3D printed: You Mawo’s Sebastian Zenetti

Sebastian Zenetti is the Co-Founder of the award-winning 3d printed eyewear label, You Mawo. The brand is pioneering a new form of 3D printed made-to-measure eyewear, which uses an ipad to take a scan of the head.

For any one who doesn’t know You Mawo, how would you explain what you are doing in the context of luxury 3D printed eyewear? We have formed a team of experts from areas outside eyewear, from optics, IT, product development, design, and business/economics. Our focus is to find new technologies, to bring them to eyewear and generate something innovative with added value for the customer. Among other things, we use the latest and most innovative production technology.

Exclusive Preview: Selene by You Mawo

Who was originally the brains behind the brand and how has the team grown since you first launched in 2016 in Germany? You Mawo was created by four founders. Stephan Grotz is head of IT development and has more than 20 years’ experince with data analytics and algorithmic parametrisation. Daniel Szabo is head of finance and and business development. Daniel Miko is head of Design and product development. I take care of our sales team and customer support. After 3 and a half years we have grown from 4 to 40. We are developing everything by ourselves and as much as possible through our team.

Lyra by You Mawo – Silmo Preview

What exactly is different about a You Mawo 3d printed design? And what are the frames made of? We use a special kind of polyamide from the medical industry. This material is 30% lighter than acetate and much more durable. It has great thermal properties and is adjustable with heat. Our production technology is called selective laser sintering and it is the industrial version of 3D Printing. The frames are produced, layer by layer. The benefit of this technology is that we can produce individual frames quickly and easily, and we produce as good as no waste, which makes this method completely sustainable.

As well as the main collection, you have created some pretty wild one-off frames including a cool thick framed limited edition. Can you tell us about these. These are our ‘design lab’ frames: we wanted to be able to showcase the possibilities we have with 3D printing. Our first concept in this series is ‘Metamorphosis’. Model Malina was inspired by the first sunglasses on Earth, created in bone by the Inuit.

Aneto by You Mawo: 3D printed with bold colours and textures

How did you get into eyewear in the first place? – what is your previous career path and what attracted you to 3D printing? My family owns optical stores and I trained as an optician. Then I met Daniel Miko and Daniel Szabo. We realised instantly we had something in common: we are all very interested in new technologies. At some point on a backpacking trip to Southern Asia, we were talking about customization and we came up with a complete concept: You Mawo was born.

Can you give us a sneak peak of what is happening for you at the Silmo trade fair and what we can expect from the brand in 2020? This month we will launch four new models in our Design lab collection where our Designers and product development team can show what is possible with new technology. 2020 is extremely exciting for us too. We will launch new innovations including some new advanced software tools. We are hugely looking forward to the future and we can’t wait to reveal what else we are working on. For more information about You Mawo visit www.youmawo.com CN

Designer insights: Laura Howard, Vera Wang eyewear

Behind the Vera Wang eyewear collection is a team of creatives with expertise in colour, shape and the technical precisions of a unique pair of spectacles. Eyestylist asked designer Laura Howard to talk about her approach to luxury product design and her thoughts on trends and choosing a new frame.

How long have you been working with Vera Wang eyewear? I first began working on the Vera Wang runway collection, VWX, in 2014, along with Kenmark’s CCO and Vera Wang optical collection designer, David Duralde. Vera has been fully involved from the beginning, so having all that history there when I started provided some valuable design groundwork and some major expectations to fulfil.

How do you turn Vera’s vision into an eyewear collection? Can you describe the process for each collection. Each season’s runway collection all starts with Vera! She is incredibly passionate about eyewear and spends a lot of time thinking about the point of view she wants her collection to have. We meet with Vera and her team to discuss trends, to gather inspiration and to get a read on her vision for the collection. She’ll often sketch a few ideas for shape or to show the scale and proportion she is looking for. I then take all of that and design many, many concepts for her to review and make further edits. She stays very involved after that by choosing every material, lens and finish for each frame. This collection is truly personal to her and she is creatively connected to each piece.

Laura works for Kenmark Eyewear in the US

From a personal point of view, what are your greatest passions in life, and does that impact on your work as a designer ? I have a real need to get out and experience the world. There aren’t many places that I wouldn’t go at least once! The takeaways from travel (even short weekend trips) have a lasting effect on my life and work. Just opening yourself up to new experiences allows for creativity to prosper. Being out in the world is also a reminder that there are faces other than my own. When designing, I obviously try everything on my face, so I constantly have to make sure I don’t end up with a collection that is tailor-made just for me.

Do you think that women are more in tune with the benefits of eyewear styling and choosing styles/colors that are enhancing to the personality. If so, can you give any examples or advise on choosing a frame? I think women have always been in tune with their personal style, but now more than ever, fashionable eyewear is much more accessible. With so many new ways to shop and eyewear being offered at nearly every price tier, women have access to a lot more variety and endless ways to express themselves. With that, I think choosing just one frame is no longer necessary. And I’d say try on EVERYTHING! As designers at Kenmark, we put frames on lots of faces. I would say that most people we fit end up loving something they never would have tried on if we didn’t make them. Toss out the face shape chart and go with your gut!

