South of Heaven

Photographed by Marco Giuliano.

In the inky depths of the night, where the shadows come alive and dreams twist into nightmares, there exists a place where the ordinary transforms into other forms and the mind is ensnared in a sinister dance with its deepest fears. Merisiel Irum wearing chainmaille jewels by Holyhell. Shot by Marco Giuliano, styled by Anca Macavei.

Can you give us an insight into Holy Hell, how did it all come about and who is the creative behind it?

I’m Sophie, the founder of Holyhell. The creation of this brand was more of a happy accident than a grand plan. I’ve always had allergies to most metals, and wearing large industrial chains used to give me skin irritations, which made my little goth heart very sad! Frustrated by this, I started making my own hypoallergenic jewellery. With over 12 years of experience as a body piercer, I had a good understanding of safe metals. I’ve admired the aesthetic of Chainmaille for a long time, so I began experimenting with different weaves, playfully calling it “goth loom bands.” I found the process to be therapeutic, and I gradually developed my skills. Initially, I made jewelry only for myself, but as more people inquired about where I found such unique pieces (and with some encouragement from my girlfriend), I decided to set up a website. Now, I not only create chains for myself, but I also have the joy of crafting them for others to enjoy.

Can you share the story behind the name “Holyhell” and how it relates to the brand’s identity and aesthetic?

The inspiration behind the brand name, Holyhell, actually comes from one of my favorite artists, Foie Gras. My deep passion for music has guided the naming of every garment available on the website. Each product takes its name from a song created by a female-fronted artist, reflecting Holyhell as a female-owned brand. Remarkable artists such as King Woman, Chelsea Wolfe, Amyl and the Sniffers, The Distillers, Sharon Van Etten, and Siouxsie and The Banshees have played a pivotal role in shaping the brand’s identity. It’s important to note that Holyhell, as a brand, is entirely genderless and intended to be worn by everyone. As a very androgynous queer person myself , I wanted to cater to all.

Chainmail has a rich history in armor and medieval fashion. How do you blend this historical influence with contemporary style in your designs?

My Interest of medieval fashion came to me after first discovering Chainmaille and homing in the craft via jewellery. I was then started to be asked to make bigger garments. After doing some research about medieval armoury I fell into a huge wormhole! I started making contemporary pieces with the original weaving techniques used in medieval armoury. For instance, historical coifs, which were originally Chainmaille hoods made for battle, captivated me with their aesthetics

South of Heaven

Credits:

Photography: Marco Giuliano / @marcogiulianoph
Styling: Anca Macavei / @ancamacavei
Jewellery: Holyhell / @holyhell_uk
Assistant: Veronica Ferri / @_aorta__
Model&Makeup: Marianna Grasso / @merisiel_irum

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