In early October, The New York Times published an article titled “The End of Gender,” in which two fashion critics, Vanessa Friedman and Guy Trebay, debated one of the biggest trends of the spring 2022 fashion shows: “The fact that many designers put both women and men on their runways in what once would have been termed ‘women’s wear’—not so much as provocation but simply as a matter of fact.”
“This wasn’t gender fluidity or gender neutrality or dual gender—all hybrids that have been thrown around to refer to shows that combine men’s and women’s collections, say, or feature clothes that are sort of generic and not really identifiable by the traditional categories of gendered dressing,” Friedman wrote. “This was something new. Like…gender agnosticism. So we’d see classically ‘girlie’ clothes in bright colors, soft fabrics and lots of decoration, only they were worn by guys.”
The jewelry industry might not be ready to eliminate gender from its merchandising—yet—but the growing number of collections that appeal to all genders is a sign that the conversation about blurring gender boundaries and new all-inclusive standards is gaining traction in the trade.
Below, we profile three new collections designed not for men or women, but for both—as well as all the nonbinary folks in between.
Teras Collection by KIL N.Y.C.
Konstantinos I. Leoussis, the founder and designer of KIL N.Y.C., a 3-year-old brand of silver and gold unisex jewels designed and manufactured in New York City, was recovering from COVID-19 when he designed the Chimaera cuff, the first piece of his new Teras collection of jewels inspired by Greek mythology.
“I call it my pandemic project,” Leoussis tells JCK. “I suffered from post-COVID syndrome. I was barely eating and was so weak. Working on carvings gave me a reason to get out of bed.”
The resulting collection of hand-carved cuffs, medallions, rings, and pendants evokes the creatures of ancient Greek and Roman mythology, including the Minotaur, part man and part bull; Argus, god of surveillance, whose body was covered in eyes to help him watch and protect those around him; and two monster-like beings, Medusa, a Gorgon whose hair consisted of poisonous snakes, and the Chimera, the fire-breathing creature with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent.
“Having grown up in a Greek family, I’m very into the classics,” says Leoussis. “I wanted to challenge myself with the designs.”
Every piece in the collection is intended to be worn by men and women. “Jewelry is meant to adorn everybody,” Leoussis says. “Ancient Greek men wore more jewelry than women. I try to keep that in mind when I’m designing.”
Collection 3 by Veert
In November 2020, New York–based marketing and branding consultant Julia Lang introduced Veert, a new lifestyle label unconstrained by gender. “Veert breaks with the traditional expectations of men’s and women’s categories to create products outside of traditional gendered stereotypes or aesthetics,” according to the company’s website.
In early October, the brand, which also sells fragrances, unveiled its third line of jewels, called Collection 3, a range of seven pieces rendered in green enamel and set in either gold vermeil or solid 18k gold. The line includes square and rounded signet rings, three pendants (featuring a heart, a flower, and a 333 for numerology lovers), and two necklaces: a green onyx and malachite freshwater pearl collar style and a green onyx and freshwater pearl rosary—all retailing between $280 and $2,350.
OK, OK, the new Matilde Men’s collection from U.K.-based Matilde Jewellery is, in fact, described as a “men’s collection.” But one look at the classic, diamond-set styles in the range—which includes rings, necklaces, earrings, cuffs, and bracelets—and it’s clear that the pieces are bound to appeal to women too. Set in recycled 14k gold and accented with lab-grown diamonds, the collection is subtly masculine in its design, which is to say it’s minimal, geometric, and everyday wearable.
Top: Arrows of Hercules pendant in silver, $150; KIL N.Y.C. (photo by Little Wolf Collective)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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