Developing the new-season Vera Wang designs

What can we expect in 2020 in terms of design trends / style/colour trends and how have you interpreted those concepts in the new collections? Metal eyewear is still a very strong trend that I don’t see going anywhere anytime soon. Shapes are trending toward more utility styling with pieces like shields and sports wraps. I think micro sunglasses are slowing down, but a frame on the smaller and thinner side is still going strong. Moving into 2020, I think we’ll start to see acetate creep back in, but in thinner profiles and more translucent colorways. One of the defining features of the Vera Wang collection has been the showcasing of exposed structure, which really lends itself to the growing utilitarian trend. Through a series of prongs and screws, the strength and construction of those pieces are celebrated, not buried within the materials. This styling will be carried forward into the newest collection by creating new shapes in metal that boast this concept.

V547: a round, transparent semi-rimless – the style comes in a selection of pastel tones

What is it like to work with a couture designer on a collection, and what have been the most exciting moments for you in your career path so far? Working with someone like Vera Wang, who 30+ years into her career is still at the top of her game, is truly the most fascinating and invigorating experience. I’m incredibly inspired by her sense of self, the strength in her vision and her tenacity as a designer. One of the perks of being around someone like that is that you get a contact high from their energy. Just absorbing her ideas, philosophies and instincts is always time well spent. Seeing your frames walk the runway isn’t too shabby either! For more details about the Vera Wang Collection visit www.kenmarkeyewear.com CN For previous articles about Vera Wang click on the following link: https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/08/deryn-by-vera-wang/

Theo x Vincent

Antwerp is a creative force for emerging young designers. The city is home to avant-garde theo eyewear, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The lure of Antwerp and its stylish impact convinced German born Vincent Thürstein that The Royal Academy Fashion Department was where he wanted to study. Curiosity about a tribe in the Indian Ocean living apart from outer civilisation, sparked Vincent’s concept for his catwalk collection – Mokushiroku (above image) which in Japanese means apocalypse. In a reimagined post-apocalyptic civilisation, people will be just as prone to need eyewear as we are. Vincent knocked on theo’s door, Serge Bracké responded, and a dynamic collaboration was formed.

Theo x Vincent – eyewear reimagined for a post-apocalyptic civilisation

Vincent used inspirations from Japanese fisherman, Korean female divers, Rodchenko sculptures, Marcel Breuer and other sources to create his binoculars that bear a similarity to fishermen’s diving goggles. “I wanted to combine natural materials such as horn with metal components for the constructional elements,” said Vincent, “And Serge and I worked on the oxidation processes of the frame surface in the same way as I experimented with fabrics in my collection.”

Thürstein’s fashion design and theo x Vincent eyewear

When Vincent’s fashion silhouettes appeared on the catwalk, the smart details on the outfits and the softly muted but pleasing colour palette gave a reassuring glow. Theo x Vincent eyewear added the finishing touch to Mokushiroku. For more trailblazing eyewear designs visit www.theo.be JG

Dana Prekopova, IOKO, Bratislava

Independent optical store owner and eyewear expert launches own collection with NA eyewear

Dana Prekopova opened a boutique style optical shop in Slovakia in 2005 – a time when very few independent collections had reached her home town of Bratislava. “The beginnings were not really easy,” she explains. “Slovak clients weren’t well educated about “independent eyewear”. I began to introduce individual pieces gradually.”

IOKO store interior: redesigned in 2017 by Andrea Durianova, designer + jeweller

The first original, handmade frame collection stocked by IOKO came from French artisan designers Vue dc. “At that time this was a young brand as well and the people behind it seemed to me extraordinary and original. We first met at Opti – the trade fair in Munich, and we immediately had an incredible connection.”

As her business grew, Dana became more and more enthusiastic about unique independent brands and she started to organize events “IOKO Meets…”. “I later started to invite all the independent manufacturers of spectacles we represent in our shop. My idea was supported by the Slovak National Gallery, an incredible place for a presentation of original design and the people behind all brands. For three years we hosted designers like Jason and Karen Kirk, Fréderic Ferrant, Chris and Yoma Mascre, Allan and Bettina Petersen, Sergio Eusebi and Livio Grazziotin, and Veronika Wildgruber, who won the prestigious Silmo d’Or 2017 the same year she was presented at one of our events. Our latest event was dedicated to our new own label. In October 2018 we launched IOKO & NA eyewear – this is a personal passion set up as a small creative start up.”

“IOKO x NA Eyewear is my dream come true” – above, photoshoot featuring the new collaborative collection

Asked to explain her plans with her own line Dana tells the story from the beginning: “I should tell you that Slovakia, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992, didn’t have any eyewear production or history in this field, on which we might have built or drawn ideas. When we used to be Czechoslovakia, the production of spectacles was located in Czech and there it remained.

