Pearls might be the most unexpected accessory to have been embraced by music’s best-dressed bad boys. Just last week, Maluma wore a fetching strand by Chanel. Harry Styles has long stood by the ladylike jewelry, too; ditto for A$AP Rocky and Lil Nas. Now, jewelry designer Presley Oldham is challenging the gender norms around pearls with his namesake label for men. For Oldham, the idea was born out of a personal need. “I had not seen a linked pearl chain in the way that I wanted it, so I made one,” he says quite simply.
To fashion diehards, Presley’s last name will sound familiar—yes, he is the nephew of ’90s fashion stalwart, Todd Oldham. As you might expect, Presley practically grew up in the industry; his father, Todd’s brother, was responsible for the brand’s hardware, including the designer’s idiosyncratic buttons. Ironically enough, Oldham, 24, hadn’t planned to follow in his family’s footsteps. Up until very recently, he had been pursuing a career in acting which was his major at New York University. And yet, his innate sense for the quirky and the crafty pulled him back to fashion.
Oldham started making jewelry with his grandmother as a child and continued the hobby into his adult years. Unable to attend auditions amid the pandemic, he took up the craft again, creating his first pearl necklace back in March while under lockdown at his grandparents in Santa Fe. With deliciously tongue-in-cheek names such as “Rice Crispies” and “Black Beans” to reflect their irregular shapes, the freshwater pearl chokers quickly became popular with friends. It wasn’t long before he’d officially launched his own jewelry line.