Designer Chris Habana brings gothic iconography to the forefront of jewelry trends. His edgy collection features signature cross, spike, and triangle charms that are eye-catching and head-turning. With a childhood reveling in fantasy and sci-fi and a young adult life dabbling in 90’s gay counter-culture, the designer was able to let the two worlds clash to create his bold line. Features in publications from V Magazine, Vogue Italia and Nylon to The New York Times have gained Habana recognition as a daring designer with more great things to come.
CHRIS: Hey Chris! A lot of your jewelry references different symbols (crosses, eyes, thorns, bones etc.) What is the power behind that symbolism? What do these symbols mean to you?
CHRIS: I grew up in a catholic house so crosses have been ingrained in my psyche since childhood. Crosses have so many different meanings to different people. Generally though the connotation is something somber and serious. I like to look at them as a design form and challenge their normal variations by twisting them around, linking them end-on-end or dangling them upside down. The same is true for other symbols such as bones, eyes and thorns. They are all dark in nature but beautiful in form. I like to take them out of context and make it something you wouldn’t think of.
SARAH: All your jewelry is unisex, it looks awesome on both women and men because it achieves a balance of toughness and sexiness, how do you manage to navigate that territory? Managing to include both genders?
CHRIS: People often ask “who do you like to see wearing the line” and the answer is usually some riff on, “Boys, girls and everyone in between.” I’ve always been really into androgyny. I don’t bother to specify pieces for different sexes. I design the collection and encourage everyone to wear it.
SARAH: A lot of your pieces evoke a certain sexuality (i.e. the lovelace ring, thorns), can you speak about the sexual persona of your jewelry? Their boldness?
CHRIS: I love to push the envelope when it comes to sexual taboos in the same way I like to fuck with religious imagery. I always want to create something unexpected and subversive no matter what the subject. Sex in particular though is something we all do and as much as it’s out there on tv there’s still so much that happens behind closed doors that people are afraid of. I dedicated FW11 to merging fetish with fashion for the creation of the “WierdNKinky” collection. I wanted to just put everything in your face and I was surprised by the unexpected response. People seemed ready for it. It was really cool.
SARAH: Do you have any major cinematic or artistic influences that seem to reoccur with your designs?
CHRIS: I draw most of my inspiration from street style but themes from Doom Generation and Paris is Burning always have a presence in the collections.
SARAH: Who is your greatest inspiration?
CHRIS: JESUS, Duh.
SARAH: Your line is so contemporary, so involved with our current culture, what are your guiltiest culture indulgences?
CHRIS: Well I already said Jesus, but I also like Tyra and Weed.
SARAH: What are your style no-nos? What celebrity would you love to make over?
CHRIS: I think anything goes. I’m not into making people over. I am all about people expressing themselves however they are comfortable.
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