The aim of the IOKO events in cooperation with the Slovak National Gallery was to speak not only to the public but also to young designers, who might be interested to start a business in this field. I eventually came across one young ambitious Czech jeweler who decided to produce handmade spectacles under her own brand: NA Eyewear. Connected at first on social media, after some time Dana visited NA’s founder in her studio. “I really wanted to get to know her work and hold the final product in my hands.

IOKO x NA – first collection

I travelled to Prague to meet Nastassia Kahotski Aleinikava and Pavel Kahotski. From that moment I knew that together we could develop a perfect result…and this is when the new IOKO collection was born. This day became one of the most special days of my life, and on the way back I was sitting in the train drawing first proposals for new frames.”

The first IOKO x NA collaborative collection is launched with six models, each one produced with three alternatives, in colour and design. Each frame is exclusively handmade and, in the method used, there is zero waste. The frames are produced in Mazzuccheli’s bio acetate, and presented in an original jewellery box or a compact textile packaging by designer Lea Fekete. “Her works are special because of the textile produced through a special technique of layering wool and silk.” The collection is now available exclusively at IOKO, launched with beautiful portrait imagery featuring Dana herself. For more information visit www.ioko.sk and www.naeyewear.com CN

David Duralde: Dashing and Debonair

As he travels the world, David Duralde, Chief Creative Officer for Kenmark Optical, cuts a dashing and debonair figure in his sleek wardrobe. In an exclusive interview with Eyestylist, Duralde shares his thoughts on personal style.

How would you describe your personal style? “My personal style is edgy + classic. I like mixing metaphors and twisting convention so the unfamiliar becomes familiar. I’m intrigued by classic elegance with an edgy twist – it’s like a whisper in an echo chamber. You don’t have to be loud if it’s intentional. My mindset is to always question the status quo and wonder if something can be more beautiful and efficient. This is the curse and obsession that drives creativity.”

“Three-quarters of my closet is black…”David Duralde

What men’s designer do you find most influential?  “I really admire creative minds like Virgil Abloh, Riccardo Tisci, Raf Simmons and Allessandro Michele, who had to shake up the vocabulary for global men’s fashion collections and offer something truly new in these established brands for a younger generation. It’s quite an undertaking and I’m sure engenders some real nail-biting moments. Someone had to redefine what luxury looks like in menswear, as it all was looking very stale. The only differences in men’s brands were very, very subtle cuts and applications of fabrics. Now, when you go shopping for menswear, there’s a real energy in the category.”

“I’m intrigued by classic elegance with an edgy twist”

Do you have a favourite colour and is there an anecdote or story behind that? “Three-quarters of my closet is black for obvious reasons. I travel a ton and black is very practical and timeless. A black Prada lace up I bought in 1992 at Maxfields in LA still looks good after all these years. Every season there is a new colour deemed the new black, but for me, Black is always the new Black. If Black went away, green would be next. The colour has so many moods. It can be murky, slimy, fresh, primary and always looks new when it’s in a new shade or hue.”

What is your favourite accessory? – apart from eyewear of course! “Cars. So many men’s accessories are imagined and created to pair a great car. That’s why I think of great car design at the top of the food chain for other items such as watches, rings, wallets, bags, etc.”

“There is real energy in the menswear category”

Do you enjoy shopping for clothes? Do you have a favourite store – curiosity or professional instinct that draws you there? “I love shopping at Barney’s New York, Traffic LA, Forty Five Ten in Dallas. It’s also a lot of fun to spend time in Gucci stores. The stores have the same excitement, buzz and energy you first saw at Apple Stores when they arrived on the retail landscape. This reminds me that people will always want to buy something if the store is unique and compelling.”

Classic, casual and comfortable

Your work demands you travel frequently. Is there a city abroad where you like to shop, explore and cultivate new ideas? “I love to shop and people watch in Milan. People are never afraid of fashion in this town. It’s like oxygen for a designer. Then shopping in Paris is next on the list, because it’s an equal reminder that one should work to live and not live to work. There is a different sensibility in these towns. There is a pursuit for the aesthetic and a respect for intelligent, creative design. These cultures understand throughout history the importance and work behind making things that are great – from food, to experiences, to art, architecture and everything in-between.” www.kenmarkeyewear.com JG

Serge Bracké: Visionary designer at theo Belgium

Goldsmith, furniture maker, innovative eyewear creator – Serge Bracké’s formidable talents highlight theo designs. In an exclusive interview with Eyestylist, the Belgium designer shares his viewpoints on creativity, inspiration, and the future.

