Ribbon bracelets, from $65
Michael Saiger, as they say, is a triple threat. He's a former Bruce Weber model, a gifted jewelry designer and an all around nice guy. We first met back in April, when I was in Florida shooting the "Weekend in Miami" story for Valet. I stopped by the studio for his line Miansai on the outskirts of Miami's design district, where a brown late model Porsche convertible greets you in the driveway. That kind of laid-back luxury pretty much sums up Saiger's style.
Then there's the studio itself. The headquarters of Miansai, which is an acronym of MIchael ANdrew SAIger, is an expansive former warehouse with whitewashed walls and polished concrete floors. There's an antique motorcycle with a sidecar in the sitting area, hand painted axes on the wall over the kitchen and a toy airplane gliding over the huge shower (the fitness-focused team often goes for afternoon runs to blow off steam and clear their heads). If you're lucky enough to work for Saiger, you don't get a cubicle, desks are aluminum trestle tables and instead of a chair you get a grey hammock. You can sit in them or tuck your feet in for a quick cat nap.
Saiger credits his mother, who owns an antique shop and decorating business, for exposing him to the collecting bug. As a child he would travel with her to estate sales and auctions and began collecting WWII memorabilia, which continues to be a major influence for his line of simple, masculine accessories. A bullet, purchased while still a student at the University of Miami, was emptied of its gunpowder and strung onto a leather cord and became his first piece of jewelry.
Friends started asking for similar pieces, which led to making, then selling and soon setting up shop in Miami after graduation. Local stores like BASE (the Colette of Miami) quickly stocked his collection, which is where I first discovered it. Now Saiger is in a slew of top shops around the world, including every Barneys Co-Op, and collaborating with lines like the Burkman Bros., who created an exclusive hook belt that will launch with their e-commerce site in January. And this is just the beginning.