Like many people I do love my jewellery; it was always rings for me but earrings — of a sort — came a close second. Unlike my rings which I would change everyday, my earrings pretty much stayed the same, sometimes for years at a time.
This idea of wearing ‘permanent’ jewellery is a popular concept right now, particularly the idea of having a piece of jewellery practically welded to your body, but while you can remove your everyday pieces many of us don’t so it becomes basically the same thing.
New Singapore brand Gennuu by local creative Chantelle Huan fits into this new movement. The pieces are simple but stylish, affordable but also sturdy enough to be worn on the daily, or basically ‘permanently’.
“Gennuu was founded with the intention to create jewellery pieces that are stylish, affordable yet of great quality, versatile enough to suit all occasions while allowing our wearers to be able to express their own personality and vibe,” explains Chantelle.
According to Chantelle, the brand name — pronounced ‘gen’ and ‘u’ — is linked to being ‘genuine’ and ‘generational’ with the ‘u’ representing the ‘you’ of the wearer. “At its core, it encompasses two main values that make up its identity: Genuine — a brand that is 100% genuine in what we design and curate – considering intention, function, and style. Generational — a brand that values openness, with hopes to build a community of fashionable go-getters willing to share and live experiences that transcend generations. The ‘U’ in Gennuu represents ‘you’ — Gennuu is a brand that is made for you,” Chantelle explains.
“Since I was young, I have always been interested in fashion and often took on roles such as costume designer for school activities. My interest in fashion also meant a constantly growing jewellery collection,” she says.
“As time passed, I realised I would only re-wear a fraction of my pieces — often those with colours and styles that were easy to match and stack.
“This sparked the motivation to create Gennuu. I wanted to reduce the number of pieces people needed to purchase, while retaining and even increasing the number of styles people could wear from those pieces.
“Hence, Gennuu was born as a brand that emphasises on a core collection of essential pieces, with add-ons that are mixable, stackable and can be worn in multiple styles.”
The new brand has been strongly influenced by Chantelle’s personal style: “My personal style is a mix of classic, hardware pieces as well as more elaborate statement pieces, often in varying tones of silver and gold.”
Chantelle says that she always wears mismatched earrings, a concept that she factored into the design concept for Gennuu, alongside stacking and layering jewellery pieces.
“One consistent style of mine is to always wear mismatched earrings. I honestly cannot remember the last time I wore the same pair of earrings on both ears! I always pair longer form pieces with shorter forms or studs, and tend to stack my stud piercings. Necklace and chain stacking has also been a consistent style, where I tend to wear at least two necklaces on most occasions.
“This has impacted Gennuu’s designs as well. Most of its pieces are sold as singles to mix and match with other styles, and some designs offer pairs in a mix of silver and gold, instead of the usual all-silver and all-gold options.
“For necklaces, all its lengths are of a minimum adjustable length, such that they can be worn as shorter necklaces, or as medium-long chains. I [also] have some items coming up that can be combined to be worn as body chains too.
“At the moment, I’ve been loving wearing Gennuu’s U earring in both gold and silver on one ear, paired with the Nnuu studs on the other, and NU bar on my cartilage piercings,” says Chantelle.
Sustainability in fashion is an ongoing conversation, and is also relevant for jewellery brands. Chantelle recently graduated with a Masters in Product Design from Kingston School of Art in London and says that there was a major focus on sustainable design throughout the course.
“Sustainability has always been a consideration in the design and production of my products. Having gone through projects that work with sustainable processes and materials, I have been connected to ways that look at improving the durability and reusability of products,” Chantelle explains.
“With Gennuu, one of its main motivations was to reduce the quantity of jewellery people need to purchase without compromising on the number of styles they can wear. Gennuu also pays special attention to the quality of its products, which have gone through months of quality checks and testing to ensure they last our wearers for a substantial period of time.
“The majority of our designs also come in sturdy, classic forms that are more timeless. We also provide a complimentary repair service for our pieces, as we encourage our customers to repair products rather than re-purchase an entirely new piece. Gennuu also offers customers to purchase most of its designs as singular pieces, should they need to replace or mix and match their pairs.
“As we are still a small and growing company, we are taking baby steps towards creating a more sustainable future — but this is definitely in the works. We have been researching how to give back and reduce our carbon footprint as well.”
Gennuu pieces are produced in South Korea with input from a team in Vietnam. Chantelle chose this option after months of research and testing, looking for producers that met her standards for detailing and quality.
“This meant having to improve my level of Korean – I am taking higher level classes at the moment – in order to better communicate with them. Albeit a little more difficult, the decision to work with them has been a fruitful one,” she explains.
“The brand is also currently looking to work with smaller independent gold and silversmiths, in hopes of supporting small businesses and independent artistes. It’s a tough journey in any design industry, hence we hope that co-supporting each other can help achieve our visions.”
THE FUTURE IS GOLDEN
Chantelle says that her future goals for Gennuu include increasing brand awareness and introducing more people to its unique concept.
“In the long run, I hope for Gennuu to be a brand that is reliable, both in terms of style and quality — a brand that people can look to when wanting to purchase jewellery that encompass all aspects of function, great design and good quality,” she says.
“Gennuu is a brand that aims for its designs to be inclusive and non-conforming, and we respect and encourage self-expression and individualism, which serves back as inspiration for our brand and designs. As our motto goes: ‘You are the U in Gennuu, and we want Gennuu to be a brand that is made for you’.”
The streamlined design of Gennuu lends itself to being worn by everyone — male, female and non-gendered or gender diverse. The neat shapes of the core pieces like the O Earring, the Nnuu Stud, the Nu Bar Stud and the Luna Necklace can be worn by everyone. All of the pieces are available in either silver or gold. Likewise, the slightly larger earrings like the U Earring and the Chain Earring, can also be worn by everyone, depending on your personal style.
Chantelle has also created a flexible format for shopping and wearing Gennuu pieces: “We provide an option for you to purchase singular pieces in a complimentary palette of gold and silver, allowing you to mix and match, and so you don’t repeat what you already have. We also offer the option of purchasing pairs in a mix of both gold and silver.”
“Our pieces come in forms that are neutral and reliable — simply match our earrings with your favourite pair of everyday studs, or stack our long form pieces across all your piercings.”