Fusing Nature and Art

Suzanne Klemm – Suzy Glam – The Netherlands

1st December 2013 This month Eyestylist visits with Suzanne Klemm, designer at Suzy Glam, who launched her label earlier this year. Why did you decide to create eyewear? “My first education was as an optician. I was seventeen, and listened to my parent’s advice not to study (like I wanted) design, but instead learn a “real job” where I could be financially independent. I used this profession as a side job next to my later profession as a jewellery designer. I studied jewellery and exhibition design at Zurich University of Arts, and I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utrecht. In the optical shop in Amsterdam where I work part-time, I met Etienne Frederiks. Quite soon it was clear that we wanted to start our own label. We combined our interests and talents, and developed over a period of more than one year our first collection. Now it seems very logical to us that we took this step.” Inspiration: What are your sources – travel, art, architecture, your jewellery background?  “Nature is an endless source of inspiration to me. I try to materialize my observations. On the other hand, visiting art installations and sculptures gives me a drive to work. Some of my ideas are going in the direction of jewellery, some in the direction of eyewear. Sometimes I use shape or technical solutions for eyewear from my jewellery experiences. I create a concept that helps me to give a sense to each creation, and a coherency between every single piece. In other words, I like to think in series.”

Suzy Glam is Right on Time in Coffee Acetate
Suzy Glam is Right on Time in Coffee Acetate

As a newcomer to the optical world, were there any challenges/obstacles to start? “Starting is always hard and uncomfortable. At the same time, it was one of the reasons why we took this step – starting something new is extremely exciting. Every step is a step on unknown territory. The fact that Etienne had so much experience and contacts in the optical world helped us a lot. Everyone we knew supported us and we are very thankful for that.” What materials are your favourite in which to create frames? Do you have a “wish list” for materials that you would like to use? “I love acetate. I love plastics in general, also for jewellery. It’s warm, colourful, soft to touch, translucent and it gives me the possibility to shape it very three-dimensionally. I know it would be a good time to create in metal, but at the moment I express myself the best in acetate.”

Ring by Suzy Glam in epoxy and wood
Ring by Suzy Glam in epoxy and wood

What advice would you give to designers/students who wish to enter the optical design world today? “What advice? Hmmm…same as for every design direction student; keep it close to you. I don’t believe in marketing research. Sure it can work out for earning money, but for satisfaction…..besides that, you can compare it to fashion: a trend is always coming out of a fresh, creative mind, and never out of marketing.” Anything else you would like to include? “About your site: I’m happy that this kind of platform exists, before I designed eyewear, I wasn’t aware of that. It helps to pull the optical world out of the traditionally, dusty profession, where it sometimes still is.” www.suzyglam.com  JG Photos: Image of Susanne Klemm and Etienne Frederiks exclusively for Eyestylist by Gilles Stüssi Frame photo: Dick Kikstra