What event in your life may have motivated you to pursue a challenging career in creative design? “Like most things in life, it’s probably a combination of events, influences, being at a certain place at a certain time…With my final exams, the school strongly hinted that I look for ‘new opportunities’ and my parents had all but given up on me. Luckily my art teacher showed up during the examination board meeting. He didn’t really have to but – divine intervention? he did. Based upon an interpretation I had made on a Mondrian painting, he convinced the other teachers to refer me to a design/art college. The funny thing is that the Mondrian assignment, the search for balance between horizontal and vertical lines, and primary colours, is still of great influence in my daily work. I can still literally lose myself in the equilibrium of a shape, the mix of materials, or the combination of colour shades.”

Mille 41 by Serge Bracké for theo

Please elaborate on how you became involved in creating eyewear for theo? “I spent my college years in jewellery design, but designing more practical objects already had my preference. When I had a  job with an eyewear brand near Brussels, my  skills as a goldsmith helped me make prototypes as if they were finalised production frames. From the start, I knew that eyewear was going to be a big part of my future. That challenging balance between aesthetics and functionality was right up my alley. I contacted Wim Somers at theo. It took about a year to convince him to meet. I wasn’t playing football, a needed skill back then at theo. Nowadays, cycling is a plus…”

“I literally lose myself in the equilibrium of shape, mix of materials, or the combination of colour shades” Tag by Serge Bracké

With regard to your unique creative process, how do you cultivate and energise your instincts for design concepts? “For me inspiration and new concepts are everywhere – stay curious, open and alert for new impressions. For children everything is new and exciting. Too often, as a grown-up we stare at things in a singular, mono-dimensional way, or observe on a superficial level only. ‘Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional’ should be on a tile in every kitchen and design studio. I try to absorb as much as possible from ‘exotic’ disciplines, and stay fresh and inspired. I have a weak spot for cities that never sleep, for industrial heritage, for youth subcultures, for…so many impulses, so little time!”

“That challenging balance between aesthetic and functionality is right up my alley” Throwie from The Graffiti Collection by Serge Bracké for theo

Are there any designers – past or present – whose creative concepts provided inspiration and guidance for your own artistic innovations? “I have a thing for movie directors with a distinctive layout and a creative identity. The balanced framework and colour schemes of Wes Anderson’s films, as well as the vibrant, eclectic scenes from a Baz Luhrman movie (inspiration for the theo ‘Graffiti’ frames came from his Nextflix series ‘The Get Down’) can really overwhelm me with respect, inspiration and a healthy dose of jealousy. Of course, these two examples are relatively easy to translate to the theo story.”

Mille+45 by Serge Bracké for theo

What particular trends in shapes, colours, and materials do you envision or anticipate in eyewear? “History repeats itself. We had the vintage 80s revival – which back then was already a revival of 50s shapes – followed by the oversized 70s frames that positioned the eyebrows into the rim shape again. Today the small, flat shapes of the 90s overrun all sunglass collections, and optical frames follow in their wake. The advantage at theo is that we don’t follow trends. Patrick and Wim always considered small metal frames as being a part of the brand’s DNA. I think in the long term there will be an even larger amount of new brands that develop 3D printed frames. And I see two directions that will survive: first, bespoke frames with a perfect fit and framing. Today the algorithms to scale frames aren’t yet what they should be. German brand YouMawo as well as Yuniku from Hoya and Materialise are really leading the way in this young niche. Secondly, the frames you can’t make in a traditional way. 3D printed manufacturing allows for shapes that cannot be made by milling or even injection moulding technology. The theo strategy for the future remains on creating interesting colours and combining them in original ways, while experimenting with extraordinary shapes and techniques. We set our own trends.”

“We sent our own trends at theo” Mille+64 by Serge Bracké

Are there possibly any new and different products – other than eyewear – you would be interested in developing? “I took a seven-year furniture course and have amassed an eclectic range of woodworking machinery. I spend time in my workshop as therapy or meditation: just the machines, the timber and me. Honestly – and this is by no means meant to be disrespectful or politically incorrect – I think it would give me great satisfaction to develop and design prosthesis. What attracts me is the crossroads of technique and aesthetics, as well as the fact that it can fundamentally change a user’s life. With regards to styling and personalisation there is a universe to be explored. New materials, new combinations, interchangeable covers…In fact, a pair of glasses is also a sort of prosthesis, but one that has become an expression of someone’s identity. See what I mean?” www.theo.be JG


Anna-Karin Karlsson: Dynamic jewellery

Multi-talented and visionary Swedish eyewear designer Anna-Karin Karlsson (above photo) now brings her prodigious abilities, stunning motivation for beauty, and luxury perspectives to statement jewellery. “As a child, I was obsessed by accessories. Sunglasses are an instant glamour addition, and they always fascinated me. I tried to find jewellery with enough attitude and complexity for me to be fascinated, but decided to start designing my own jewellery, and create designs for fearless Romantics.”

The Rose Necklace for Spring by Anna-Karin Karlsson

Karlsson’s signature jewellery collection is cohesive with the DNA of the eyewear designs: extravagance, originality, and glamour juxtaposed with strong, decisive and impressive elements.

