Gender & Jewels Q&A: Vanessa Tugendhaft

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The Belgian jeweller on why men shopping for women ups unisex sales.

As part of our April issue we took a closer look at how gender shapes jewellery design and the rise of androgynous jewellery styles. Belgian jeweller Vanessa Tugendhaft, who recently launched a unisex collection, offers her viewpoint.

Professional Jeweller: Have androgynous or unisex influences shaped your jewellery designs?
Vanessa Tugendhaft: Actually I’m more of an androgynous women than very feminine. That’s the reason why when I started and launched a red thread [bracelet] with the diamond, I immediately thought about men and did it black with a black squared diamonds. Though, since then, I have only created very feminine jewels. And it’s only now that I’ve decided to launch a unisex, androgynous new line.

PJ: Do you specify who, whether men or women, should buy your collections?
VT: Yes I do. Except for the last collection.

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PJ: A number of fashion designers have moved to create more androgynous collections. Is your jewellery influenced by shapes or trends seen on the catwalk?
VT: To be honest, I’ve always created independently of the catwalks trends. What I love is to listen to the street, to women demand’s and my insight inspiration. My must-haves were not related to any kind of fashion. When I launched the red thread with the diamond nine years ago, I got inspired by the whole world (men and women) wearing this red lucky thread. I decided to add a diamond on it.

PJ: Which pieces in your collection do you believe have unisex or androgynous appeal?
VT: The thread line, called the Identity collection, with the black diamond or the new leather bracelets with little motifs in black diamonds.

PJ: What makes a piece of jewellery gender non-specific?
VT: Its timelessness and its classiness.

PJ: How do you market your jewellery to males and females at the same time?
VT: It’s quite easy because most of our clients are men shopping for women. Then, when they come to the boutique to buy a jewel for their girlfriend, they notice the men collection and can immediately appreciate or not.

PJ: What type of female shopper buys unisex jewellery?

VT: Girls who enjoy dressing in an androgynous style and rock and roll fashionistas.
 

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