Today, Toronto-based jewellery brand Vitaly launches their spring collection 2021, entitled G3N3S1S. The experimental design studio that was established in 2011, celebrates the increasing prominence of robotics, artificial intelligence and yet, never forgets about manufacturing processes. We took the opportunity to talk to Creative Director Zack Vitiello about G3N3S1S, genderless jewellery and the commonalities of architecture and accessoires:
Hi Zack! In three words, how would you sum up your spring 2021 collection, entitled G3N3S1S?
Industrial. Robotic. WTF.
The collection’s aesthetic reminds me strongly of Berlin. What was the inspiration, was there a specific vibe in mind?
In everything we do, we’re always trying to marry our industrial design approach with an aesthetic that ties back to club culture, so I can definitely see why you would think of Berlin when looking at the pieces! These days, our moodboard is a mix of engineering drawings for advanced robotics, schematics from spaceships and screengrabs of evil villains from classic sci-fi films. We designed this collection in the dark days of winter and the pandemic, but when it came time to shoot the accompanying editorial, spring was here and the vaccine was rolling out, so all of a sudden there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We wanted the collection and the editorial to be reminiscent of the dystopian nature of the world today, but also have a sense of playful, optimistic energy.
Vitaly has turned to designing primary with stainless steel, how did it come to that?
Stainless steel is the perfect metal for making jewellery. It’s incredibly strong, doesn’t rust, doesn’t tarnish, doesn’t turn your skin green, is hypoallergenic…the list goes on and on. But what we like most about steel is that it’s the most recycled material on the planet. We use 100% recycled steel in our pieces, and we like to think that each Vitaly piece may contain leftover steel from bridges or car parts or skyscrapers. When designing jewellery, we are always thinking about how the pieces relate to the industrial process used to create the steel itself. This approach ends up having a massive influence on our experimental design practice and ultimately shapes the pieces that we release.
Why is it so important to design genderless jewellery?
We believe that all jewellery and fashion can, and should, be inclusive. We want our pieces to be a tool for self-expression, so no matter how you identify, our pieces should make you feel strong and empowered. Our Riot chain is a huge, chunky piece of steel, and it’s like a form of body armour. No matter who you are, when you put it on, it’s going to make you feel stronger because the design and the metal itself are so powerful. We want to offer that same sense of empowerment to everyone.
You’re referring to yourself as accessory architects. What do accessories and architecture have in common?
Because of our industrial design approach, we are always thinking about structure, line and form, so the process feels almost architectural in that way. Whereas many jewellery designers use a very delicate approach to assemble their pieces, we think of Vitaly jewellery as objects that have been ‘constructed’ through the industrial process of casting steel. We have also looked to architects like Zaha Hadid for inspiration throughout our brand’s history—that appreciation for structural forms and beautiful lines has made a huge impression on our own work over the years.
The collection is available exclusively on www.vitalydesign.com from Thursday, April 15th.
Interview by Antonia Schmidt.
Image Courtesy Vitaly/Steph Verschuren.