By Claire Watson
Big, bright, and bold. Dangling from either ear, statement earrings are back and are here to stay. Whether it’s adding an exciting twist, playing with conventions, or simply stating your personality, there’s an earring for every occasion. Mods were a global youth movement from the 1960s, and found in this fashion subculture, are statement earrings. Though the mod movement began to die out in the late 60s, it has been routinely revived, and perhaps the return of statement earrings is another attempt at bringing back the beloved mod.
Let it be clear, when I say statement earrings I don’t mean simply ‘big earrings.’ I’m talking about wacky designs, bright colours, or earrings made from random trinkets. I’m referring to Twiggy’s disco ball earrings or the kind that pop up when you search ‘60s costume.’The commercialisation of mod fashion was its end. Its working-class founders were appalled by the mass production of ‘mod clothes’ and soon it died out. However, modern technology has provided artists and jewellers with a platform to connect, share, and sell their work, with mod-inspired earrings being a popular product.
This recent trend harks back to mod’s core values. While big clothing companies have tried their hand at producing these statement accessories, buyers are loyal to their favoured artists. From polymer clay to resin, to shrink plastic, to old toys or even, as my partner has done, antigen tests, statement earrings can be made out of whatever an artist can fix hooks to. A few of my personal favourites are made from the heads of Littlest Pet Shop toys, boa feathers, empty paint tubes, and Animal Crossing’s “froggy” chairs.
Most of my collection comes from Kawaii Store and More, which sells handmade earrings, badges, hair accessories, stickers, and keychains in the Marina Market here in Cork. My absolute favourite pair of theirs is their polymer couch earrings, which are forever starting conversations. For a fun day out with friends, I’d recommend grabbing a coffee in either Alchemy or Guji, picking up pairs of matching earrings and grabbing a bite in one of the market’s many food stands. The biggest appeal of statement earrings in my opinion is how much personality they have. No matter who you are, there’s a pair perfect for you.
I spoke to the owner of KawaiiStore and they believe that “the right accessory can give a peek at a person’s personality!”Loud earrings? Loud personality! The earrings you choose to wear can reflect your personality and even your interest! Be it a character from a tv show or a particular colour you like! Earrings are as expressive as the person who wears them!” They spoke about how crafting their earrings helped them in their daily life, “I started making jewellery as a way to combat panic attacks, the fine detailed work gave me something to focus on and ground me! […] Even now if I get really overwhelmed I find myself colour matching or planning my charms. I love wearing these earrings because they’re both empowering and exciting. On days where I just want to wear a comfy tracksuit and a big, pillowy hoodie, I still wear my earrings to let people know who I am.
Spite is what motivates Kawaii Store, and I adore that energy. “I’ve been making jewellery just over three years, along the way I’ve had so many people tell me I’d fail, so many people tell me my style was too ‘weird’ or ‘out there’ for Cork… I chose to prove them wrong!”. When I wear my statement earrings, I feel that same spite, because I know that there are people out there that will look at me and think me weird for wearing resin tarot cards from my ears, but that’s the whole point! My earrings are weird, and so am I! I like wearing my weirdness on my sleeve- or ear I guess. Earrings like these are really popular in LGBTQ+ circles, especially in sapphic and non-binary spaces. While anyone can wear these earrings, they can often be a nice, somewhat subtle, showcase of one’s pride.
There is no doubt that the recent lockdowns had allowed us time for self-reflection. We’ve spent a lot of time with ourselves these past two years and we’ve all left this time of hardship with a greater idea of who we are, and an even greater spark to share our personalities with the world. After a couple of years spent indoors, I think we all deserve a shot at showing ourselves off just that much more.
Over the years I’ve procured a list of Irish earring makers on etsy. My favourites are the aforementioned Kawaii Store, Love By Minnie, Nabro Design, Mulberry Resins, Freya’s Felting, Jades Jewellery Crafts, Hoku and Luna, Creepy Cute Creations, Jayney Mac, and Albreich Design. These kinds of earrings make the best gifts. They can be great for both a gag or for showing someone you really know them! They’re great for showing off one’s hobbies. From KawaiiStore I’ve picked up some cool spellbooks and playbill earrings!
Making these earrings can be just as fun as wearing them! I’ve started making polymer earrings by using cookie cutters. I highly recommend that those interested buy a bag of earring hooks and go wild with making earrings out of whatever you can get your hands on. Matching earrings to outfits is always fun, and they can totally change the vibe of a look. Lighten up an all-black, punk look with adorable kitty earrings. Or, add some edge to a pastel, cottage-core look with some chunky skulls.
his is a trend I can’t see dying out, as artists are innovating and improving with each creation. I’d definitely recommend taking a look at Jayney Mac’s earrings, which are made out of wood and shrink plastic. It’s all about finding the pair that feels right. The perfect pair will bring you joy, and make you excited to wear them out. Statement earrings are big, bright, and bold, but most importantly, they’re you.