The latest jewelry trend is chic summer camp

welcome to Note, The Goods Design Trends Column. Do you know that thing you’ve seen everywhere? Let us explain it.

What is that: Personalized bead accessories, the famous summer camp relics, have been resurrected to remind us that multicolored and distant necklaces and bracelets can still make us feel cool in a post-pandemic summer. Handmade DIY bead jewelry is making a comeback, providing a source of artistic expression and fashion with oblong shapes covered in shine. While modern pieces are still campy, they’ve been rebranded as maximalist statements for those looking to accessorize while reminiscing about their childhoods.

Where is it: Any pearl jewelry you’ve seen on your social media feeds is most likely handmade by an individual artist. Accounts like @beepybella started selling bespoke handmade jewelry in their early forties and have since racked up over 38,000 followers. Her pearls have been worn by such figures as Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa and Ella Emhoff. Instagram isn’t the only place pearl artists like to sell their jewelry. Etsy, Depop, and other popular DIY sites where jewelry artists can sell direct to their customers are also full of pearls.

Why you see it everywhere: Fashion tends to adhere to the 20-year rule: what is popular today will be popular again in 20 years.

The rise of the DIY subculture in the 1970s paved the way for collectible beaded, woven, and must-have jewelry that was fashionable in American summer camps. Tube socks, primary color clothing, and friendship bracelets captured the humid and warm American summer aesthetic that made a resurgence in the ’90s. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s meant showing off your bead accessories on the first day of school. It was a way of remembering the past summers and capturing the feelings of nostalgia that pervaded the reveries of the class. Beads hung from our necks, wrists and ankles as constant reminders of fun times with friends. These custom bead accessories have been rebranded as nostalgic statements – a sort of escape from the hellish landscape of Covid – while also being a popular way to support small businesses and express gender fluidity.

As we enter a new decade, 20 years ago we were witnessing popular 2000 pop culture. From escape music videos to big iMacs, we were obsessed with surreal worlds using what was then new technology.

In the early 2000s, we were on the alert. Fears of the year 2000 scared Americans, and we mourned the attacks of September 11, only to be faced with war in the Middle East. Likewise, in 2020 we faced new challenges – this time it was a pandemic, another economic recession, and several civil rights movements that prompted us to seek a frivolous escape.

Enter pearl necklaces. It’s an accessory that captures the vaporwave of the 90s and the glam of the 2000s to help us face the new decade. If you visit Isabella Lalonde’s @beepybella account, you step into her world of weird shapes, mushrooms, flowers and mismatched colors. Although Lalonde’s aesthetic is personal and achieved through the prism of fine art, she uses blurry filters, fantastic imagery, and digital art to show off her pearl necklaces to her followers.

“Maybe it reminds many of the kind of charming imaginations they had when they were younger. I know for myself that this kind of world-building fantasy art form acted as a coping mechanism while I was growing up, ”says Lalonde.

If you’re a ’90s kid, you’ve probably turned to the internet to escape the realities of growing up. The first internet images of late 1990s web design, glitch art, cartoons and 3D rendered objects have a nostalgic feel of vapor waves reminiscent of childhood innocence. Remembering the early days of the internet and going to summer camp combines a feeling very similar to the “cottagecore” aesthetic, using images of “vintage maximalism” rooted in nostalgia for the 90s and 2000s. However, cottagecore is not just a visual aesthetic. The New York Times describes it as an all-inclusive budding movement. While complex, the trend appears to be a reaction to increasing screen time and criticism of capitalism. The world of cottagecore is sustainability-centric, community-driven and anti-big business.

“Even in our research, we find that small brands bring a lot of novelty and that they cater to huge markets like millennials and millennials,” says Ana Correa, editor-in-chief of footwear and accessories at WGSN.

Correa says young buyers are looking for nostalgic inspiration. Popular hashtags like #vintagefits dominate Instagram and TikTok as young users share their thrift shopping in thrift stores. Gen Z are also investing in fashion pieces that have remained relevant for years, with a sharp increase in the number of consumers between the ages of 12 and 24 buying more jewelry year over year.

