NEVER TAKE ME OFF: HAKUTAKU BY JAMES DEUTSHER

We’re back. The Voxfrockers are back, Dear Reader, firing on all cylinders after a month-and-some of post-Paris playtime. Yuzuha Oka is our first writer off the voxrank; a report from the launch of a fresh and evocative jewellery line in Melbourne. Check back this week for updates from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia including exclusive backstage and riser reports from our newest shooter, Carla Iurato

BUT FOR NOW, COME WITH YUZUHA AS SHE MEETS JAMES AND HIS BEAUTIFUL BANDS…..

The new Hakutaku collection titled IterationO.1, launched this week at Shifting Worlds, an ecclectic, luxury boutique on Melbourne’s Elizabeth Street reached by a narrow staircase scented, this night, by the spicy green perfume of sandalwood and amber incense. Away from the din and bustle of the city, the store is a modern haven of warm incandescent light.

Smooth silicone bracelets in pastel blue, smoky grey, beige and black with silver and gold amulets, rest on a low table. Hakutaku is the name of these silicone ion bands designed by US born Melbourne artist James Deutsher. His brand recently launched at Shanghai Fashion Week and is currently available only online and at Shifting Worlds. The bands are designed for “Constant wearability”.  “So, you don’t have to take it off even in the shower?” A lady asks James, examining one band. The answer is, “No.”

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He says the idea emerged from a gift by a Japanese friend. “I was given a negative ion band,” James says. “After three months, I realised it was the only thing I hadn’t taken off once.”

Negative ion has long been a buzzterm in Japan. Although it’s not scientifically proven, people believe a healing effect is emitted from minerals such as Germanium and Tourmaline. People wear them in the form of necklaces and bracelets which are often sold in pharmacies.

 “Just the idea of something that I wear in the shower, when I am hiking in the mountains, or to the office, was very compelling,” James says. “I wanted to make something with this wearability, but (also with) an elevated design sensibility.”

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 He blends Germanium and Tourmaline powders into silicone, casts the slim, soft-coloured Hakutaku bands, then adds solid metal amulets. He says he deliberately didn’t want to plate the amulets with metal; “It could tarnish, wear down, or expose materials underneath.” The price of using solid metals is justified by the beautiful result, integral to what James describes as the bands’, “extended journey with its owner”. A band with sterling silver amulet for example, is $75, yellow gold $470 and rose gold $480.

 “Even my favourite watches I still take off at night, but I haven’t taken my bands off for six months since I had a prototype,” he laughs. The bands fit a more fluid context, he believes, than either fine or costume jewellery. “It’s not hierarchical; there’s no rule about where you can wear it and where you can’t.”

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Guests at his launch said the bands evoked nostalgia. “It’s like charm bracelets we used to wear all the time when we were kids,” says one and’ “I always wear a hair tie on my wrist, so I picture myself wearing this bracelet like that,” comments another.

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Hakutaku is available online at www.hakutaku.co and in-store at Shifting Worlds. People can customise theirs by choosing the colour of bands, and the design and material of their amulets.

Yuzuha Oka, intern@voxfrock.com.au