Timeless Danish design characterises the individualistic creations by FLEYE Copenhagen. Annette Esto shares with Eyestylist the heritage of the design driven collections.
Please tell us about the history of Fleye Copenhagen. “FLEYE was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2002 by my two partners, Hanne Anderson and Lars Halstroem, and I. All three of us worked together in another company where we also designed eyewear: we did a lot of export and attended the same fairs as now. All the experience that we had, good and bad, was fundamental when we made our business plan for FLEYE. From day one, we asked ourselves: why should people buy frames from us? What can we offer that is different from what is already on the market? At the time other brands made very thin and invisible frames, so we decided to go in another direction, to be more expressive, more colourful and different, and customers loved if from the beginning. We wanted to have a red thread in all that we did: corporate colours, designed shipping boxes and a very high service level. We tried to do our very best, just like we do today.”
FLEYE designs are eco-friendly – could you please share with us the background on this concept? “All of our eyewear frames are allergy-friendly and made from nickel-free materials. As an optician I have seen many customers suffer from nickel, especially 25 years ago before the CE marking was mandatory. It makes sense to invest in the best material that does not contain any nickel.”
The frame colours are gorgeous – are you inspired by nature? fashion? travel? art? “Thank you. After I started to design frames, I looked at the world in a different way. My eyes always (without even focusing on it) search for details, patterns, colours, structure, and materials that I can use or be inspired by. When I travelled in India I visited the Taj Mahal early morning to study how the Marble Palace changed colours from sunrise to sunset. The patterns are not noticeable at first, but when light is striking them magic happens. I used the colours in its combination in our collection. The same happened in Marrakesh with all their grids in the buildings, and the lovely colours of the earth in the mountains outside the city. Shanghai by night at The Bund inspired me to use bright coloured temples together with black carbon fibre (the black Yangse River against the colourful skyscrapers). I am also inspired by trends in everything from subcultures, art and architecture to interior design and fashion.”
What materials are your favourite in which to create frames? “A tough question because it all appeals to me, especially when I can combine carbon with natural wood, and the flexibility in beta-titanium temples. I love warm and exciting colours and acetate patterns. I was wondering how to achieve that in a carbon frame, so we coloured our wooden surfaces in the most beautiful shades of Indigo Blue, Majestic Purple and Velvet Black.”
What is the customer profile of the FLEYE frame wearer? “FLEYE is for the urban, modern day consumer with a strong sense of design aesthetics, and a confident attitude of individual expression who appreciates wearing a frame that is light, comfortable and eco friendly. Style has nothing to do with age.”
This year marks the 15th anniversary of FLEYE. What are the most defining changes in eyewear that you have experienced during this time? “I see a shift from eyewear being a medical product to being an accessory. If you could not see, then you needed glasses. But now glasses are no longer focused primarily on function, but on fashion too. Eyewear is now seen as an expression of style, and just as important a statement as shoes, bags and jewellery.”
As a brand that sells globally, how do you foresee the market unfolding in the next two-three years? “In the future we will see much more competition of the low price segment vs. the high-end segment including innovation, brand concept and corporate identity. Design wise I think shapes will be more edgy in a geometric way.There will be space for niche and independent designs – it may be slim and simple styles, or bold and demanding.” www.fleye.dk JG