Santangelo, the New Jewellery Brand Inspired by Surfing and Ambient House

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Santangelo Spring/Summer 2021Photography by Romain Duquesne

Anna Santangelo takes inspiration from the surfing culture she grew up around, incorporating natural materials such as semi-precious stones, shells, pearls, and glass beads

  1. Who is it? Santangelo is a jewellery brand based in New York
  2. Why do I want it? Every piece of jewellery is made by hand using natural materials. It is inspired by the founder Anna Santangelo’s love of surfing and ambient house music subculture
  3. Where can I find it? Online on the Santangelo Website and Net-A-Porter, and in-store at Joan, London; Maryam Nassir Zadeh, New York; La Garconne, New York; No. 6 Store, New York; Galerie Vie and Super A Market (both part of the Tomorrowland Group in Tokyo)

Who is it? Anna Santangelo was born in California, relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family when she was 15. Today, she lives between Berlin and New York, where she founded her namesake jewellery label Santangelo, which takes its inspiration from the surfing culture she grew up around. “I’m deeply connected to the ocean,” she tells AnOther. “When I was young my dad would be bodysurfing the Wedge at Newport Beach; my uncle was one of the original team members at Quicksilver. I was always head to toe in Roxy, as well.”

The brand, which has been up and running for two years now, was brought to life entirely by accident. Santangelo, whose background is in styling, was encouraged by fellow stylist Celestine Cooney to create the jewellery for the S/S19 Preen by Thornton Bregazzi show. “I was really chucked in the deep end,” she says, laughing. “I brought a bunch of materials with me to London and airport security ended up confiscating all my pliers and tools.” This resulted in Santangelo having to quickly improvise, making all the jewellery by hand on the floor of her Airbnb, creating over 100 pieces just in time for the fitting.

Luckily, the work she produced for the Preen show was a success, and encouraged Santangelo to pursue jewellery making on more of a full-time basis. Her work soon caught the attention of Maryam Nassir Zadeh, whose store became the brand’s first stockist. “She has a great eye and is amazing at supporting new talent and new designers,” says Santangelo. “I have put out about three or four collections so far. It’s new and very much finding its feet and its way, which has been a lot of fun,” she continues. “I never figured I would find myself in this position, but here I am!”

Why do I want it? Everything produced by Santangelo is hand-made to order from entirely natural materials – including semi-precious stones, shells, pearls and glass beads – which forms delicate and colourful necklaces, earrings, bracelets and anklets. “It’s relatively simple in its design,” says Santangelo. “It brought me back to feeling young again and making things with your hands – it’s aesthetic very much comes back to my childhood near the ocean and there are some quite literal references to that.”

However, Santangelo’s styling background ensures that her moodboard is rich with a breadth of references, and her work is often comprehensively researched before the making process begins. She is particularly fascinated by the subculture surrounding ambient and acid house music, which is rooted in the 1980s and 1990s.

Santangelo’s latest collection for S/S21 is called Come Back Fat as a Rat, taking its name from a phrase repeated by an evangelical salesman on the KLF’s Chill Out album, released in 1990. “I discovered it early this year – I had never heard anything like it, a pastoral, sample-heavy ambient album, with sounds from Elvis, Tuvan throat singers, and Fleetwood Mac.” Santangelo has also named a necklace in the collection after a 1996 mix album titled Northern Exposure by acid house duo Sasha & John Digweed.

“We’re in a space and time where so many things are being created and I was really conflicted about taking up more of that space,” continues Santangelo, discussing how her brand operates. “I really wanted to think about how people connect to art, or jewellery, or clothes and give it a bit more depth.” The founder also notes that she prefers to shop for vintage, second-hand and repurposed pieces for her own wardrobe, to establish a personal relationship with what she wears and find a unique aesthetic. “I’ve had some great feedback from people so far saying they feel connected to Santangelo – which to me proves that there’s so much power in visual communication.”

Santangelo also sells woven blankets, made in collaboration with photographer Danielle Alprin, and the label has tentative plans to expand into homeware and furniture. “I feel like I have ten different pots on the stove at the moment,” she says. “There are a lot of things in the works. What I want primarily for Santangelo is for it to be a space where I can continue to collaborate. I’m excited for the future.”

Where can I find it? Online on the Santangelo Website and Net-A-Porter, and in-store at Joan, London; Maryam Nassir Zadeh, New York; La Garconne, New York; No. 6 Store, New York; Galerie Vie and Super A Market (both part of the Tomorrowland Group in Tokyo).