Mark Sabino Finds ‘Connection Between Modern Accessibility and Classic Designs’

Mark Sabino, Jewelry

The jewelry world is rapidly transforming into a less selective, accessible and young industry.

In recent years, top jewelers have begun to morph into Gen-Z favorite personalities for campaigns – Cartier starred buzzy celebs such as Maude Apatow, Emma Chamberlain, and Austin Butler in a new YouTube video – that expect the attention of millennials and Gen-Z shoppers.

Moreover, indie designer -friendly groups have recently been excited to expand the definition and concept of luxury. They are developing online labels through a positive and playful elegant design that works well in social media.

And these aren’t your typical grandmother’s diamonds.

Mark Sabino symbolizes this ongoing change. Graduated at Pratt, the 25-year-old Manhattan resident creates handcrafted pieces that combine nostalgia, internet culture, and talented design and manufacturing.

Rihanna wore a Sabino bucket hat with the New York Yankees logo in September 2020. Sabino’s masterpieces radiate vitality. For example, a minimalist silver necklace will have a pendant shaped like an acorn and a pink sapphire diamond, based on the acorns that fill the real-time Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the fall season. 

Recently, Sabino shared a funny pattern inspired by Hello Kitty with his followers. Three red gemstones form the characteristic bow of the Japanese character.

“I think what I’m trying to do for jewelry is find that same connection between modern accessibility and ‘classic’ designs,” Sabino said in an interview with Vogue. He uses millennial language and references – Supreme, Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Instagram – when talking about his influences. 

“Similar to what Supreme did [by] offering a boutique out of a skate shop,” he said. “I want people to get the same custom experience they would get in the Diamond District,” an area of independent jewelers in Manhattan, “and have it feel attainable.” 

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Sabino: Sneakers versus Jewelry

Sabino is famous for his jewelry design. However, he also makes the same imaginative and on-trend clothing line and objects. Eminently so that a year ago, a stylist for Rihanna tapped Sabino and stated that the star would want to acquire a frayed and distressed bucket hat designed with the New York Yankees logo that Sabino shared online. 

Shortly after, pictures circulated of RiRi donning the hat. 

According to Sabino, 75% of his social media uploads result in a commission – which mostly ranges from $500 to $600 but can still increase too $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the piece’s complexity. 

This career – driven by social media – and approved by Rihanna is a bit shocking for someone who initially wanted to be a sneaker designer for Nike. Instead, his joining the jewelry industry is by chance. 

When he was 17, Sabino tapped someone who was at Nike headquarters via LinkedIn and inquired about the best way to get a job there. 

“They told me to study industrial design,” he said. 

He took the advice and sent an application to Pratt. During his time at Pratt, the designer attempted to sign up for the school’s lone sneaker design course – however, the class was full. So, he ended up with his plan B: jewelry design.

Read also: Stephen Jones Talks Queen Elizabeth II’s Fashion

Photo: Fruit Cocktail

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