The passion to create original and imaginative eyewear creatively flows in the Goldsmith genetic code. The family-run business – now under the leadership of dynamic Claire Goldsmith – is embracing new horizons for the nearly century-old British company. Claire comments on the creation of her own innovative collection – Claire Goldsmith Optical.
Please tell us how you perceived and envisioned the concept that developed and evolved into CG Optical? “CG evolved through an inner ambition to pursue something for myself. Initially all the OG designs we made were replicas of styles held in our archive. They were relics brought back to life in beautiful new colour ways and modern acetates. We’ve since developed the collection to include new original designs, but at the conception of the relaunch there wasn’t a platform for me to create new styles. I was dubious about doing so under the Oliver Goldsmith name. It was so iconic and historically treasured. I wanted something of my own to create, and so the natural evolution was to launch my own brand.” (Above image:Claire Goldsmith)
Was your inspiration or motivation influenced by fashion trends; art or architecture; travel; or other appealing circumstances? “My initial inspiration certainly came from my heritage and the incredible brand my great grandfathers had created and the legacy they left behind. OG was at its peak during the 1960’s and 70’s – and these decades continue to be enormously influential to me: from fashion, car design, architecture…there is something so cool about that period of time that I am forever drawn to the fantasy of the era – the celebrity, the clothes, the apposition of both frivolity and attention to detail – in detail. But CG is a new brand, and much as I enjoy looking to the past for inspiration, it is today’s customer we are dressing, and as a Londoner (myself) and as a London brand, I am lucky to be continually inspired by the city, and the people who live within it.”
What are your favourite materials and colours in which to create a collection? “OG is an acetate brand, and so it’s very much what I know best. It’s a material I understand, and I love the joy of creating new materials through laminates or changing the thickness of a frame to reveal the richness of its colour. For me, acetate is part of our identity, whether we are talking OG or CG. I adore super light stainless steel frames; I think they are beautiful, but you can’t be every brand to every person and it’s exhausting trying to be. I dabble with metals and combination frames, but my core material will always be acetate – other brands already do metals or wood or vinyl so well – I’ll stick to what I know and do best!”
What is the demographic profile of the CG Optical wearer? “I don’t really think demographics exist in the same way they once did. The CG customer is varied, simply because of the incredible cities and stores around the world where we are represented. Our frames are contemporary classics, and our customers tend to revere the values of the brand rather than because they fit into a particular demographic. We’ve dressed the eyes of so many different people, and so many age groups, and I love that.”
What shapes and colours do customers most desire this season? “When I purchase something I want it to last more than a season, and I like to think my customers buy into CG as a lifestyle rather than a seasonal piece. Personal style is so – well – personal – and if my frames can help someone express themselves or become an integral part of their image, then that makes me happy. I truly don’t design to fit into trends. Of course, I’m conscious of what fashion is dictating, but what someone wears on their face doesn’t always correlate with what they wear on their body. There are some amazing brands producing incredibly modern and fashion forward eyewear who dictate micro trends within the eyewear industry, but the colours and shapes we produce at CG focus more on longevity.”
You love to create and have an enterprising spirit. Are there possible creative design thoughts or ideas being cultivated? “Definitely! We are living in such an entrepreneurial era, with the internet and social media providing a platform for almost anyone to launch a brand or concept. I find this both incredibly inspiring and at times, overwhelming, but I do like the idea of being able to be creative in other industries: to dabble or delve into different projects as I see fit. For now, CG an OG keep me more than busy, but who knows, perhaps that enterprising spirit will need exercising at some point!” www.clairegoldsmith.com JG