Cheating Hearts

There are jewelry designers who think they’re rock stars (Stephen Webster) and then there are jewelry designers that design for balding men who want to be rock stars. This is the subject of today’s installation of “Knock off or Nak Off?”

We’re not sure which came first the chicken or the egg and that’s exactly how we feel about Lazaro Jewelry in Soho, NY and Chrome Hearts. If you were to take the pieces out of the stores and the packaging and put them next to each other, you’d have a hard time knowing which company made which piece. They’re identical. It goes for everything in the stores, not just the jewelry – the leather goods, the tee-shirts, the candles, they’re all the same. We know that Chrome Hearts has cooler stores, better packaging, and hotter celebs wearing their jewelry but we don’t know if Lazaro was the originator and didn’t have the same cash to put into their branding efforts and this is why Chrome Hearts appears to be the Nak and not the Knock.

Either way it doesn’t really matter to us and only backs up our belief that marketing, store design, media exposure and packaging matters just as much (if not more) than the design.


November 5, 2007. Knock Off or Nak Off?, Retail.


  1. Mary Guess replied:

    Chrome Hearts is NOT a knock off. I would know because my husband, Stanley Guess, is the real Nak (although I don’t know where that term came from) – he’s the ONE who put Chrome Hearts on the map with jewelry and accessories. Although not Chrome Hearts’ first designer, it was Stanley Guess who created everything in sterling and put Chrome Hearts designs (and label) on his creations for Chrome Hearts to sell. Without Stanley Guess, Chrome Hearts leather would probably still have base metal buttons, tips, buckles, grommets, zipper pulls, etc., and they would not be selling any jewelry at all.

    Stanley Guess has been marketing his own line of jewelry and accessories for the last 8 years, gaining huge popularity in Japan while Chrome Hearts’ popularity in Japan has dwindled substantially.

  2. David replied:

    Lazaro knocks everything off. I believe most of his jewelry is simply stolen from a store called Wildthings which he just adds stones to and calls it his own. It’s cool stuff but I don’t think it takes that much creativity to take other peoples work and call it your own.

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