The fashion industry’s long-held commitment to rigid gender lines is finally
loosening. On the one hand, you have established houses such as Gucci and Saint Laurent combining their men’s and womenswear shows into one, and on the other, emerging labels such as Bode and Telfar are quite simply catering to everyone. But nobody else in fashion has been erasing these gender lines quite as much as certain jewelry brands have. Of course, unisex jewelry is nothing new, but take a look at music, pop culture, and fashion right now, and you’ll see an explosion of both A-list men dripping in jewels and the brands that are working to underscore this idea: Jewelry is not just for girls.
It’s always a good time to celebrate the crumbling of archaic boundaries, but with Pride Month wrapping up soon, we wanted to shed light on the names that are making gender-free jewelry a thing. Ahead, get to know three unisex jewelry brands—
Missoma, Pattaraphan, and ARSN the Label—whose cool designs are superseding identity, and, of course, shop our favorite pieces from their lines.
WHO: Marisa Hordern. WHAT: Founder & Creative Director, Missoma. What are some of your signature pieces? Designed to wear on repeat, our Missoma Icons are the jewelry wardrobe staples you’ll keep going back to from our best-selling Axiom Chain, which can be worn alone, with a pendant, made longer by joining with our Axiom bracelet, or styled as a lariat. Its versatility has truly solidified the Axiom as an Icon in Missoma’s layering lineup, as demonstrated by Gigi Hadid when she didn’t take it off for almost three months. More recently, pearls have become our everyday go-to with iconic pieces that reimagine our favorite ocean-inspired gems for everyone. Are there any best sellers from the Fused collection so far? There’s a reason our Harris Reed In Good Hands Necklace has sold out five times over—meaning matters. This iconic style from our collaboration with the gender-fluid fashion designer—who’s dressed everyone from Harry Styles to Beyoncé—represents our acceptance of others and ourselves. An icon of Georgian jewelry, clasped hands were used to represent friendship and love. With our hands, we can link together and raise each other up high. Wearing the necklace is a symbol of self-love and expression. As we celebrate reemergence after the pandemic, we are drawn to pieces that speak to connection, identity, and something bigger than ourselves.
What prompted the launch of Missoma’s first gender-fluid collection? The rules of jewelry have been undone. Now, you can mix gold with silver however you like, anyone can wear pearls, and maximalist styling is back in a big way. We don’t believe in a line between traditional “female” and “male” jewelry. Instead, we create unique pieces anyone can wear or share. How do you think that theme of gender fluidity comes through in the designs? It’s all in the details, whether it’s our unisex chunky mixed-metals collection like Fused, gemstone signet rings like our iconic Lucy Williams malachite design that can be worn by anyone, or creating longer chains for universal comfort. Wear our jewelry solo to stand out or layer and stack it any way you want to with any (or all) of your other pieces.
WHO: Nok Pattaraphan Salirathavibhaga. WHAT: Founder and Creative Director of Pattaraphan. What does the name Pattaraphan mean? In Thai, my first name translates to “beautiful skin.” I never liked my name growing up. But since I started pursuing jewelry in college, the name is very fitting to my philosophy of jewelry. I believe that jewelry should feel authentic to the maker and the wearer. It should feel good on your skin, look good when you wear it, and not just be a pretty object on display. I realized how my first name was really how I perceive my relationship with jewelry. So my first name became the name of my brand, and I was able to give it a new perspective that is truly meaningful to me rather than being something that was given to me at birth. I love this part of my brand so much. Why is gender fluidity important to you and your brand? Jewelry really was introduced to me as personal wearable sculptures. No gender. Just a meaningful expression from the maker. We made one-of-a-kind pieces by hand from start to finish. Whatever we made in class, everyone perceived it as a piece of art. Ultimately, I wasn’t taught to see jewelry through a gendered lens. So this idea that jewelry should be personal to the maker but it could be special to someone else wearing it continues in my work today and gender fluidity has been at the core of what I create.
How do you think that theme of gender fluidity comes through in the designs? Inclusivity is foundational to our brand, and we approach each design with this idea in mind. In my work, I talk about love loss, societal pressure, Thai culture, etc. I believe that people really look for honest vulnerability in what they choose to wear now. And although the inspirations stem from my personal stories, we pay a tremendous amount of attention to the way we communicate these messages and how we craft each piece, translating our highly personal concepts into versatile designs that many people can connect with. What makes them inherently unisex? The Lovers Chain Necklace, for instance, was designed during a heartbreak just for me. It still adorns my neck every day, but I often see it on my sister, her boyfriend, and a range of other clients with different personalities and styles. Of course, there are some designs that more men gravitate toward and others that more women gravitate toward, but I believe that our concepts, authenticity, and versatility really allow a broader audience to appreciate our jewelry.
WHO: Shay Ericksen and Kaila Rhubright. WHAT: Founders of ARSN the Label . How would you describe the brand ethos for those not familiar? “To everything that has burned me, thank you for setting me free” will always be at the core of our brand. Our goal is to inspire, connect, and empower our consumers when wearing our pieces. ARSN was created off of a storyline of getting over your toxic exes and rising from those dark places. It’s an empowered feeling to be bold and raw and be able to speak our truths through the brand. Each piece tells a narrative about each of our previous relationships, and we really wanted to connect with our customers by telling a story both through our branding, as well as our pieces. What are some of your best-selling pieces so far? Our best sellers are by far our timepiece link pieces. These include our Your Rolex Doesn’t Impress Me rings, Champagne Problems earrings, and Playing Pretend bracelets. In addition, our He Loves Me, She Loves Me Knot necklaces have been a core and best-selling piece going back to the inception of ARSN.
Why is gender fluidity important to you and your brand? Gender fluidity played a huge role in the foundation of ARSN. Being a queer couple with two very different styles, it was always hard for me to find jewelry brands that I felt seen by and had the type of pieces that I was looking for. I typically wear more bold/edgy silver pieces, whereas Shay typically leans more on the gold/feminine side. It felt like in the current jewelry space, most household name brands were only catering to the latter. It was really important that no matter where someone fell on the spectrum, they would be able to find an ARSN piece that fit their style. It was equally as important to create a cohesive brand that meshed the two styles in a natural way so that one could intertwine and mix and match the two styles. How do you hope to empower the queer community through ARSN? We hope to empower the LGBTQ+ community by giving them a brand that they can connect with and relate to on multiple levels. We incorporated he, she, and they pronouns throughout our piece names to not only reflect our past relationships but to break those barriers set within the industry and let people know they should never be afraid of being raw and authentically themselves. When founding ARSN, we had so many people try to “limit” what we were doing with the brand and piece names/storylines. We were told we may get backlash or deter customers—but to us, it wasn’t about anything other than telling our most authentic story through the brand and giving those in the community a voice that hadn’t really been represented in the jewelry space by two queer women before.
Up next, these five Black designers aren’t just “up next”—they’ve fully arrived.