Chris Habana is the designer of the homonym New York based jewelry brand Chrishabana, since 2008. His pieces have been featured in publications such as Vogue, V, W, i-D Magazine, Dazed & Confused and has been worn by celebrities such as Rihanna, Madonna, Lady Gaga, FKA Twigs and Kylie Jenner. It’s pretty clear why: you can totally tell they are special and unique. Voluminous and imposing or small and elegant, these jewels are really eclectic and polyhedral. The designer doesn’t impose limits to his creativity and inspiration, coming out with outstanding collections every season. For S/S 2017 he will also style the accessories for designers like Adam Selman, Chromat, Zana Bayne and Gypsy Sport.
Hi Chris. Your jewell shapes are really interesting and unusual, it seems like you are taking inspiration from different sources and you mix it beautifully. Where is this coming from?
Chrishabana mainly takes influence from punk, goth, and tribal cultures. From there I work to seamlessly meld those varying ideas and refine the final product to become something more sophisticated. Conversely, with My Enemy line I take conventional, established jewelry concepts and twist them inside out to become something fun, rebellious and new. 
You are self taught and your first piece was created in your 20s in San Francisco. Which materials were you playing with at that time?
My earliest pieces were made using a mash up of whatever I could find. I combined found objects such as vintage lace, recycled fur, safety pins and even plastic cake decorations with sequins and hand painted leather.
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I’ve seen the beautiful collaboration you have done with Gentle Monster. How was the experience in the eyewear’s world for you? Would you like to design some more collections in the future?
To be honest, while working with Gentle Monster I did not really see the collaboration as specifically an eyewear project. Instead I viewed it as first and foremost designing an object, then taking into consideration whatever limitations usually come with sunglasses. It was a wonderful experience mainly because the people at Gentle Monster were open minded and listened to all the ideas I had. The total freedom they gave me as a creative allowed us to give a fresh viewpoint, I think. 
How would you like your customers to feel when they wear your pieces?
Well, I always say that my jewelry is designed for the person who wants to stand out. In a city that has become plagued over time with homogenous people and ideas, my customer is the progressive individual who refuses to be a sheep. They are already confident and harness that rebellious energy in their daily life. They question the status quo, and fight for their values, which is so important in the Trump hell we are in at the moment.
"People are experimenting more and more, and becoming more open to other ideals of beauty and style”
And what is your favorite piece or collection to wear yourself? 
I could never choose a favorite collection as I’m so proud of all the things we’ve created thus far. That said, I do happen to load my ear up with the Bandit Triple Ring Conch Cuff, the Tribe Double Pearl Ear Cuff, and the Spear Ear Cuff pretty often. It’s become like a uniform for me.
During the design process, how do you deal with the topic of gender? Is your jewelry unisex?
I tend to approach the topic of gender with jewelry the same way I do with people: it doesn’t matter. I create jewelry in a way that feels right to me and whether males or females or anyone in between takes a liking to them is totally an afterthought. All pieces are considered unisex. It is only because of the market that we have had to delineate our collections in our line sheets. Thankfully the market is changing towards a more progressive stance on gender. Let’s hope it stays that way. 
What future projects do you have on the horizon?
I’m very excited about an upcoming exhibition with Lumine 0 and HP France in Japan called New York, New Work, in Tokyo. The project will showcase our newest work as well as the work of a host of other edgy New York labels. Apart from that, Chrishabana is expanding into other mediums, one in particular being packaging design and as always we are slated for more collaborations with brands we love.
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