The BLACK HEAD accessories brand, brainchild of designer Liu Wei (刘昱), strives to serve China’s younger generations. Accessories are an integral part of fashion and, for many millennials and Gen Zers, a symbol of that all-encompassing and passionate individual temper. Get ready to accessorize in sin.
Jewelry, hats, bags, you name it within the price range of 100 to 300 yuan, the brand name “black head” refers to all those youngsters sporting black hair, representing youth and future.
BLACK HEAD (黑头| hēi tóu in Chinese) blends youth culture with gender contraries, incorporates forms of self-expression and protest into its designs, and uses accessories as a medium to guide more people to release their restrained personalities, discover the rich essence of the color black, and create more powerful outward gestures in their daily fashionable conversation with the world.
The brand, originally of a highly niche vocation, is ringing the alarm among an expanding fan base. #preach
Sinful and Stainless
The mere term “accessories” always seems to be tied to “jewelry,” and often “bright” or “shiny” stuff, at that.
BLACK HEAD decided to go its own way – i.e. in the opposite direction. With black, silver and other cold tones at its very core, the label was the very first in China to use 316L stainless steel as base material. This 316L type of stainless steel is a material commonly used in medical technology and through its high-density, compared with traditional copper or gold and silver, this rough ‘n tough material gives off the impression of being aloof, neutral, avant-garde, lending designs a greater sense of readability. It represents both the younger generation’s pursuit of new materials and the BLACKHEAD staple sin – or stain.
In terms of design elements, the temptress, the mother of all temptation, the serpent, aka the snake, is a token element in BLACK HEAD blueprint. The icy stainless steel texture echoes the snake’s coolness, with the tail through the serpentine earrings swirling around the earlobe, the serpentine collar draping itself around the neck, the serpentine ring smoothly winding between the fingers, and the serpentine decorative palm ring gliding across the palm of the hand… These anti-traditional outlines forge a highly visual impact that further highlights the brand’s personality.
In a gadda da vida, you’ll feela.
BLACKHEAD is committed to exploring all possibilities of accessorizing, incessantly shaking off the shackles of inherent assumptions about how accessories should or would be worn. It’s all about could.
To mix – or should we say “stir” – things up, BLACK HEAD has repeatedly launched new products in the form of themed series, one of which a complete set of accessories, amounting to a total of 33 thus far – #morecomingsoon.
Opting for rebellious yet gimmick-y names such as “KILLER BUNNY,” “Blood Demon,” “Tooth Fairy,” “Junior A,” “Seven Sins” … Each series comes with its own rich dark color palette drawing inspiration from an array of sources including a medieval manuscript cartoon, a vampire movie, or a former British girl band. Their subcultural vibes create a different time and space setting for each collection, allowing consumers to unleash their infinite imagination when wearing them.
With famous fans in the Middle Kingdom, actors and KOLS alike swarm to the designs like locusts as the label is one of the very few niche brands roping in and fluxing, among others, the so-called Cyberpunk (赛博朋克| sàibó péngkè), and Vaporwave (蒸汽波| zhēngqìbō) styles — emerging “China Fashion Tribes,” if you will — as Y2K trends once again sweep across the globe in the looming post-pandemic reality.
The Cardinal Sin
The label’s principal ambition is not to dictate or change the way younger generations dress, but to bring subcultures onto the streets. Because, as we’ve been telling you all along, Sub is Super. #TemperTeachings
Since its inception, BLACK HEAD has launched various products together with a number of co-creators, whether it’s the latest video-style mini ashtray pendant designed in conjunction with a purposely lo-fi aesthetic, the image bracelet with futuristic mechanical details launched by South Korean influencer FARMER BOB, or the Cyber Spider Highlight necklace launched in cross-border collaboration with MOOMPHHEADs. All demonstrate innovative takes on the color black.
BLACK HEAD’s branding crux in recent years has been ringing the alarm among an expanding fan base. Sales in recent years have grown at an average annual rate of 50 percent, today boasting some 30 physical stores throughout China from Shanghai to Wuhan to Changchun up north to… You name it, we’ll chant it.
Yet, even when it comes to brick and mortar, all stigma is cast out the door, banning any one-size-fits-all shop template. The design of the Shanghai Shimao store, for example, derives from BLACK HEAD’s “Mechanical Baby” series, featuring a black mechanical baby, sci-fi-esque green LED lights, and aggressive sonic experiments to create an atmosphere full of future technology. The visual style concept of the Hangzhou store, then, stems from the Dream Detective series, culminating in an unreal yet lucid dream atmosphere starring psychedelic blue-pink-hued lights.
There is no fashion without change, and positioning yourself on the niche end of the spectrum does not equal being static. In BLACK HEAD’s case, this “change” is not transformed along with the market, but dives deep into the brand culture, constantly scripting new products baptized in the BLACK HEAD personality.
As the word of branding goes, black is everything (黑色就是一切| hēisè jiù shì yíqiè).
Welcome to the dark side. #wegotcookies
We are all sinners in the eyes of Fashion.
ALL IMAGES COME COURTESY of BLACK HEAD
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