• Featured Brand: Vitaly

    Jewelry line Vitaly is a UO newcomer making men's jewelry cool again. The line has a distinct aesthetic but still manages to be toned down and not-so-flashy that their pieces are appropriate for guys and girls alike. We got to chat with the line's founder and designer Shane Vitaly Foran to learn about his accidental foray into jewelry design and his thoughts on the evolution of men's fashion.

    How'd you start designing jewelry and where'd the inspiration for Vitaly come from?
    I often explain Vitaly as having had a very organic birth. It all started when I finished University, quit the three jobs I had been balancing on top of school, and flew to Southeast Asia. I landed in Bangkok and the only plan I had was to fly home three months later. A couple months into the trip I landed in Bali and found myself inspired by all the local artisans. I decided to draw up a two-finger ring and see if someone could make it for me. The plan was never to start a business, but purely to bring something unique home that I could be proud of. After working with a few different craftsman, I found someone I was able to work well with and upon receiving the first sample of my design, I decided to see if any friends would want me to bring them one as a gift. The response was really positive so I brought home about 15.

    How did that evolve into making and selling the pieces?
    I happened to have a handful left after gifting most of them and they were in my backpack while I was looking around a shop in downtown Toronto. I learned that the woman there was the owner and so, driven purely by curiosity, I showed them to her and asked if she could ever see any stores in Toronto selling them. She bought the samples off of me on the spot. The whole thing was exhilarating and inspiring. That interaction was ultimately what led me to racing home to work on some new designs.

    And did that turn into another trip back?
    Originally my goal was simply to help pay off that first backpacking trip so that one day I might be able to go back. After the company really started to get some momentum, though, I decided it would be amazing if I could make it my career. That's when I began working with my business partner and long-time friend Jason. That was about three years ago. Since then we’ve grown exponentially, have many of our closest friends working with us, have formed a team of athletes, artists, and musicians that act as ambassadors for our brand, and we travel on a regular basis. Vitaly has become our lifestyle and it has been built not only around fashion, but also music, action sports, and art.

    Can you tell us more about your workspace?
    My workspace is a medieval-looking chair and desk that I recently purchased, which sits immediately beside my bed in my bedroom. We’re still a very small company and, rather than spend money on offices, for now we have chosen to work from home and invest in making our brand the best it can be. That said, this winter we’ll be heading to Bali to skip winter and work from there, so I suppose our offices will look pretty different during that time!

    What materials do you use in your products and are there any new ones in future prototypes?
    At the moment my collections are focused on stainless steel, tungsten, and leather, though we do have some ceramic, onyx, and nylon sprinkled in there. In the future you may see us introduce some pieces that use handcrafted wood or perhaps glass. I think part of what makes us unique is the fact that we already use so many different materials...

    Why do you think jewelry and accessories are starting to become a bigger thing in men's fashion?
    I think there are a lot of contributing factors for why men are wearing jewelry again. I’ve seen a move towards more androgynous styles of clothing happening over the past five or so years, where what was once a feminine aesthetic or vice versa is now being mashed together. Naturally, that’s pushing jewelry toward men. However, I think beyond that, men’s clothing is becoming more focused on cuts and is far less colorful or pattern-based. This is giving men room to accessorize without feeling like their look is too loud.

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