-to-make accessories I decided to try were cufflinks. I liked this idea because I could keep using the materials I enjoy: metal and gemstones.
But cufflinks are either old school or a joke: as far as I know, nowadays, people only buy it for occasions such as weddings or to make a silly gift. I guess it says a lot about how masculinity in fashion has changed over time. Accessories for men, I find, are very limited, just like styles of clothes. Professional wear? Nothing much there except suits. Formal event? Suits again, or maybe a tuxedo if it is really formal.
For women, on any day and any occasion, tons of options are available! Who said that men don’t like diversity in their clothing and women do? Why is it considered effeminate for a man to like jewellery? And why would something ‘effeminate’ on a man be such a bad thing anyway?
We are all influenced by the buttloads of images and sounds we receive daily, that spread all the dumbest clichés. I look at what I make and keep wondering: ‘Is it too girly?’. And then I get pissed off at myself for falling into that trap again.
I have yet to find the delicate balance needed to try to make things that get out of those stupid constraints while also trying to sell them. It is not easy to reconcile your deepest convictions with… well, marketing.
In the end, I still finished my cufflinks. I made them in my own style and I’m happy with them. I am not one to be discouraged by ideas I despise, however prevalent they may be.
Does this look girly to you? I don’t know anymore. I have decided to stop caring.
I have been trying new styles recently. I’m actually not very interested in fashion on a daily basis. By ‘not very’, I mean the whole thing makes me roll my eyes and sometimes vomit. But that’s a story for another time.
When it comes to the products I sell, I just make whatever I like, which is obviously not the best marketing strategy. Luckily, I can rely on my coworker L., who loves accessories and lets me know what is fashionable these days (please don’t make me say ‘trendy’).
I might make a tutorial for this type of origami garland soon. They are super easy to make.
In the meantime, have a nice week-end!
A new shipment of Berber beads has arrived! It comes straight from Marrakesh. The beads are traditional Berber work made by local artisans. In my experience, they are quite difficult to find either online or in Paris.
Luckily, I have my very own distribution channel: as I have mentioned before, I know a girl.
I can’t wait to make new pieces of jewellery with those!
Whatever I make is likely to be quite successful, too; whenever I post one on my shop, it sells within a few weeks. I guess it shows Moroccan crafts needs more attention.
I fear the day I will go to Marrakesh myself. I can’t be held responsible for what I might buy when I step foot in that bead shop.
— Advertising digression, as a thank-you to my dear distribution channel —
If you fancy getting a feel of Morocco without travelling too far, try spending a night or two in Kerity’s Riad! It is a nice Bed and Breakfast with lovely owners, traditional hammam and argan oil massages, tasty moroccan food made with local products and comfortable rooms… on Brittany’s seashore.
By complete coincidence, some of my jewellery is also for sale there!
There is still 15% my shop until Valentine’s day with the code VALENTINE17 ! Enjoy!
Christmas is still quite far away but, as a seller, we have to be ready very early: some people, unlike me, do get on with christmas shopping early. It is the busiest season of the year, so my shop must be fully stocked.
It’s also an excellent excuse for this ‘sparkly things’ crisis I’ve been going through lately!
Some new ideas sketched…
…which lead to these:
All those beautiful bronze beads were bought for me by a friend during a trip to India.
I keep scratching my head trying to come up with new ideas to photograph my items and feature them in shop updates. I know I put way too much effort in this, but it keeps things interesting.
I found out I really like jewellery set on their ink and paper version.
Turquoise on a silver platter.
Hematite goes on an adventure.
I like my jewellery to be well-read.
Earrings in the wild.