There is a conspicuous relationship between beauty and discomfort. For centuries, cultures worldwide have endured malaise to glorify body ornamentation. Challenging the role of jewellery as a beneficial or malevolent intrusive instrument, we explore the contemporary design restrictions and their justifications.


Hood By Air | Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015

With models draped in a combination of lucite collars around their neck and wrists, the contemporary collection from Hood By Air taps into the world of restrictive underground street wear. Head designer Shayne Oliver accessorised his models in a range of perspex shackles elevating his philosophy that every part of his collection represents an identity. (Dazed Digital, 2015)

Oliver’s desire to emphasise the essence of old-fashioned stockade with a futuristic update aspires from the various versatile identities he was surrounded by growing up, defining his character as;

“Me being a queen around a bunch of downtown skater boys.”

As the restrictive range of perspex shackles and leather suiting promote this unique aesthetic, the New York designer reveals his intentions evolve from the original meaning of streetwear. His logic that life within this subculture is all about protection. 

With the desire to enhance the comprehension of street style among consumers, Oliver paints an illusion of this lifestyle;

“Instead of it being extremely high and awkward and obtrusive, it’s a way to bring new ideas into the norm or the real. “ (Dazed, 2014).



Jennifer Crupi | Unguarded Gestures

Jennifer Crupi actively explores the boundaries of wearable art and how it links to the human body. Her Collection “Unguarded Gestures” , addresses the various manners of which humans communicate with each other using body language. The American designer, vigilantly handcrafted an assortment of mechanical-like pieces that amplify the habits and postures we undertake daily. The collection encompasses the ubiquitous daily movements through the language of design, using interactive object points that are associated with meaning to emphasise how our bodies can speak for us.  The designer confirms her design ideology  stemmed from her personal body insecurity and justifies her instrumental designs;

“’Rather than wearing a bracelet to adorn your hand, why not wear a bracelet that positions your hand in a decorative and elegant way?”

The series of mechanical jewellery that has been referenced to a marionette like style, is utilised to reinforce the idea of training the body to rest in a refined manner. (Daily Mail, 2013)

The range of prosthetic-like accessories are forms of  retractable wearable art with the extraordinary element. Its  multi-purpose piece is used to assist in encouraging a range of assertive acts and gestures, as opposed to simple decoration.

Naomi Filmer

Using fragmentation and the isolation of the body, British designer Naomi Filmer pushes the boundaries between art and accessories. Describing her style as;

“Anatomy-focused, sensual, fluid, intimate, clean.”

Filmer creates a range of  objects that occupy a middle ground between art and design. Her conception of wearable art is to reveal understated areas and attitudes of the body. Adopting materials that reveal entropic change and proposing new boundaries for conceptual jewellery. Filmer actively honours the relationship between flesh, object and the absence of an object. (Donatella Zappieri, 2013)

Sun Kyoung Kim

South Korean designer Sun Kyoung Kim, explores the most recent body of work of restrictive art. Her collection embraces a tactile quality with a difference, while exploring the performance based interaction between its wearers, Kim has developed a ring for couples.

Sun Kyoung Kim

 Constructing each piece from a range of precious metals and using curved lines within her designs to accentuate elegance, the Korean artist’s work incorporates the concept of relationship privacy, embracing intimacy between couples by caging their fingers together. The collection concentrates on  locating the site of the work within those moments of interaction, playing on the art of being emotionally and physically bound.



With the objective of challenging the sensations, functions and movements of the fingers, jewellery designer Nathasha Khun Prasert created the “Fingertips” collection through focusing on the importance of body parts by challenging their movement.

The Thai-born, London-based designers collection draws on the concept of producing a caging sensation, with some pieces enhancing movement whilst others entrap it;

“Caging sensation, interrupting movement, capturing function”( The Plus Paper, 2015)

Acting on the sensitivity factor of the fingertips, the designer plays on this perception and blocks it by trapping them in glass bubbles. She states her inspiration stems from nail art and has evolved with her thought process;

“It has naturally made me appreciate and become more aware of their importance in our daily lives, especially as a designer.” (Ignant, 2015)

Whilst challenging the body through restricting areas of significance, the acrylic constructed curricular bubble shaped rings filled with sparkling Swarovski crystals are constructed to retain an essence of elegance, and simplicity. (Artanu , 2015) Ultimately evoking the wearer to embrace the body and appreciate specific areas, that are often taken for granted whilst appearing chic.

Although the notion of jewellery continues to be a visual proclamation about the wearer, the theme of design restriction appears to have more depth than the sole purpose of decoration.

As further exploration and  boundary limits continue to be challenged between the body and fashion jewellery, a fresh surge of designs have emerged for enhancing body language or challenging natural movements. Emphasising the interaction and permanent connection between beauty and discomfort.


Artnau (2015) Fingertips by Natha Khunprasert [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 1/11/15]

Daily Mail (2013) They may look like instruments of torture… but this bizarre jewellery is actually designed to give the wearer more alluring body language (don’t all rush at once!)

Read more [Online] Available at http://Http://–supposed-emulate-art-beautiful-gestures.html [Accessed 1/11/15]

Ignant (2015) Uncomfortable Jewellery By Oleksandra Gerasymchuk [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 1/11/15]

Jennifer Crupi (2015) Jennifer Crupi [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 1/11/15]

Nykyinen (2015) Oleksandra Gerasymchuk | Uncomfortable Jewellery [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 1/11/15]

Jewelry Designed to Fight Technological Distractions [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 28/10/15]

The Plus Paper (2015) Sensational Fingertips [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 1/11/15]