The Magpie Necklace studded with Swarovski Crystals

Necklaces, earrings and bracelets feature exclusive materials, often decorated with Swarovski Crystals in vibrant colours. Dramatic long chains – very on-trend – are plated in 24K gold and white gold.

Romantic Rose Chandelier Earring

The handcrafted, lavish designs created with exceptional components are characterised by luxury, and an indulgence in artistic pleasure. The Haute Couture jewellery collection is currently in selected stores in France, Russia, and Portugal, and will soon be available online at www.annakarinkarlsson.com JG

Sahra Lysell: colorist, Ørgreen Optics

Sahra Lysell is the Senior Colour Designer at Ørgreen Optics in Copenhagen. She has been with the company for over 20 years.

How did you become a colour specialist – has colour always been a part of you and your personality? I have a degree in fashion design, but I have always had a very strong intuition regarding colour and had an interest in how different tones work as an expression for emotions, our state of mind, and culture in society. I feel fortunate to have been able to make a career out of working with colour and to be part of a company that understands it  is a very powerful communication tool.

Does colour affect you in your daily life? I believe so – it is a big part of my decision-making in all parts of my life. For example, most of the art in our apartment was chosen for the colours and combinations of colour. I am drawn more by that than by the theme or the artist. My favourite painting is by the Danish artist, Michael Kvium. Called Pale Eyed View, it is a picture of a man standing in a red sea. The red is a mix of red, orange and purple. This painting taught me to use hues that are difficult to define. The colours are interesting, and often flattering on the face.

Ø16 Ørgreen+Yuniku 2.0 – typical bright hue from the Danish brand where Sahra works

On a daily basis, I find colour plays a role in what I do. I love to cook, and I love to play with colours when making food. It is very rare that I serve a dish where the special hues of Mother Nature don’t emphasize the experience. Purple for beetroot, orange for carrots, red for tomatoes, and the colour of a perfectly grilled steak, red in the middle, then rose and at last crispy brown on the edge. I can also see my 3 year old daughter is inspired to eat certain things due to the colour itself. She loves red ice cream! I could serve her beetroot ice cream and she would go for it just because it would be an amazing red!

“I have always seen things in colour, my brain works in a very visual way. If we are working on a new collection at Ørgreen, people always wants key words to work from, but I need to start with three colours! For me, this sets a mood, starts an emotion, and then I can get to work….”

In my office, I have three pictures of Mexican cemeteries; it may sound morbid, but the pictures are amazing and show bright, colorful graves and cathedrals that celebrate the story of a life. I have always had these pictures to remind me about differences in cultures and how there are so many colour stories to be told!

Inspiration at work in the studio

As a person, are you more about bright statement colours or quieter softer tones? Or do you wear colour according to your mood? I use colour according to my mood, and I love combinations of soft tones with a touch of something bright. For me, it is always about balance. When I choose colours or clothing, I like to mix the extravagant with the down-to-earth, masculine with feminine, or past with present. As I mentioned earlier I love big colorful paintings, but also black and white photos. My favorite tones change depending on the subject..whether I am considering fashion, art, furniture or nature.

What is the key to colour in fashion?  I guess that every one of us owns a personal approach to colour; this comes from how you understand society and what people are craving for – positivity, seriousness, provocation, purity, innocence… all of these things are influential. A strong intuition is essential.

Find out more about about Ørgreen Optics and their new collections at www.orgreenoptics.com CN

At work & home: Annette Esto at Fleye

Annette Esto, Head of Design at FLEYE Copenhagen, warmly shares her perspectives with Eyestylist, and highlights her design concepts that transcend eyewear itself…and into the beautiful FLEYE Headquarters and her homes.

What qualities and character of Danish design history – with its simplicity and subtle details – have been the most important influence for your eyewear creations and home interiors? “Danish design is renowned for its clean lines, functionality and timeless approach. I like when classics come with a twist: a bright colour or an edgy detail, despite the clean simple lines of the Danish aesthetics. This is highly reflected in my home, where for example, I have a classic Scandinavian ‘smedker’ kitchen – I combined the traditional wood work with a bright, modern orange colour. Also, in FLEYE’s eyewear design we mix classic simplicity with a twist, where tradition meets the modern in innovative ways.” (Top image: Annette Esto with art by Inka Sigel)

“I like classics with a twist” Annette’s kitchen

Enriched cultural concepts ostensibly filter into your eyewear designs – like the Smorrebrod. What other perceptions filter into your home decor, as well as frames, such as travel or other artistic inspirations? “I love artworks – especially abstract art and abstract paintings that play with powerful colours, sharp contrasts, and different materials. My favourite painting is the one I have in our entry – an oil painting by Inka Sigel where different materials are sewn through the canvas. I have always been creative beyond what has become my profession, and personally I love to make flower creations and bouquets. For FLEYE AW18 eyewear, we have actually found inspiration in Flora Danica – an iconic collection of botanical illustrations from the 18th century. Taking a fresh look at the subject, we created our own floral portraits using flowers, trees, and shrubs often seen in Danish gardens. In order to set the right mood for an Autumn & Winter campaign, we decided to freeze flowers in ice blocks, leading to rich and dense colours, as well as the structures and shapes of our newest eyewear.”

