Under the Radar is Highsnobiety’s weekly celebration of upcoming talent. Each week, we’re spotlighting a brand that’s bringing something new to the worlds of streetwear and fashion.
Social shifts have provided Alan Crocetti’s eponymous jewelry house fertile ground in which to flourish. The Brazilian-born, London-based designer is erasing tired schemes of “men want this, women want that” in favor of pieces that encourage the wearer's freedom to wear what they like, taking pride in the liberation.
“I've wanted this from the beginning, not to differentiate between genders," Crocetti explains. "It's all about men wearing jewelry that maybe women would wear. It's so amazing how many guys are actually buying into the brand, what it represents, and not thinking that the pieces are feminine, masculine etc. These ideas come from a patriarchal point of view, which is dying pretty fast now. Happy times.”
It’s true that gendering your products doesn't really fit with modern views of what men and women want to wear. The explosion of men’s handbags in all shapes and sizes at Paris Fashion Week illustrated as much.
“When I was young, there was always a frustration because I liked jewelry, but it was my mother who had it, never my father's side. Nor would I really see men wearing jewelry,” Crocetti explains. “I never understood why women would wear it and not men, why there was a divide at all, because in my head it never really made much sense. Like, everyone has ears and fingers, you know?"
Crocetti's designs are eclectic but bound up in a language that feels cohesive, with a leaning toward darker, romantic impulses. There are rings that resemble a velociraptor’s claw with a jewel embedded in the base, realistic-looking silver rose stem earrings, puzzle rings that fit together, and silver spheres that clip on to the ear.
The designer's foray into jewelry started at renowned fashion school Central Saint Martins in London, but his path wasn't as straightforward as those who'd walked it before.
“Following people like [Alexander] McQueen and [John] Galliano, I applied for a BA in womenswear," he says. "When it came to my final collection, I chose to make everything, including the jewelry, and it went kind of bad because I was trying to do everything — accessories, the clothes — and I had problems with my student loan, so I was working full-time.
"In the end, I was a bit late for my final credits and they told me that I wouldn't be part of the internal show, but I could still get my degree. I told them that I didn't go there for a piece of paper and then I left.”
"It was more dramatic than it sounds, I cried," he admits. "But then, you know, the clothes, I still hadn't finished them, but the jewelry was finished." Crocetti and his friends had started wearing his creations, and it wasn't before long people were enquiring to use them for editorials. Within a year, Crocetti was invited to be part of London's Fashion East initiative — which has incubated design talents such as JW Anderson — and put on his first jewelry show.
Following his Fashion East debut, Crocetti’s first collection was picked up by Dover Street Market, followed by a recurring collaboration with Berlin-based label GmbH. Most recently, Crocetti's pieces were worn in Helmut Lang's FW19 show at New York Fashion Week.
The past decade has seen the codes of fashion and style shift dramatically, with outpourings of irony and the paradigm-shifting luxury streetwear trend. As one of the new players in the game, Crocetti’s designs speak to our want for something earnest, provocative and in touch with societal changes on the horizon. "Someone asked me once, 'What is it about jewelry that's so special?'" he says. "I thought it's more about the power it gives the person wearing it, the confidence it makes one have." Alan Crocetti is available at Selfridges, MACHINE-A and MATCHESFASHION in the UK, Antonioli and Luisa Via Roma in Italy, Opening Ceremony New York, Opening Ceremony LA and Celect in the United States, SSENSE, Nomad and 017 Shop in Canada, Addition Adelaide and GR8 in Japan and Shine, Joyce, and Onpedder in Hong Kong.