Tom Stevens Eyewear

Design Inspiration in The Netherlands

1st August 2013 This month, Eyestylist chats with Tom Stevens of Tom Stevens Eyewear in The Netherlands

Please give details of your background. “I used to be an optician and started my first independent optical store in 2001. Two years later, I opened a second store and enjoyed the years working with people, and always looking for new collections to fill my shops. In 2008, I sold both stores and started doing what I really wanted to do: designing frames. Together with my business partner we launched the children’s label Red Kids Eyewear. In 2011, Tom Stevens Eyewear was launched.”

What inspires your eyewear designs? “My ideas and inspiration for new designs can come from anywhere: cars, buildings, fashion, shapes I discover in objects. I start drawing shapes that I prefer or might be interesting for new models. I like to anticipate the trends too. For instance, ultra round shapes in our new titanium collection. The colours for each model are partly inspired by fashion and catwalk trends. We used neo coating on previous models, as an example. The different seasons also affect my preference for certain colours. The new collection – which will be launched in September – shows darker, sophisticated and ‘calm’ colours, such as midnight blue, matt gold, warm autumn red and soft creamy white.”

Do you have a customer ‘profile’ in mind when you design? “I don’t think of a potential customer when I design. I just draw shapes that I like; this part of the process is quite abstract actually. Clearly I think about measurements, sizes and fittings for male and female faces. But for me, my designs can be worn by all sorts of people.”

Acetate Excellence by Tom Stevens
Acetate Excellence by Tom Stevens


In what countries are your frames sold? “Our collection is sold in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, Ireland and Denmark. We are in the process of distribution with South Korea, the U.S. and Australia.”

What are your favourite eyewear materials? “I prefer to work with acetate and titanium in the highest quality. We are experimenting with new materials, and new ideas often pop up in my mind, but it has to work in the final product too. Acetate and titanium have proven to be very solid and beautiful materials in which to produce frames.”

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring creators? “Follow your heart, work hard, have fun and never, ever forget what started you in the first place. You will have to overcome bumps in the road, and it might be hard. But if you do something you believe in, and it’s the only thing you really want to do, keep going for it. It will pay off.” JG