Catch up with NY-based accessory designer Chris Habana and hear about his one-of-a-kind Teva sandals and short film with artist Desire Marea.
Inspired by punk, goth, and tribal cultures, Chrishabana accessories attract personalities who revel in a rebellious spirit. The self-taught designer Chris Habana, originally from Manila and currently based in NY, made a grand entrance onto the fashion scene after Rihanna was seen wearing the jeweler’s pearl septum cuff.
From there, his ascent was unstoppable. His minimal and refined unisex pieces have gone on to adorn superstars like Nicki Minaj, Kylie Jenner, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga.
Designer Chris Habana.
Born from the club scene (the designer’s first pieces were inspired by the era of his twenties as a club kid in San Francisco), his muses are drawn from music and subversive communities: rave culture, horror genre, and gutter punks to name a few.
Chris’ latest multimedia project blends music and fashion exquisitely—partnering up with South African multidisciplinary artist Desire Marea to collaborate on a 3D visual narrative that would allow their story to take center stage. Together, they created a short film depicting Desire in essence, which will be projected on buildings in New York City on November 27th, a visual concert for all the city to see.
We caught up with the jewelry designer to hear more about this special showcase and how rave culture continues to inspire him, decades later.
To celebrate the event, Chris customized a few pairs of Teva sandals, which will be auctioned off on chrishabanajewelry.com with all proceeds benefitting the Transgender Law Center.
Your accessories have so much character. Can you tell us more about your style and designs?
CHRIS HABANA: CHRISHABANA takes the lines that thread goth, punk, and tribal iconography with a bit of a futuristic feel, creating minimal yet dangerous pieces. A lot of my inspiration comes from my interest in mythology, sci-fi horror films, religious iconography, etc. The brand champions diversity with daring and subversive imagery, showcasing unique looks and lifestyles to elevate the subculture to mainstream visibility.
It’s very clear in this present climate that the subculture is what drives the progress of mainstream culture so it’s really important for us to celebrate that progress and keep moving forward.
Teva x Chrishabana one-of-a-kind Flatform Universal sandals adorned with barbells, a signature of the designer’s jewelry.
This has been a challenging time for designers, how have you adapted and changed?
CHRIS: Luckily since the start of the pandemic, we did exactly what we always do: kept our heads down and kept working. That simple act has helped us maintain the business and surprisingly we see ourselves thriving in this moment, which is why we feel so lucky.
It definitely has shifted our gears, however. Instead of just making money for our brand we’re looking at opportunities to help support others as well. My outlook is that we’re all in this together.
This project is very unique, can you explain it to our readers?
CHRIS: This project was inspired by the current plight of the Black queer community—a community we consider close friends. We wanted to create a real opportunity to both address the current state of the world in an artistic way and uplift the voices of these individuals who are in need.
We are showcasing our new SS21 Collection as a way to amplify black queer voices, namely Desire Marea, a South African, Non-Binary artist. Additionally we are holding an auction of an exclusive CHRISHABANA x Teva product, with all of the proceeds benefiting the Transgender Law Center.
South African multidisciplinary artist Desire Marea.
Why was Desire Marea the perfect muse for the video?
CHRIS: Desire and I have been admiring each other from afar for a couple of years now. They were the first choice I had when wanting to create an avatar. I feel that Desire is the perfect example of what a Black, Queer, fluid invidual is and, just like us, they continue to evolve as an entity. This is fascinating to me and why we wanted to work with them.
How do you feel when wearing your jewelry pieces or seeing style icons wear your pieces?
It’s definitely an honor and always amazing to see when celebrities and icons respect our work and want to wear them. I’m equally excited at the notion of an everyday person wearing our pieces. My jewelry is designed for people who want to stand out, a confident and progressive individual who doesn’t want to stick to societal norms. They want to harness that rebellious energy in their daily life.
Chrishabana embellished our Flatform Universal sandals with dented metal.
How did you style and customize the Teva sandals for the collection?
We wanted to keep in mind the Teva consumer as well as our own. Since some of those consumers are different from each other, we wanted to create sandals that a cool, NYC downtown kid or anyone who loves and appreciates style in different regions would wear. Of course, since it’s our brand we wanted to make it heavy on the metals. The sandals are embellished with barbell piercings, pearls and dented metal. They’re one-of-a-kind sandal designs for this auction and that’s why it’s so special to us.
Watch the Chrishabana x Desire x Teva short film here and shop the one-of-a-kind sandals with all auction proceeds donated to the Transgender Law Center.