Friedrich Schwarz, a boat builder by trade, is the designer behind Fritz Frames, a relatively new Australian eyewear label specialising in wood spectacles and sunglasses. Eyestylist.com interviewed Friedrich at Silmo, where the company was exhibiting for the first time.
“I am working with a composite timber material, which contains timber with a fibre reinforcement between every layer. We started the company about one and a half years ago, but of course the development for the product began much earlier. I have been wearing my own hand-built frames for some years. I set up the company with Ivo den Uijl. We were looking at making something together, and we eventually decided to go into frame design. I am a boat builder and a sports enthusiast. As a young guy I was skateboarding and sailing. I got my first pair of glasses at the age of 16, and I wasn’t very familiar with how to look after my specs so I broke them fairly frequently. Then I started to experiment with the lenses and I made full carbon fibre frames without hinges.
Ever since then, I have worn my own glasses, and made glasses for my friends and family. My first frames were extremely durable and worked very well in terms of their resistance and wear and this is what we have carried through into the collections today.”
What are your ambitions with the brand this season? “We want to go into Europe. We are having a good reaction to our frames in this part of the world. The perception of timber for eyewear is, for some people, a bit negative; people think it might be too breakable or difficult to adjust and fit the lenses, but this is no longer the case. We have addressed all these problems, and we have really taken care with these issues through the development of the product…by using the fibre to reinforce the structure, we have managed to give added strength to the frame. I have managed to lift myself up from the floor on a frame for a photo shoot, believe it or not! For a perfect finish, we have used a hard coating on our frames to ensure they are water-proof and protected from other materials such as sun creams and make-up.
How did you achieve the unusual glossy finish? “That is another special point. We have developed this finish, and it’s quite different from other wood products. The finish is both aesthetic and a means to ensure the frame will last….for 10 or 15 years. It is the same with the hinge, we have developed a very robust spring hinge that you can bend up and down and in and out.
You produce the frames in a studio in Australia? “Yes in a workshop. We have just four of us in there….we are doing a lot of work by hand; it is time-consuming, painstaking work, but we are able to ensure a very high level of quality and finish. It’s exciting seeing the results.”
Fritz Frames won the Award of Excellence in the Sunglasses Category at the Sydney trade fair ODMA for their sunglass style Churada.