For the past three and a half years, Frank Ocean has been diligently working on a new passion project and business venture — Homer, his own independent American luxury company.
In an interview with Financial Times, Ocean clarifies that his brand’s namesake is derived from the Greek poet. “Homer is considered the father of history and history is meant to endure – the same as diamonds and gold”, Ocean says. “I know Homer used papyrus, but I’ve always liked the idea of carving history into stone.”
Homer is the newest occupant inside of the New York Jewelers Exchange — a commercial and retail location based in Chinatown at 70-74 Bowery. Much like anything that Ocean rolls out, every inch of the minimalist-yet-playful space has been meticulously crafted. Just above the entryway, the cover of the imprint’s now-sold out catalog graces the four-story window. Adjacent to the doors is a mirrored plate that is debossed with the brand name — the ideal spot for snapping a pic, since there’s a strict no-photo policy inside the space.
Ocean’s booth stands out from the other vendors: his products are stacked across the wall in small fluorescent green boxes next to a floor-to-ceiling image of his silky, eye-catching scarves. In front of the Homer employees (themselves decked out in Homer gear), sit four aluminum vitrine installations used as display cases for the products. This includes colorful Plus Sign Scarves ($230-$460 USD) — the brand’s cheapest offerings — while the next three cases are devoted to all of the made-in-Italy luxury wares. An end cap is also stationed towards the farther end of the nook, with a monitor displaying behind-the-scenes clippings of the production process as well as footage of Ocean posing on blown-up installations that mimic the shapes of his jewelry items.
The line offers a vast selection of pendants to choose from, each displayed in their own chartreuse urethane case. Options include an animated character that channels a hybrid look of Pikachu and Jigglypuff, butterflies that come in vibrant hues, dice that are embellished with lab-grown diamonds, H-shaped crests that evoke memories of Samurai armor, a tiny cartoon figure with blinged-out teeth and more. Dispersed throughout the vitrines are other commodities like modernized versions of a Cuban Link bracelet, colored tongue rings that cost $995 USD, rings and belt buckles that are furnished with the word “OK” and hoop earrings that are embedded with a duo of diamonds. Items that sit on the higher end of the spectrum are also prominently displayed, including the $271,500 Sphere Legs bracelet, a $471,000 USD 18K white and yellow gold H-Crest necklace and Homer’s holy grail — an iced-out skull and crossbones-shaped Legs High Jewelry Necklace which bears a handsome $1.8 million USD price point.
Quality was fundamental to Ocean when it came down to producing the collection. Some of the accessories — such as the H-Crest pendant that’s made from .925 sterling silver — are on display at the shop, but aren’t available to buy yet, because they haven’t yet passed through the brand’s stringent quality assurance. This serves as a testament to the attention to detail imparted into this effort — you’re not just buying products that have Ocean’s name attached to it.
While Homer may seem like it came totally out of left field, Ocean hinted that it was in the works as far back as 2019. In his last interview with GQ Magazine, Ocean was asked by Vegyn — a British producer whom he worked closely with on Blonde and Endless — if he had any New Year’s resolutions. His response? “I didn’t do my last one, to be honest with you. My last one was self-decoration, and I haven’t finished any of my jewelry, so I’m gonna carry that on to next year.” Fast forward two and half years later, and we now know that his ambitions have been realized.
Luxury signifiers have always been associated with Frank Ocean throughout his career: he incorporated his iconic orange BMW M3 E30 on the cover of Nostalgia, Ultra, made songs about Raf Simons and Chanel bags, shown off his Pierre Paulin sofa and spoke about his $100,000 USD Ai Weiwei bowl at the end of Tyler, the Creator’s recent song “LEMONHEAD.”
Still, Ocean’s latest high-end initiative feels different, displaying a fresh form of expression that compliments the artist’s successful music career. It also serves as further proof that anything Ocean touches turns to gold — this time, literally.
The company’s 25-piece debut collection is shoppable in two ways: via phone order or by an in-person appointment at its New York retail store, which can be booked on the brand’s website.