There are few brands that transcend the boundaries of generations and genres. And yet, Bloodline Design jewellery has found a way to speak to people from the ages of 18 to 70 from all walks of life for the last 28 years.
"Our customers are super fun," says founder and designer of Bloodline Malcolm Norman. "They all gravitate to quality, to individualism, to self-expression."
Bloodline started as a wholesale brand, selling metalsmithed jewellery to high-end department stores like Harrods, Saks, Nordstrom, and Barney's where they built up a steady celebrity fanbase with the likes of Halle Berry, Ryan Reynolds, Vin Diesel, Eddie Murphy, and Sharon Stone sporting their pieces. Four years ago they launched their own e-commerce site and now they're taking things one step further with a brick-and-mortar store that's set to open in Kitsilano this September.
"I had my beginning designing in street style," says Norman. He opened a surf skate shop when he was 18 years old and by 19 he had three stores that he designed for before getting picked up by American World Snowboarding Champion and World Champion Skateboarder Tom Sims to design for his snowboard brand. So while Bloodline takes a classic approach in method, Norman says "I'm always energetic and excited to bring that kind of attitude to what people would call traditional jewellery."
Everything is handmade and hand-carved but Norman likes to design thematically. His upcoming collection that will be on display in the new store is called Loving Thorn. "It basically plays on the whole narrative of you can't have love without pain, and the greater the love, the more the pain," explains Norman. "It's all hearts and little skulls and little rose thorns and some really exotic gemstones." Up-and-coming Vancouver rapper Boslen is wearing some of the pieces on his current tour.
Last Christmas, Bloodline held a pop-up in the old Kit and Ace location in Kits and Norman recalls the best part of it was "seeing people come in, discover the collections and find pieces for themselves that represent who they are, and what they are" which he also says excites him most about opening a permanent shop.
Customers who had 25-year-old pieces from stores in Paris and London stopped by the pop-up as did 18-year-old guys with their mothers and they both found items they loved. "Because we're handmade—we don't do any plating or anything like that—the Bloodline pieces are always items of permanent value," says Norman. "We're definitely not in any sort of disposable fashion realm. You find a piece that represents a moment in your life or a celebration, where you're at in your journey."
The store, located on West 4th will be designed in "vintage modern" black and white and reflective of Norman's street-style roots with touches of street art, bright electrics and neon. There will also be a "historic cabinet" that stands on its own with "the crazy stuff" which according to Norman is "all of the really big and exotic and outrageous pieces that I've done over the years for celebrities and movies and all that kind of stuff."
But as big they've gotten over the years, "Vancouver's our home, it's where we're going to launch collections, people come discover what we're doing, and then it's where we received feedback from our fans and customers and community on what lines and what directions to push."