Instagram is my favorite way of researching a brand, purely because it's the easiest and most passive. Following a label is like buying a set of flash cards; reviewing its images daily and over the long term, you acquire a gut-level understanding of what the designer is about with very little effort on your part. A peculiar thing can start to happen at this point, though. Seemingly out of nowhere, you feel yourself starting to identify with the brand, and strongly. As in any good rom-com, it's a case of falling in love with the best friend who was there all along, except it's a for-profit business that you've been silently tracking for 109 weeks.
This happened with me and Sophie Buhai, a designer formerly of the clothing brand Vena Cava who now makes ultra-modern sterling silver jewelry under her own name. Her Instagram is full of lushly simple interiors, those elevated knickknacks known as "art objects" and outsize jewelry that embodies, as Buhai put it in one caption, "#oldartladystyle." Gradually, that sensibility has gotten under my skin, although I don't doubt that it was always there, lurking. And now it's threatening to break loose on my bank account.
I'm not saying I'm going to drop $375 on a pair of earrings, but crazier things have happened, proportionally speaking. Have you seen how much Whole Foods charges for a small fistful of organic lacinato kale? If Whole Foods were selling handcrafted, made-to-order sterling silver earrings, they would retail for at least two zillion dollars. You feel me? What I'm saying is, let's forget that rent is due in six days and live it uuuup.
Sophie Buhai Suzanne Earring, $375, available at Sophie Buhai.
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