Rastafarians and teenage stoners have proudly worn apparel emblazoned with that five-prong leaf we call marijuana for years, but for the most part, drug-inspired clothing exists on fashion’s margins. However, we’ve been noticing a more wearable drug-inspired trend creep decidedly towards the mainstream: chemical symbols for drugs, especially on jewelry.
A new line of jewelry by Aroha Silhouettes called Molecular Addictions shows the growth of the trend. With spindly ochre findings and delicate chains, the series is intended to simultaneously declare and visually embody the relationship people have with their addictions. The line has been described by the designer as “a little wearable bat signal to other users who are on the same wavelength that you are.”
Part of the aesthetic of the series was inspired by a study done by NASA in the mid-90s. When given various drugs, the spider’s altered state was reflected in their ability to weave webs. The photographers and stylists kept this idea in mind when constructing the photo shoot.
The women’s line includes accessible drugs like chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, as well as more illicit substances like MDMA, DMT, THC, LSD, Cocaine, and Psilocybin Mushrooms. For men, Aroha Silhouettes made a thicker version of the THC necklace, as it was the most popular request. Most of the jewelry is approximately $60, (£38), and available online.
The Molecular Addictions series is just one example of the more widespread trend. An artist working from Thailand, Emily Alice Ball, has a line of accessories using more unusual chemicals and much higher prices. The Serotonin cufflinks, which are silver rectangles with the molecular symbol engraved, are £93.67. She’s also made similar shirt-fasteners with the love hormone phenethylamine, as well as adrenaline and dopamine. The silver dopamine necklace, a multilayered chain, sells for £355.94. Most of Emily Alice Ball’s pieces have a highly-polished, clean-edged metalwork, but other artists have taken a more industrial approach.
Other drug-inspired, non-chemical jewelry focuses on pills. Damien Hirst created a charm bracelet, available in gold or silver, which features a collection of pill charms. It also features a £15,000 price tag. There are also quite a few sellers hawking crafty-looking pill bracelets and earrings online. Equally polarizing, the Pugs Not Drugs trend is prevalent on the social experiment that is Etsy-verse.
For all of these drug accessories’ appeal (or lack thereof), they do raise questions about the glorification of drug use. The jewelry is intended to play up a certain cool associated with using. Aesthetically, this substance-inspired jewelry has the potential to be glamorous, desperate, kitschy and casual. But does it trivialise the struggles people fight against addiction and drug use’s inherent danger?