Blingin’ It: Hatton Labs Is Breathing New Life Into Men’s Jewellery

Welcome to Blingin’ It, our new online series where we spotlight the innovators and change-makers of the jewellery world. Each month, we will speak to a different brand carving out their place in a fluid, flamboyant industry, free from the shackles of outdated gender boundaries. Staking your claim in a land full of diamonds is no easy feat, but these labels are ushering in a new gem era.

The men’s jewellery boom has proven a startling success for London-based label Hatton Labs. Founded out of Hatton Gardens by long term pals Jack Cannon and Joe Gelb in 2017, the pairing trumped the zeitgeist by creating an attainable jewellery brand that creates not only necklaces, but bracelets, rings and earrings, as well as pearls, for guys.

Cannon, who got right into jewels all thanks to his father, who bought and sold watches, launched the brand with Gelb after the latter returned to London after a five-year stint in LA where he helped launch Casablanca. With both surrounded by peers working in London’s booming streetwear scene at the time, the twosome saw a gap in the market as he began making grills for people in his inner circle.

“At the time I was working for a major fashion store, and it dawned on me that there wasn’t much around as far as contemporary silver,” says Cannon. “I knew what these kids wanted: they wanted something shinier, they wanted something shorter, more stylised.” From a business perspective, the lack of competition proved favourable. “There are so many people doing the same thing, trying to reach the same dream, fight the same fight, but jewellery just weirdly seems very unsaturated,” adds Gelb, “it was a clear playing field.”

Stocked at the likes of Browns Fashion, Selfridges and SSENSE, as well as the brand’s own e-commerce platform, the brand’s tennis bracelets, Cuban chains and pearly standouts have each been donned by the likes of Slowthai and Kai-Isaiah Jamal, along with a legion of shoppers drawn to the understated elegance of the brand’s creations. These include collaborations with Sailor Jerry and Playboy, with a slew of new designer link-ups set to arrive in the coming months. We sit down with the founders to discuss their brand journey so far.

On navigating the Gen Z market 

Cannon: “When I set up to make [Hatton Labs] originally, I only ever wanted it to please the people around me and the environment I was in, and when I realised it was something that could really mean something to people, I wanted to be the contemporary H.Samuel, I wanted it to be the first place a person could come along and buy their first chain or first bracelet, and when you are at that age and you are buying you first pieces, it really really speaks to you. With everything we do, we want it to be approachable, we want it to be attainable.”

On working together 

Gelb: “Jack is very good at putting teams together. He originally started the brand about a year and a half before I joined. Jack is very well connected, and was looking for a bit more business support and experience to help take the brand to the next level. I saw the opportunity and Jack saw the opportunity to essentially bring somebody in to help the strategy, so it made sense to both parties really.”

Cannon: “Joe is the only person I know who does what he does. I was always impressed by what he did. When he was coming back to London and visiting me more from America, we tapped in and yeah he’s the first person I went to. When I saw friends around me that work in music and doing that sort of stuff they were taking about managers, I thought I need a manager. What I really needed was a partner. Joe’s vision and Joe’s allows me to be in places and be in conversations that I wouldn’t think I would be in.”

On London’s creative scene 

Cannon: “I’m still 100 per cent driven by London. I’m still inspired and wanting to do more, and there’s never a day that I’m not inspired by new artists – whether that’s music, or even these days it could be restaurants. I’m now at a position where I’m inspiring people. I really can’t tell them anything else but you’ve just got to work all the bad jobs and all of the running around and all of the working for no money. You’ve got to do all of that. Just by being in London and being in this environment, you’ve got a head up on absolutely anyone else in the world.”

On designing with pearls

Cannon: “Essentially, when I was in Hatton Garden, I came across the strength of pearls. I know I’ve seen them in the peripheral, like in Alexander McQueen [collections], but I’ve never seen them in a men’s jewellery. I took a friend down there one day, he was interested wearing some, so I made some for me and some for him. As soon as I put them on, it just made sense. After that it just snowballed, and everyone wanted them. We like to say we are the pearliest from earliest. The thing is I still wear them today. If I’m going out, I’m gonna dress up, they make a statement. The only other statement jewellery is diamonds. You can have a simple chain on and that’s not gonna turn too many heads, but if you have a pearl chain, even still to this day, people still look at you.”

On collaborating with Playboy

Gelb: “We didn’t just want take the logo and stick it on the ring. We wanted to bring something new to the table. Very weirdly, Playboy haven’t really done much in jewellery. There was a very big and obvious opportunity to do something with demi-fine or fine jewellery, to work with diamonds, emeralds, semi-gold rings. Back in the 1940s ’50s, even in the ’60s, there was elite Playboy style. We tapped into those earlier days of Playboy, we wanted [the collaboration] to be desirable.”

On the future of men’s jewellery 

Cannon: “I think people are going to start growing into what they are comfortable with. People will work out pearls are my thing, or tennis chains are my thing, or just be simple gold or silver. A long time ago people didn’t want to have silver because they were like ‘Oh it’s not gold I don’t want to wear it’. People are now a lot more comfortable, like ‘Yo this is my silver chain!’.

On what’s next for the brand

Gelb: “There are so many opportunities still to break fashion norms, boundaries, seeking into these new categories. Like for us, maybe to do a collaboration with a really cool footwear brand. What would a jewellery collaboration with a footwear brand look like? What would a jewellery collaboration with an outerwear brand look like? We are doing four or five clothing brand collaboration this year. Outside of that, there are endless things that can be done with jewellery that hasn’t been done to its best potential.”

Photography courtesy of Hatton Labs.


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