Painting by Inka Sigel – a German designer who has worked in Denmark for nearly thirty years. Different materials are sewn through the canvas.

You have a great interest in architecture. How has this inspired and cultivated interior creations in your home? “My home is a balance of traditional and modern furniture. In the dining room, I have a nice classic dining table where I have mixed Eames chairs in all kinds of different colours to give it a more personal and contemporary – yet timeless look. The same goes for the FLEYE office building, which is an old architect-designed manor house from the beginning of the 18th century. The building is protected and preserved in an old-fashioned style with high ceilings, but I have combined it with modern furniture in contemporary colours to give it a personal twist.”

Barfredshoj – the historic manor house for FLEYE Headquarters

Please tell us a brief history of the FLEYE offices and the intriguing building where frames are designed blending “urban impulses with classic simplicity.” “The FLEYE office is a historically beautiful manor house – Barfredshoj – built in 1800 by a German architect Peter Hetsch. Barfredshoj’s architecturally unique rooms and idyllic location form the setting for FLEYE’s creativity and inspiration. To me it is very important to be surrounded by nature and to have a wide and beautiful view – this is reflected in both the eyewear design, at the FLEYE office, and in my home.”

Annette with her team at FLEYE HQ

What designers most influence you in today’s constantly changing, dynamic and tech-savvy environment? “Issey Miyake because he is timeless and classic. I can wear a ten-year-old piece from Issey Miyake at a fair and still receive compliments. His clothes are designed in amazing shapes and structures, and he mixes clean lines with patterns or fun colours. It is also very functional at fairs because the clothes don’t crease or wrinkle.”

Open and airy – the kitchen in Annette’s Summerhouse

In the future, what is a design project that you would most like to create and pursue? “I will continue to work within this nice path, which my team and I have worked so hard to get to, where we keep on surprising and challenging ourselves positively as well as our customers. The next project will be to transfer this beautiful flower concept into a Spring/Summer setting for our SS19 eyewear.” www.fleye.dk JG

Zack Tipton, Vinylize + Cinematiq

Zack Tipton is the founder of VINYLIZE Eyewear – the only high-quality independent frame brand to create iconic sun and optical designs from old records – and CINEMATIQ, a collection that features old film footage inside the frames. He lives with his family in Budapest, Hungary.

Producing eyewear from vinyl has had its own peculiar challenges, but over the years, through perseverance and hard work, TIPTON Eyeworks has achieved much success since the first vinyl prototypes were created in 2000. Today the team and their artisans work out of an impressive established boutique and studio in central Budapest and boast an enviable and extraordinarily diverse list of VIPS wearing their designs – both in and outside the music + film industries. Their most recent limited editions were produced for Lana del Rey and Kendrick Lamar for the summer festival Sziget: https://www.eyestylist.com/2018/08/vinylize-for-lana-del-rey-kendrick-lamar/

Tipton in Budapest

Asked to reflect on his most exciting career moment so far, Zack refers to their constant efforts to make customers happy, which has driven him from the very beginning. He tells this story with pride and humour. “We had launched our Erotic Cinematiq collection which featured frames decorated with strip tease movies. It was selling like hot cakes and an order came in from London for a custom piece to feature details of male strippers. I wasn’t able to get suitable film for the delivery date so I improvised taking selfies with an old SLR camera and some reversal film…we used this footage for the Cinematiq design and that is the piece that Elton John is wearing.”

CINEMATIQ: re-released in 2018 with a stunning finish, the film appears in the temples

As well as the main collection Vinylize – produced from old records – the Cinematiq line today continues to attract a new following. “We re-launched this line this year with a 10-piece collection in three colours. Like the original collection, this one uses film stills in the temples, but we have managed to hugely improve the quality. The film strip is now laminated which protects it and the temples hold the film securely. We will soon be offering film choices.”

“Tipton has always had recycling at its heart”

And as with many of the most creative and innovative of the independent labels in this industry, there is always something new in production, or a special collaboration underway. One of the latest at Tipton, in production when Eyestylist was invited to Budapest in May, involves Nespresso. “Tipton has always had recycling at its heart. Vinylize transforms old vinyl records into eyewear. Cinematiq uses old film strips. Recycling is one of the brand aspects Tipton is known for and this is why Nespresso approached us to make frames out of their recycled aluminium capsules. We have designed and produced a three-piece collection – available in four colours. The material for the frames is produced from their used capsules. A trial run was launched in May and the response was astounding. We expect to see it released for purchase from January 2019.”

