In a transformative creative landscape, unexpected collaborations pave the way for a new approach to craftsmanship. A recent crossover between jewellers In Gold We Trust and tech brand NUDIENT composed by The Forumist exemplifies this ongoing paradigm shift.
Ever since digitalisation and one-click consumption entered the field of play, brands have been forced to rethink. Besides catering to an overwhelming demand, it has become acutely necessary to evaluate brand identity to stand out in a sea of competition. The fashion industry is already under an intense gaze due to its overarching lack of sustainability measures. But if we zoom in on the current landscape and try to identify micro-level actions with the potential to switch up the landscape, we can see that there is a strong candidate in crossover collaboration.
With collaborations, you see less of the each-to-their-own industry mindset and more of unexpected matchmaking. What stands out to me are the blurred boundaries in how interior establishments collaborate with fashion designers, progressive design studios team up with niche scent makers, and – to highlight one in particular – the unexpected link up between an emerging accessory brand and a well-established tech institution.
The collaboration is clear. You get two everyday tech gadgets in an elevated costume. A minimalist phone case and matching AirPods case, both functional pieces yet with an embellished, high-end feel. Although perceived as small gadgets, they carry an immense impact, steering two distinct brands into unexplored territory. In this case, the unexpected match is what initiated the romance in the first place.
For In Gold We Trust, the upcoming Paris-based progressive jewellers, the collaboration directs them towards a new market. Their aesthetic is raw, frequently offering perspective-altering takes on traditional crafting. Swedish tech-brand NUDIENT has the established platform yet wants to break out of the strictly functional sphere and instead reside within fashion. What intrigues me is not only the collaboration in itself, but the motives behind it.
In order to fully grasp In Gold We Trust, we need to break down the brand. Unlike most contemporary jewellers, In Gold We Trust has no previous expertise within the jewellery field. Architect Héloïse Chiron acutely felt the need to break away from the regular, nine-to-five life. Craftsman tailor Louis Mariede Bridiers shared the same need, volunteering to provide artistic direction to this new, unknown project. “We perceive jewellery as a means rather than an end. It’s a medium of expression, of which we have no experience,” Chiron says. “Self-taught in jewellery, we don’t know any codes, so here are no intellectual barriers in the way of our creative process.”
Curious to hear how they manage to remain true to their creative direction in a collaborative setting, without being too influenced by outside factors, Chiron shares: “We like to play with the direct and indirect meaning of objects and materials. This collaboration actually makes sense to us, since our latest collection addressed artificial intelligence,” she says. “Here, we have just asked ourselves what mobile phones actually represent to us. Being constantly connected, eyes riveted on the screen, it is clear that we are linked or almost chained to our phones.”
Héloïse Chiron sees each collaboration, although choosing them with care, as ideal ways to express yourself in a new context. Although vocal about creative and economical benefits of collaborations, she accentuates the complexity, “It’s not just a simple image association to boost sales. A collaboration must be balanced and encourage experimentation. Ultimately, this is the meeting of two distinct universes that give birth to a new vision, new idea, and new objects.”
On the other side of the coin, shaped by an ambition to rethink the meaning of functional design, we meet NUDIENT. Founded in 2016 by three entrepreneurs, their foremost vision was to create a unisex fashion tech brand characterised two words – minimal and urban. Co-founder Pontus Krusing explains: “With roots in Sweden, it became natural to acknowledge the minimalist design that has been paramount within Scandinavian design since the 1950s. We also wanted to highlight progressive and contemporary street-urban design that has influenced the narrative for the past years.”
Intrigued by the partnership between minimalist Scandinavian and blossoming Mediterranean, I ask Krusing to provide his take. To him, NUDIENT’s already existing focus on innovative production methods, sustainability and high-quality materials is essential. The combination has already challenged traditional fashion manufacturing paradigms on several occasions. “NUDIENT is a brand that takes functional design to a new level. The collaboration with In Gold We Trust shows common grounds in functionality, technicality but also curiosity to new things. I think it confirms our vision to move phone accessories into the room of fashion, where they belong.”
When asked about his thoughts on the emerging wave of crossover collaboration, with craftsmanship spearheading creativity rather than strict marketing, Krusing answers. “It’s important to keep the fundamentals of each brand and create common ground where it’s possible. In a world where people expect you to be adaptive and fast changing to new trends, collaborations are a great way to get influences from other emerging brands, sometimes in other product categories.”
It is precisely this kind of process of mixing up different kinds of knowledge and experience that can reveal how businesses can evolve into the future. It takes creativity and imagination to come up with these fresh and unexpected links, and once followed through in collaborations like the one between NUDIENT and In Gold We Trust, new journeys of discovery spark further creativity in a free-ranging exploration of the landscape that we thought we knew, changing it forever with a liberated spirit of entrepreneurship.
1) Carabiner & Cuban chains bold case, bandeau stylist’s own, trousers by Miko Maya, eyewear by Alice Gruvander
2) Pearl & ball chain bold case, jacket by Christiana Hadjipapa, shorts by Stand Studio, boots by Maya Sundholm
3) Pearl & ball chain bold case, bra and skirt by FROLOV
4) Screw link on Cuban chain bold AirPods case top, bralette and skirt by MARAN
5) Carabiner & Cuban chains bold case, top and leggings by FROLOV
6) Pearl & ball chain bold case, jacket and shorts by Samuel Westerberg, leggings stylist’s own.
7) Carabiner & Cuban chains bold case, dress by FROLOV
8) Dress by Maya Sundholm, top by MARAN, mules by Alice Svensson B, tights by Pop Stockholm