A Tribute to the Late Gabor Nagy – The Legendary Founder of the Gothic Silver Craze
Just what is the Gothic Look?
The classic silver Gothic look is created by a putting together a potent mix of leather clothing and heavy sterling silver jewelry. The Gothic Look is often described as the biker look, the Gothic look, the punk look or the rock & roll look. Whatever you deem fit to call it, the Gothic image is a historical phenomenon which runs deep in post-hippie American fashion. The paradigm image it commonly inspires often consists of a handsome, rugged, masculine and individualistic man riding a powerful chopper over winding rural roads into the sunset with a violent agenda often with an element of heroism. It is one which stirs the imagination and inspires awe, admiration and wonder. Today, the biker look has been popularized by musicians, bikers, biker enthusiasts, rock n roll fans and other cultural pioneers seeking to showcase and promote individualism via the clothes they wear. This writeup is about Gabor Nagy: the man who single-handedly started it all.
Who is Gabor Nagy, and what is Gaboratory?
The Gaboratory house of design, established in the early 90’s, was founded by the late Gabor Nagy, and rightfully takes its place as the original pioneer and grandfather of Gothic biker look. Long before Chrome Hearts, Imperial Rose Collections, Room 101, GT & Co, SoulFetish and other mainstream Gothic jewelry brands came into existence, the man who started the entire biker jewelry craze promoted his unbelievable, earth-shaking ideas to the fashion industry and succeeded in getting everybody sold on the silver-leather Gothic look.
Gabor Nagy the Visionary
Gabor Nagy was nothing short of a a fashion visionary; one who was way ahead of his contemporaries. Going head-on against traditional concepts of jewelry as small, delicate looking accessories adorned only by wealthy, upper class ladies, Gabor Nagy founded Gaboratory and pioneered the entire idea of biker jewelry, which took the world by storm. Crafted as thick, chunky sterling silver bracelets and rings bearing anarchistic edgy carved-in motifs, Gothic silver jewelry was anything but delicate or feminine. Unlike traditional jewelry which conveyed images of societal class and conformity, Gabor’s biker jewelry created the vastly different image of the renegade outlaw biker. It was right away obvious at the outset that Gabor’s Gothic silver jewelry was definitely not something traditional buyers of jewelry (the upper class) would take to.
Despite the seemingly terrible odds, Gabor Nagy successfully pioneered and led a fashion renaissance which brought jewelry into the realm of mens’ wear. Celebrities, trendsetters and other leading icons quickly grew to love the beautiful designs and solid feel of Gaboratory’s biker jewelry, and lapped up Gaboratory’s jewelry pieces in sizable numbers. Fans naturally caught on quickly as well.
The other thing makes Gaboratory’s groundbreaking success even more admirable is the fact that Gabor Nagy pursued his novel ideas in an age when diamonds had sent metal jewelry out of fashion. Sterling silver was seen as a mere complement to the diamond, the star accessory which had successfully dominated the globe of jewelry since the phenomenal advertising campaign by De Beers in the 1950s. Gabor Nagy knew better. He saw that unlike diamonds whose surfaces could accommodate only patternless and impersonal cuts and angles, sterling silver could be subjected to extensive artistic handcraft and be turned into unique pieces of artwork enshrining the artist’s spirit. He sought to bring sterling silver back into the limelight, and he did so in dramatic style.
Gabor Nagy’s global footprint
Gabor’s Gothic silver fashion spread well beyond the shores of USA. Japanese tourists first set eyes on Gabor Nagy’s biker jewelry in downtown LA, fell instantly in love with the intricate artwork and imported the thirst for gothic silver jewelry across the Atlantic to Asia. Today, the fashion craze has spread also to mainland Europe, particularly in France and Germany. In Asia, (Taiwan, Korea and Japan) an entire new culture of rebellion has emerged to snuff out the stuffy and strictly hierarchical traditional South Asian culture.
Although Gabor Nagy died several years ago, his inspiration continues to inspire jewelers the world over. His Gaboratory school of design has spawned a generation of gifted students successful in their own right, including Bill Wall and Travis Walker, the owners of the immensely successful BWL and Double Cross designer brand. Richard Stark of Chrome Hearts, currently the largest luxury label in the realm of Gothic jewelry, gained much of his inspiration from Gabor Nagy’s ideas, and today’s classic Chrome Hearts designs mostly have their roots in Gabor Nagy’s early work.
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