In the wake of Hatton Labs’ collaboration with Sailor Jerry, we meet the founders of the emerging brand building the bridge between traditional and trend-based jewellery
- Who is it? Hatton Labs is an emerging jewellery brand based in Hatton Garden, London’s historic jewellery district
- What is it? Crafted from gold and silver, the label’s jewellery takes inspiration from London’s rich subcultural history
- Where can I find it? On Hatton Labs’ website or at Browns Fashion, End., Farfetch, Lane Crawford, Selfridges, and Ssense.
Who is it? It’s fair to say that the past few years have seen a revolution in men’s jewellery. Traditionally of course men would wear wedding rings, and signet rings if you belonged to a certain social class, but now those conventions have fallen away. Men are wearing not only rings, but earrings, necklaces and bracelets too – and not just gold and silver, but precious stones and even pearls. This could be due to the rise of men’s fashion weeks and, by proxy, men’s street style in the 2010s, or to the work of specific designers such as Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, who has ushered in an era of fluid, flamboyant maximalism. Or it could be due to wider cultural phenomena, like our ever-more-liberal attitudes towards gender and sexuality, and the ongoing popularity of hip-hop, whose stars have always favoured jewellery or ‘bling’. Or, most likely, it’s probably an amalgamation of all of the above.
The rise of men’s jewellery has brought with it a number of new jewellery brands, such as Hatton Labs, which is based in the heart of Hatton Garden in London. The label was founded by friends Jack Cannon and Joe Gelb who weren’t blind to this trend. “I think people are simply becoming more comfortable to be more expressive,” Gelb tells AnOther. “Styles are becoming far more genderfluid and widely accepted. The fewer restrictions we have as to what is visually ‘normal’, the more exciting things get creatively.”
Both born and raised in London, Cannon left school early and ended up working with his father who bought and sold watches on Roman Road in Hackney (“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” he jokes). Gelb meanwhile moved to Los Angeles for five years, after dropping out of The University of the Arts London. After returning to London, he and Cannon decided to come together to found Hatton Labs – and haven’t looked back since. “The fashion industry is oversaturated in so many categories,” says Gelb. “Jewellery is one of the few remaining that I believe could benefit from some great contemporary contributors.” “All my friends were making and selling clothes,” continues Cannon. “I wanted to be a part of the conversation but chose something that felt authentic to me.”
When it came to choosing a name, the pair wanted something that paid homage to London’s historic jewellery quarter, but still felt modern. “It’s your one-stop-shop for diamonds, watches and jewellery, and it’s where I started designing jewellery,” says Cannon. “I was also spending a lot of time in some friends’ design studios which they referred to as their lab – this reference has stuck with me ever since wanting to start a studio of my own.”
What is it? Cannon and Gelb craft their pieces out of gold and silver, incorporating white and coloured stones, in addition to pearls. Somewhere in between traditional and trend-based jewellery, their designs take inspiration from London’s rich subcultural history, as well as from Cannon and Gelb’s musicians, artists and their own friends. “It’s really a medley of Britishness and pop culture,” Gelb surmises. Their Autumn/Winter 2020 collection features an assortment of tennis bracelets, Cuban bracelets and chains, strings of pearls and pendants in the shape of padlocks and keys, or else set with brightly-coloured topazes.
The collection is flamboyant, but it’s also fun. It’s no wonder that much of it has already sold out – or indeed that the brand has found fans in the likes of musicians such as Dev Hynes, Slowthai, Masterpeace, and Bakar.
But it’s not all about well-dressed celebrity fans – sustainability is a priority for Cannon and Gelb; their pieces are produced and packaged as responsibly as possible. “In this day and age there are so many options for a company to be environmentally-friendly,” says Gelb. “No matter what industry you work in, it’s only a question of being lazy if we now don’t make the effort in finding positive solutions. Companies need to make it a permanent fixture to off-set their carbon footprint, especially when most of us are manufacturing abroad and are travelling more than your average person.”
This autumn, Hatton Labs have also collaborated with Sailor Jerry, creating a set of pendants that take inspiration from the drink brand’s namesake – the famed American tattoo artist. “Norman Collins (Sailor Jerry) was a huge pioneer in tattoo culture, we definitely admire this level of success and influence anyone achieves in their craft and industry,” says Gelb of the collaboration. “Initially we sifted through a lot of Norman’s archives and ended up with six designs that we chose to translate to 3D sculpture. We always liked the NikeID concept but for a jewellery pop-up, we decided to create a digital jewellery customisation studio that a select few friends and influencers could pick their design, chosen metal material and a semiprecious stone or colour for their jewellery piece. Keeping spaces to the digital studio extremely limited, we wanted to make sure that this project was a special souvenir to Norman and his work.”