“Shook” : VINYLIZE x AC/DC

Similarly, Vinylize has a link up with AC/DC in a special edition collection that’s fresh, young and already sported by some huge stars in the music business, including Shawn Mendes. This collection, along with other one-off -new editions, will show to international buyers at SILMO Paris this month. It’s already available in specialist optical boutiques, in Europe and further afield. “The expanding Vinylize x AC/DC is coming to Paris. We will also release our colored vinyl collection – and a very special CINEMATIQ edition with footage from the “The Godfather” and some vintage erotic film. It’s an exciting time!”

Tipton Eyeworks is located at Iranyi utca 20, Budapest 1056, Hungary. The showroom and studio welcome visitors to see how the frames are created. VINYLIZE Eyewear is available worldwide at selected stores and online at www.vinylize.com CN

Designer of the future: Becky Hong

Award-winning fashion graduate Becky Hong studied Millinery Design at the Royal College of Art, and fell in love with eyewear, now one of her principle design projects and – she hopes – a possible career path. Eyestylist first met her at the 100% Optical fair in 2017, when she won the fair’s student competition with an exceptional design project entitled My Tribe – in that year students were asked to consider the wearer and their activities and lifestyle, by designing a frame for a specific person and specific use. Becky considered the frame’s capacity to work like make-up. https://www.eyestylist.com/2016/12/rca-x-100-optical/

This year, Eyestylist returned to London to meet Becky at her RCA finals show in June. All that Solidity, All that Fragility – RE-FORM looked at breaking – in eyewear and millinery – to ‘re-create’,  says the young designer.

“Through challenging the possibilities of the construction based on materiality, the technique of breaking, displacing and replacing both the lenses and the frame itself is reflective of the wearer’s impermanent real life experience and fragility of the wider society…”

The project offered exciting ideas in lens design concepts and frame functionality, extending not only through the refined reconstruction of the “broken” and “reconstructed” designs themselves but also in a strong, minimal concept in packaging. For more details about the young designer visit www.beckyhong.com CN

Eyeshaker: spotless frames

Eyeshaker is the innovative, practical and proficient way to clean spectacles. The Austrian based creators Martin and Andreas Lasnik (top image) tell Eyestylist the story behind their idea.

How did the creative concept evolve for Eyeshaker? “The vision was to clean your eyewear and do it in a cool and stylish way. You can place the Eyeshaker canister in your kitchen; office or bathroom, because you need it every day. Our target was to make the cleaning container look like a unique decoration or part of your furniture. And here it is…the stylish matt black canister with which you gently shake your glasses – frame and lenses – rendering a beautifully clean result.”

Eyeshaker – cool and stylish

Were there challenges in developing this eyewear accessory? “Sure…it’s always a challenge to create a product. The important thing for us was that the consumer gets 100% clean glasses. Not just lenses, also the frame, nose pads, silicone parts, everything. So it was a lot of work to find the perfect cleaning solution and cloth to make that happen. And finally, we had to tell the optician that this is the perfect add-on sale to every pair of glasses, and the best cleaning solution for the customer.”

What customer feedback have you received about this unique product? “People love it. The way it works; the soft shaking; how it looks: everybody has fun now cleaning their eyewear. They love the feel of putting glasses on the nose after cleaning them. It’s almost like you’re wearing a new pair of glasses.”

The complete Eyeshaker kit: canister, cleaning solution and cloth

How do you market Eyeshaker? “At the moment we sell them to almost every country in Europe. Step by step we are working on the distribution all around the globe. It’s important for us to work with the opticians in a good and fair way…so we are really taking care about how we market Eyeshaker.

Your recently launched the inventive, very adaptable LASNIK Jacket. Are there other items that you would like to launch? “Absolutely…we are working on a LASNIK Shirt where you can store your glasses; it will be perfect for summer. But we are also working on new cleaning products for eyewear, and also on our eyewear brand SEEOO. We are always trying to create something smart, easy, cool or with practical options to simplify the life of the consumer.” www.eyeshaker.com JG

Fashion illustrator: Julie @DrawPaintDesign

Fascinated by Vogue and the work of couture designers, fashion illustrator Julie McGrath says she finds inspiration in creating their intricate designs on paper. With a profound love of fashion and art, her illustrations reflect a fascination for people watching and a great love for twisting proportions. She also finds creativity and inspiration in the imaginations of her children.

Can you tell us about your background in the arts? Originally from Massachusetts, I am now living in Florida. I attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston earning a bachelor’s degree in Art focusing in Art History. From there I went on to study in Illustration and Design, earning a Master of Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design.

And now? I’ve completed a second Masters at SCAD, this time in Art Administration. I teach visual arts and humanities at colleges and universities, and continue to evolve and nurture my style daily.
How long have you been an illustrator? Since I could hold a pencil. But really I only started considering myself an “illustrator” over the last five or six years. That is when I found my groove and my style.