“This major change sparked interest in fashion jewelry with a playful and childish aesthetic, because it mixes high-low materials. Mood boosting designs have also had an upward trend to counterbalance the stress we experienced in the world during the lockdown period. The bright colors and nostalgic patterns were key in conveying that feeling, ”Correa said.

Slow design is extremely important for Lalonde. Not only does she find it fundamentally more sustainable, but it’s also a beautiful process.

“Buying jewelry from a small brand completely changes your perception of consumerism. It’s in the details, ”explains Lalonde. “For example, I spend hours and hours designing the perfect unboxing experience that is not only unique and exciting, but also sustainable in that every material I source is recyclable, compostable or biodegradable,” says it. “As a designer, one of the most important tasks I give myself is to find objects that are neglected in our society and to make them desirable. It’s pure magic to me.

Kate Van Petten, a 27-year-old freelance musician, knows the importance of supporting small artists because their livelihood depends on it. Van Petten only buys jewelry from small, sustainable brands to help the next generation of designers and protect our environmental future. “When you buy small brands, you are voting with your dollar. You are giving a freelance artist the chance to chart the course of their creative future. You fit into their story and wear it every day, ”they said.

Another jewelry designer, Presley Oldham, has also managed to sell his handmade jewelry since the start of the pandemic. A one-man operation, Oldham does its best to ensure that all of its materials are consciously and locally sourced or recycled into thrift stores.

Like Lalonde, Oldham also launched his line on Instagram and sells from a small eponymous site. His brand is less cottagecore, but still nostalgic – puka shells and all.

“There is definitely a deep sense of nostalgia that emanates from every piece I create. I’m still inspired by the memories and obsessions of the past that I had as a young gay growing up in Texas. This latest collection was kind of my take on Abercrombie’s black and white ’90s dream boat ads, and was definitely influenced by the experience of going to this store as a teenager, ”he says. he. “I wore weird stones and leaves tied with strings as necklaces since I was a child, and I was also a boy of puka shell necklace and gift shops.”

What stands out the most about Oldham’s Instagram posts are his models. Many of those who wear her pearl necklaces are men. Oldham’s customers are “deliciously diverse” and its clientele may even be more masculine.

The fluidity of the genre and demanding beauty standards have made their way into the mainstream content we consume, from Gen Z-centric shows like Euphoria and the Gossip Girl restart, fashionable without gender on the catwalks. Genderless fashion interestingly coincides with the powerful LGBTQ movements of each generation. The 60s and 70s saw the androgynous “elegant space-age” with the gay liberation movement, as womenswear designers like Pierre Cardin turned to menswear. The 90s saw the grunge androgynous age as the AIDS epidemic swept through the United States, and the early 2000s saw the struggle for same-sex marriage as the term “metrosexual man” became a term. fashionable.

“Personally, I don’t think about genre when creating a collection,” says Oldham. “My pieces are intended for anyone who wants to wear them. If you like it and want to wear it, just wear it. That being said, there are certainly many trends in pearl and pearl jewelry that are sweeping men’s fashion right now. I would love for it to move beyond the trending stage and just become something that people wear and don’t question.

As for the future of pearl necklaces, the biggest brands seem to be gaining ground, with UK-based Missoma launching its “Summer Dreaming” collection and Forever 21 selling colorful pearl necklaces for under $ 10. As this maximalist craze for pearl wearing flares up, it has to be attributed to designers like Lalonde and Oldham who are pushing the boundaries of what’s in fashion.

On Gen Z-dominated TikTok, creators share DIY bead tutorials. “As consumers have found themselves with more time and need a creative outlet, DIY items and kits have gained traction during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Activities such as tie-dyeing, crochet and knitting have become all the rage, especially in the youth market. DIY kits allow the user to create a unique piece and learn a new craft, ”explains Correa.

“Honestly, I have no idea why this trend has become so popular so quickly. It shocked me, that’s for sure. I still remember the first time I placed one of my handmade glass mushroom beads on a necklace. I really thought it would be too drastic for some people, ”said Lalonde. “I was wondering if any of my followers would be loath to wear a mushroom necklace, which is hilarious, because that’s all I see on my Explore page now.”

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