For reasons that are uninteresting yet strangely convoluted, I was able to attend some of the LCM shows in London this year. If you’re not sure what that is then just think fashion week, but for men…and it doesn’t last a week. Instead, shows are scattered over Friday-Sunday and every fashionista with a camera and a notebook runs from catwalk to shop to exhibition hall to try and see the newest men’s trends. It’s hectic, it can be snobby, but it’s pretty fun.
With men’s fashion there isn’t always a lot of variation. This year the trend seemed to be to have very well tailored clothes in very good material, made, at least partly, locally.
However, whilst I was wandering through one exhibit, grabbing business cards of various tables and trying to look as though fashion shows were the norm for me, I spotted some odd pieces laid out modestly in simple cardboard boxes.
At first glance I thought they were bike locks, but after reminding myself that I was at a men’s fashion exhibit and not a two wheeled enthusiasts convention (I’m sure such a thing must exist) I assumed they must be bracelets.
I was correct. Handcrafted, bold and unique men’s jewellery that made me come back twice to look at. The name of the company was Nilplug, and although I have no idea why it’s called that, I like the name.
The designer of Nilplug was kind enough to take one of the bracelets apart for me and show me how they were worn. Each piece is like a clock, and has small individual pieces that fit together securely to close around your wrist. After seeing most men’s bracelets as a simple gold or silver chain, or maybe a black leather strap, I was so excited to see something that was more outside the box. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes simple is better, but the idea of having a bracelet with a carefully sculpted metal cloud and streams of light to represent lightning just seemed a lot more interesting to me.
However jewellery wasn’t the only thing that Nilplug creates. Whilst looking over the collection I pointed to two rabbit shaped objects.
“Um, can I ask what those are?” I asked
“Well, those aren’t really anything.” he replied cryptically, and when I gave him a confused look that was still trying to be polite, he took them out for me to look at while he gave his explanation.
These little doodahs are called buddies, and my opinion of them is that they’re a butch version of friendship bracelets (not that friendship bracelets aren’t incredibly manly). If you have someone you’re close to, you give them a buddy, you keep the other one, and there’s a interesting, adorable, but still you know cough really manly symbol of your friendship.
I love them.
Nilplug pieces are made on commission, so any item that you have is going to be one of a kind and lovingly handmade. I think that when it comes to men’s jewellery there sometimes isn’t a lot of care put into the pieces. It’s seen as excessive and maybe a little too feminine, but I think that a good ring, bracelet or necklace can really help define an outfit and your style, regardless of gender.
I’m personally glad to see that there’s a company that takes men’s jewellery seriously and doesn’t try to simplify it.
So if you’re a dude out there, be bold, wear bracelets that look like bike locks, and give your best friend a bunny shaped buddy token.