Hooking Up With Miansai Designer Michael Saiger
Jewelry for men is not simply relegated to watches and wedding bands anymore. Just ask designer Michael Saiger of Miansai, the accessories brand for in-the-know prepsters that has been making waves with its nautical-inspired bracelets and accessories.
The bracelets are a simple, one-size-fits-all affair: Silver hooks tied with nylon cord — the same material used by the U.S. Coast Guard — in an array of colors. Some attribute the trend to Milanese men who have a penchant for collecting colorful bracelets on vacation. Whatever the trend’s origins may be, Miansai cord bracelets have become the modern-day answer to Nantucket rope bracelets. And they’ve sailed into the pages of glossies, blogs and menswear forums, from GQ editorials, to Park & Bond editors’ picks.
“Miansai is something that just came about naturally for me,” said creator Michael Saiger. “I began making jewelry for myself while I was a student at the University of Miami and people started asking me who made the pieces because they wanted to purchase it for themselves.”
While the company’s birth story, if you will, is a familiar one in the fashion world for designers of women’s clothing and accessories, it’s less common in the menswear space.
“Seeing people’s interest in my jewelry made me realize there was a place in the market to capitalize on this category,” said Saiger.
And when it catches the attention of street style photographers such as Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman, who have been piling on colorful bracelets for a few seasons now, you kind of know you got a good thing going.
Saiger started small, first creating jewelry just for himself and then expanding to create a tightly edited line of necklacesand bracelets that were subtle and easily hidden under a shirt or cuff. The brand takes its name from Saiger’s full name: Michael Andrew Saiger. The pieces, which are handmade in his Miami studio, draw from classic nautical motifs like anchors and hooks, in addition to classic sailing knots and hardware that wouldn’t look out of place on a schooner.
“I’ve always been a creative kind of guy with a genuine interest in antiques, vintage pieces and craftsmanship,” said Saiger. “And my personal style leans towards classic items that have a timeless feel.”
The line’s grown to include even more styles, using more materials such as rose gold, Italian leathers and brass. Though Saiger didn’t (and still doesn’t) advertise, letting word-of-mouth and his fan’s Facebook photos spread his brand, various specialty retailers have approached him to collaborate for special edition bracelets.
Oak, the ultra-hip NY boutique, created a custom matte black hook on black leather and J.
He’s also collaborated with other brands, including a hook belt for menswear brand Burkman Bros. (It sold out before it even hit the Burkman Bros. e-commerce site.) and a special edition pair of sunglasses with Mosley Tribes. The shades come with a leather, nylon and silver hook safety and are available exclusively at Oliver Peoples boutiques, Barneys Co-Op and Miansai.com.
For guys who want to get in on this wristy business, Saiger suggests a few of his pieces to get started, “The Hook, Anchor and Casing are all great styles,” he said. “And if you’re more of a rugged kind of guy, I’d suggest the Leather Beacon or Leather Waypoint.”
Saiger’s not through outfitting guys, though. He just released a range of Miansai Panama hats, each made in Ecuador and hand-finished in Miami with his signature nylon cord and a brass detail.
While guys are loving the entire Miansai line, it won’t surprise you to know that girls have been sporting the bracelets, too. And with the release of the hats, which will start shipping at the end of May — just in time to kick off the summer — there will be a whole new slew of ladies and gents alike who will be clamoring for a piece of the Miansai mystique.
For more information, visit the Miansai Web site at www.miansai.com