[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t’s constantly evolving, ever-changing and without question, one of the most talked about topics regardless of where you may live. No we’re not talking climate change here, but rather an important part of fashion that rarely gets the attention it deserves — men’s accessories, and in particular — Jewelry. During the last decade, fashion has seen an outcry from style aficionados who prefer to showcase their personal taste not only with the clothing they wear, but also with small and subtle accessories that wouldn’t have seen the light of day during the mid-90’s. However, for the “average Joe”, it’s been somewhat of an up-hill battle, sneaking in a piece here and there trying desperately to avoid bouts of ridicule from either friend or foe.
Luckily times have changed, and more men are in fact, expressing there personal taste by wearing non-traditional accessories, including hand jewelry. Walter Crow, although a relatively young brand, is based out of New Zealand and is one of the very few making exceptional jewelry for guys. Their first collection of rings aptly titled ‘Initiation’, was designed in collaboration with tattooist Victor J. Webster, and draws inspiration from Russian prison tattoos. A researched exploration of the complex system of symbols that were tattooed within the early Russian prison system, each ring carries its own story and has been crafted using oxidized sterling silver and either black onyx or black diamonds. And while the story behind the inaugural collection lays a foundation, the simplicity and practicality of the jewels themselves speak to an underlying theme and deeper meaning of what men are willing to do to express who they are. To find out more, we chatted with Asher Walker to gain some insight.
Vouch: Who and what is Walter Crow, and how did it come into existence?
Asher: Walter Crow was dreamt up over beef schnitzel and a few too many beers. Between drinks a few friends and I drafted up the fable of Walter Crow, a restless drifter who traveled the world in search of his parents. Having already dipped our toes into commercial jewellery [highlight](workbyorbit)[/highlight], this was our chance to create an outlet for our creativity to run amok.
Vouch: Although you’re based in New Zealand, are there any outside influences from other parts of the world that inspire you?
Asher: As mentioned above our brand draws inspiration from an imaginary man’s travels around the world. The story goes that in search of his missing parents, Walter scoured the globe leaving only an illustrated journal of his journey. As this is the case we look globally to different cultures and trends as sources of inspiration.
Vouch: The first collection is called “Initiation”, what’s the meaning behind it and what role does it play throughout the collection itself?
Asher: We chose the name ‘Initiation’ as it was our first foray into the world of jewellery. The symbols in the range are based on the crude tattoos done in early Russian prisons as a form of ‘Initiation’ so this was also why we chose this name. I guess many people see tattooing in general, especially your first tattoo as some kind of rite of passage so this fits too.
Vouch: You also collaborated with tattooist Victor J Webster, what was it like working with him and how did the collaboration evolve?
Asher: Victor is one of my closest friends and it made sense when seeking out help in designing these rings to seek his help. Creatively, in my opinion he’s one of the best in the game and the work he is churning out is incredible. Working with him was super easy, we would meet up over coffee regularly to mash together our ideas and what you see is the result.
Vouch: There’s a strong cultural presence within the collection, tell us what those cultural aspects are?
Asher: The collection is a researched exploration of the complex system of symbols that were tattooed within the early Russian prison system. In the Walter Crow story, Walter was imprisoned in a Russian prison and worked as a tattooist’s apprentice so this is where that idea was based.
Vouch: At one point, aside from the traditional necklace or wedding ring, men’s Jewelry was in a sense considered taboo. What’s your take on that and why do you feel it’s important for guys to get over it?
Asher: I think I’m young enough to have grown up in a world where I’m lucky to have never felt wearing jewellery or a necklace was weird. Adorning the body with decoration has been done since the beginning of time so I see there to be no reason to feel strange about it.
Vouch: What’s next up for Walter Crow, what should we be looking forward to in future designs and collections?
Asher: As the ranges concept was based in a tough setting we felt it was important to keep a similar aesthetic running through the entire collection. At the moment we’ve got our heads down and are staying focused on growing the business. We’re busy at work on our second collection and have got some very exciting collaborations in the works – look out for our first venture into leather goods very soon.
Visit Walter Crow To Shop Initiation Here.