Alex Moss, Jewelry Designer to Drake, Releases New Collection

Nine floors above the façade of the New York diamond district, in a corner suite of the World Diamond Tower, a lariat necklace with molar-sized diamonds sits inside a silver briefcase. The necklace is still new after being cleaned – bathed with ultrasonic water, then steam – and arrived at jewelry designer Alex Moss’s office in late January on its way to its owner: the rapper: rapper and singer Drake.

Mr Moss, 30, said: “Jewelry is like a car, it needs maintenance.

The work created by Mr. Moss took 14 months to make. A video shared by the designer on Instagram says its 42 diamonds represent the number of times Drake has considered proposing. When asked how much the necklace cost, Mr. Moss refused to answer, citing the confidentiality of its owner.

Personal orders like Drake’s necklace have become Mr. Moss’s bread and butter since he started his eponymous line in 2020. Last year, he said, he made about 170 custom items and currently juggling around 40 items. Much of that jewelry was made for young hip-hop artists: His other clients have included Tyler, the Creator, kick as soon as possible And Chief Keef. Some items have six-figure price tags, including a white, black and green rubies and diamond belt for ASAP Rocky, and a diamond and sapphire studded bracelet for Tyler, Creator.

“Artists I admire have gone to Ben Ballers, Jacobs, Lorraines,” said Tyler, the Creator, referring to the jewelry designers. wharfJacob Arabo (aka ) Jeweler Jacob) And Lorraine Schwartz, all recognized as prominent hip-hop stars. “We have Alex Moss now.”

This month, Mr. Moss is expanding his business with the introduction of a new collection of ready-made jewelry for sale on website. With prices starting around $1,000, these pieces aren’t cheap, but they cost less than his custom designs. “There’s a huge scope,” he said.

The collection, titled “Church of Dreams,” borrows heavily from Catholic and Gothic imagery. There are pieces of crosses, crosses, angels and the face of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns encrusted with diamonds. “I have always loved aesthetics,” said Mr. Moss, who grew up in the Armenian Orthodox Church.

‘I’m loyal,’ added Mr Moss, who smokes a strawberry kiwi vape and wears three of his chain necklaces, as well as a tongue-shaped “Lick of Death” ring from his new collection. . “But I’m not the most religious.”

Mr Moss, from suburban Toronto, said he was obsessed with “Star Wars” and downloaded hip-hop music from Napster’s successor. Kazaa when he grew up. At the age of twelve, he nurtured his creativity through Adobe Photoshop, which he learned to master on his own. Using his savings, some from reselling sneakers on eBay, he started a streetwear business called Bandit in his senior year of high school, before dropping out. A self-described “troublemaker”, Mr Moss later worked as a waiter, legal assistant and worked at Bed Bath & Beyond while working on his streetwear line.

In 2016, after earning his high school diploma in Canada, he moved to New York at the age of 25 to study fashion at Parsons School of Design.

“It’s not a typical road,” said Mr. Moss, 6 feet 5 inches tall, with wavy shoulder-length black hair and a black goatee. “I’m 25 and all these kids are 18.”

While at Parsons, he interned at jeweler Avianne & Co. in Midtown. (Its office is a few doors down from Mr. Moss’ suite in the World’s Diamond Tower.) He became interested in jewelry through a love of hip-hop, he said, and as a intern, he will help design custom items.

“I was like okay, I’m really sick. I can do this,” Mr. Moss said. He eventually left Parsons to work on custom design projects at Avianne & Co.

He was doing a number of personal orders for hip-hop artists by the time rapper Playboi Carti introduced him to ASAP Rocky while the men were in Paris for Virgil Abloh launches menswear for Louis Vuitton in 2018. “I thought he was a rapper the first time we met,” ASAP Rocky said. Of Mr Moss’ jewelry, he added: “It’s less about versatility than artistic value.”

When Mr. Moss started the eponymous business in 2020, he was working out of his apartment in Queens’ Long Island City area. By that time, he had saved enough money to cover rent and living expenses for several months, he said. Two weeks later, New York implemented a blockade against the pandemic.

“Who will buy the jewelry?” Mr. Moss recalled thinking at the time. “No one even knows where we get our food from.”

Initial six-figure custom orders, including from rapper Jack Harlow and music producer Rvssian, have helped his business grow, and allowed him to open, he said. stores in its diamond district location.

From Mr. Moss’s office overlooking 47th Street, the glittering red lights of Times Square looked a bit like the shimmering rubies of Burma. Inside, there are both real stone (diamond in jewelry display case, green marble on wall) and imitation stone (in one corner, wall is treated to look like a caveor “diamond cave,” as Mr. Moss calls it).

In another corner is the arcade game Pac-Man and a vending machine that Mr. Moss hopes will one day fill with branded trinkets. “Key chains, ashtrays, things you can only get here,” he said.

His office and showroom are a few floors away from his line-products factory, a space Mr. Moss previously used as his first office in the World Diamond Tower. (“He’s moving on, like George Jefferson,” as ASAP Rocky put it.) The factory is made up of two lab-like rooms, where a head jeweler oversees a team of three goldsmiths. diamonds as they lay stones and cut precious metals with lasers.

Mr. Moss, who employs 15 people, is quick to point out that the artisans in the factory are the “jewelers” who make his pieces and that he is the “jewelry designer” who devises them. “I am like Ralph Lifshitz,” said Mr. Moss, referring to founder Ralph Lauren, who built an empire based not on sewing expertise but on creative vision.

When discussing his company’s future, Mr. Moss mentioned his desire for it to follow the trajectory of Chrome Hearts, which has evolved from a niche product line to a lifestyle brand over the years. year, partly because famous music artists (Cher) and models (Bella Hadid) helped popularize silver jewelry, hoodies, and t-shirts.

“Chrome Hearts can be obtained,” Mr. Moss said. “That’s the direction we’re going.”

He is working on renderings for a watch that he hopes to begin production in partnership with a watch maker in the coming years. Although Mr. Moss has customized vintage Cartier and Rolex watches – a process he calls “Frankensteining” – he has yet to design his own watches.

He also wants to open a flagship store and showroom in SoHo. Mr. Moss said that while his business has thrived in the diamond district, there are connections to the surrounding area that could become constraints to further development.

“A lot of jewelers in our space are like Jeweler Chris, Jeweler Jacob,” he said. “I am not Alex the Jeweler. We are Alex Moss New York.”


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