Derrick Cruz, owner and designer of emerging accessories label Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons, delights in talking about each of his pieces and the process, story, and inspiration behind them. “It is an uncommon brand filled with narrative accessories and art objects,” he explains. A label that makes a statement not only in its final incarnation, but in the sum of its parts. Cruz’s Lower East Side studio features a curio case of found objects, organic materials, and hand-carved sculptures that are the basis for past and upcoming collections. The material list is vast — from piano keys and horse hair to honey combs and discarded furniture. His true artistry is in his ability to find beauty in even the most minuscule of objects while still weaving it together to create his own unspoken tale.
Nothing is as it appears when you pick up a piece from Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons. Yes, that’s woolly mammoth bone. Those? Original casts from human bones. Cruz’s work materializes his obsession with the beauty potentially found in darkness, thus creating a niche that is all his own. Just don’t pigeonhole his aesthetic as goth. “It’s more about contemplating individual experiences and how they collide to make something new,” he has said. “I’d call it Bitter Sweet.” His latest limited-edition collection, “Theft of Light,” features not only traditional pieces of jewelry, but breast plates and large mixed media necklaces that are worthy of any editorial.
His fascination with funerary crafts, alchemical studies, and Native American Mythology makes for an complex starting point, and sets the macabre tone for everything he designs. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him as he gets ready for two big shows during Fashion Week: one with NYC-based jewelry designer Pamela Love and the other at St. Marks Church with clothing label, Odyn Vovk.