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5 Indie Brands Spearheading Today's Pin Movement

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Following seasons of restrained minimalism, quirky personalized pieces come as a breath of fresh air. And the easiest way to add a custom touch to denim or leather is through pins: those tiny, enamel buttons that float like physical emojis on jackets and bags. The punk accent has been embraced high (Saint Laurent) and low (Zara), but the best versions come from a handful of independent brands emerging, largely, online.

We’ve scoured the web and Instagram for the standout pin brands re-shaping personal style. Whether you're into Kathleen Whitaker’s 14-karat sleek gold treasures or PinTrill’s culturally relevant stash of accents, each of these brands are well on their way to making the vintage throwback a styling must-have.

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A photo posted by @pintrill on

Who: Jordan Roschwalb left a gig in operations at Mercedes-Benz to start his own pin brand. Since launching last year, PinTrill has shot to the forefront of the pin renaissance. On Instagram, the Brooklyn-based brand enjoys more than 42,000 followers, and they regularly collab with fashion houses like Perry Ellis, as well as hip-hop artists like ILoveMakonnen and Theophilus London.

What: Individual pins and grab bags that combine humor with popular culture ($10-$70). Fan favorites include a "Yeezus for President" pin ($15) and a spot-on rendition of the eggplant emoji ($12).

Why: A strong attention to detail and what's trending.

Kathleen Whitaker

➖Strand pin on @objectswithoutmeaning.➖

A photo posted by kathleenwhitaker (@kathleenwhitaker) on

Who: Artist and jeweler Kathleen Whitaker makes sculptural but minimalist pieces from fine materials. She draws inspiration from ceramics and wax molding, two disciplines rooted in three-dimensional design, to create some of her delicate, geometric pieces.

What: Dainty 14-karat gold pins in varying shapes, from rectangles ($460) to single threadbare strands ($350).

Why: High-end options for the committed minimalist.

Dead Ringers

A photo posted by Dead Ringers (@deadringersftw) on 

Who: When twin brothers Jonathan and Andrew Aguirre turned 30, they found themselves living on opposite coasts with design and fashion jobs that left them with little time to do much else. In order to keep in touch, they created Dead Ringers, a brand of pins they describe as wearable art. Keep an eye out for collaborations and product expansion in the coming year.

What: Realistic portraits and surrealist throwbacks that include a Britney Spears mid-breakdown pin ($10) and a high-top wearing Bart Simpson ($10).

Why: Not-so-distant nostalgia.

Prize Pins

A photo posted by Prize Pins (@prizepins) on

Who: Launched as an "homage to New York," Prize Pins keeps the Big Apple front of mind in its selection of cheeky pieces. Founders Luke Flynn and Kym Naimo often work with artists on their editions, which are all limited-run.

What: Gold and silver pieces with a touch of humor, like their NYC manhole pin ($15). Many of the illustrators they collaborate with, like Tati Compton, draw inspiration from tattoos to create mysterious designs, like a rendition of Eve and the serpent ($15).

Why: High-grade designs that aren't mass produced.

No Fun

Who: "Quality goods for disgruntled people with discerning taste," is how this Toronto-based brand describes its selection of quote-heavy pins. No Fun is the go-to for your next miniature accessory with a bad attitude.

What: Angry-but-witty sayings made wearable and affordable, as per the "Cancel Everything" pin in black and white ($5) and a pin that announces "No More Cops" ($4.25).

Why: Brazen pins for the rebel in all of us.


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