Increasingly, the world of jewelry is becoming less fussy, more accessible, and a lot younger. Over the past few years, top jewelers have begun tapping Generation Z favorites for campaigns – Cartier featured the likes of Maude Apatow, Emma Chamberlain and Austin Butler in a recent video on YouTube – hopes to appeal to millennial and Gen Z shoppers. At the same time, a slew of new indie designers are working to broaden definitions and concepts of luxury. They are branding online through carefree and playful designs that work well on social media. This is not your grandmother’s diamond.
Mark Sabino is emblematic of this ongoing change. Fresh graduate Pratt, 25, who lives in Manhattan, creates crafts that blend nostalgia, internet culture, and ingenious design and manufacture. Rihanna wears a Sabino bucket hat – featuring the New York Yankees emblem – in September 2020. Sabino’s work is pleasant. A minimalist silver necklace featuring an acorn pendant and a pink, acorn-inspired sapphire diamond filled the real-time Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons this fall. Sabino recently shared an ingenious imitation of Hello Kitty with her thousands of followers. The trio of red gems unmistakably form the signature Japanese bow. The joy is poured into his designs.
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“I think what I’m trying to do with jewelry is find a connection between modern accessibility and ‘vintage’ design,” Sabino told Vogue. He speaks clearly in millennial language and references – Supreme, Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Instagram – when discussing his influences. “It’s similar to what Supreme did [by] offering a store from a skate store,” he said. “I want people to have the same customized experience they would have in the Diamond District,” an area of Manhattan that is home to independent jewelers, “and feel achievable.”
Sabino is best known for his jewelry designs, but he also produces on-trend and equally innovative clothing and objects. So much so that last year, a stylist for Rihanna contacted Sabino and said the superstar wanted to buy a worn and torn bucket hat with the New York Yankees logo that Sabino had posted online. Not long after that, RiRi was photographed wearing this hat outside.
Sabino says 75% of his social media posts lead to commissions — typically $500 to $600 but can go up to $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the author’s complexity. Products. This Rihanna-supported and social media career comes as a bit of a surprise for someone who originally wanted to be a sneaker designer at Nike. Sabino really entered the world of jewelry design by accident. When he was 17, he contacted someone who worked at Nike’s headquarters, via LinkedIn, and asked the best route to get a job there. “They told me to study industrial design,” he said. He listened and applied to Pratt. While at Pratt, Sabino tried to sign up for the school’s only sneaker design course – but the class was full. So he went with his backup: designing jewelry.
A few years later, and now Sabino has become a style icon of our modern times – while running her apartment business. Maybe it’s a testament to his self-promotion. He has a knack for exploiting visual codes that play well on phone screens and get noticed. A necklace in the corner of the passport suggests a person who is not only stylish but also loves to travel. Another ad features a necklace box, teacup, and silk handkerchief (also created by Sabino). Objects serve as visual shortcuts to sophistication. And his dream of working with Nike came true: He partnered with the sportswear giant in a store.
Sabino prefers the direct approach to self-promotion: “I really like advertising, and I think it’s a good thing to say bluntly, ‘Hey, let’s be clear, I’m trying to sell you something,’ change the speed compared to how your clothes are washed. detergent understands that you have social anxiety. I try to treat my ads like any other medium of storytelling, where they can exist beyond their primary purpose and be enjoyed only for what they are. ” he says.