A New Jewelry Collaboration Celebrates the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities

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Model, actor, and activist Chella Man has spent most of his life dealing with hearing devices. The multi-hyphenate received his first hearing aid at four-years-old, and at 12 received cochlear implants. His experiences with both devices gave him the ability to hear, but would also go on to be a recurring challenge for him on the fashion front. “The appearance of hearing aids and cochlear implants never felt like me, and I had no control over their designs,” says Man, adding that he often found himself brainstorming ways to reclaim the machinery that had now become part of him. “Even when I’m on set [today], no stylists would know what to do with what’s behind my ear.”

Man’s ongoing style conundrum served as the inspiration behind a new jewelry collaboration with the New York label Private Policy. He and designers Siying Qu and Haoran Li met at New York Fashion Week last year and instantly clicked. They came up with an idea together: a line of ear jewelry that celebrates the deaf and hard of hearing communities. “This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for years,” says Man. It resulted in a collection of shapely, gold-plated ear cuffs, priced from $330 to $620, that are meant to draw attention to and accentuate hearing devices or cochlear implants. “The earpiece really stood out for us from a fashion perspective,” says Qu. “We were intrigued by how we can use jewelry to be educational.”

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