Inspiration: Chanel resort 2018

When did you develop an interest in fashion and accessories?
In college. ‘Vogue’ became much more about the artistic concepts and less about the models and the consumer side of things. I started to understand it more as a form of art. Alexander McQueen had a pretty major influence in that understanding. With my love of art and this new understanding of fashion, my style was born! It took me a number of years to get into a rhythm with my specific style.

Who is your favorite designer? Some designers that always grab my attention are Dior, Giambattista Valli, Gucci, YSL…..I could go on and on! I love what Maria Grazia Chiuri is doing with Dior. Gucci is ALWAYS fun to draw.

“Sometimes it’s just about the hair and the shades” – @drawpaintdesign

Do you have a favorite illustration? I cannot say I have a specific favorite drawing. I truly love them all in different ways. However, the most fun are always the illustrations with sunglasses. Yes, my sunnies obsession plays a factor but also those are always the best when they are finished. Those illustrations always get the most attention and reaction and people truly love them.

In terms of the illustrations, I always make it my own by reminding myself that this is my work. In college when I took fine art focused classes, the point was always to draw what you see. I had a hard time shaking that idea and it haunted me in a lot of my illustration classes and then earlier in my career. At one point it just hit me, this style of drawing is mine; I can do what I want. So when I deter from the original image and give a twist on the human form I remind myself it is my work for me. I can do whatever I want.

Instagram: @drawpaintdesign / For commissions and further information: https://www.drawpaintdesign.com CN


WOOW Eyewear: behind the brand

In 2011, the French eyewear company FACE A FACE launched a second brand, WOOW, a colourful stylish line of off-beat frames with engaging messages on the temples. Eyestylist met the young designers behind the catchy concept, Claire Ferreira and Marianne Dezes (above).

How did you come up with “WOOW” eyewear? In 2011, we had been working on the possibility of creating another brand in addition to FACE A FACE. We wanted it to be young and fresh with an accessible price. We started with the concept of the frame, and focused on the temples or arms which face each other – the original focus of FACE A FACE. We imagined them starting to chat to one another – and that was the beginning of this very different idea. We now see the WOOW label as the child of FACE A FACE.

WATCH OUT1 by WOOW Eyewear

Why WOOW? Woow is a palindrome, a fun “sound” that people use as an expression for many different things. You can say it any way you want and it is totally spontaneous. As a collection name, it works perfectly with the witty phrases on the temples. We wanted to see if we could create a new relationship with eyewear through this name, inspiring happiness, joy and hope through British inspired humour, colour and the personal touch of the words on different frame styles.

How are the frames styled? The shapes are always trendy and fashionable, for the young and the daring. The touch of colour is really specific in the combination of materials. Our inspiration came from London, but always with a strong influence, naturally, from our own French taste. One of our idiosyncratic design details – highlighting the words at the temple tips – came from the design of the old-fashioned typewriters and their classic round keys.

Make Sense1 by WOOW Eyewear

As designers, you have created something completely different. Are you pleased with the results? WOOW is like our baby, it’s a collection we adore! When we were training, we didn’t only learn about shape and colour and product design, for us designing means thinking too – and coming up with new ideas. With WOOW we had the chance to oversee all the steps, from the concept to the creation of the actual frames, giving life to a brand with an evolution that we hope our wearers will truly enjoy. you don’t just choose a frame with WOOW, it’s really about choosing a lifestyle!

Watch Out3 by WOOW Eyewear

Tell us about the styles releasing this month? The new collection includes different looks: a more “working girl” styling, through to architectural shapes and, on the other hand, some very feminine frames. Bigger trendy silhouettes and a mix of more unusual colours stand out. Our frames are tempting like sweets –  it’s difficult choose which one to go for! For more details about WOOW, visit www.wooweyewear.com CN

Dayle @artfulcitystyle NYC

New Yorker Dayle from @artfulcitystyle describes herself as “combining art and style in Manhattan”. A former advocate and public speaker, today, alongside a busy volunteer job in an art gallery, Dayle is the star of an Instagram account with 20.5k followers created with professional photographer, Denton Taylor (www.dentontaylor.com). Dayle’s clever approach to personal style and enthusiasm and openness to trying new things has turned her into a fashion influencer with particular appeal to a fashion-aware over 40 audience. Eyestylist asked her about her inspiration and passion for clothes, accessories and statement eyeglasses.

Your expertise in styling accessories and eyewear has developed out of a love for fashion and art. Tell us more. I have always viewed style as a form of self-expression. So dressing myself—figuring out how to accessorize an outfit or how to combine pieces— is my art form. I have always been drawn to the arts—both visual and performing arts. I did musical theater for years, worked in an art gallery when I was in school, and now, in my retirement, am a docent at an art museum.

Your unique style involves combining outfits with interesting accessories and glasses/sunglasses. Have you always done this? Accessorizing is something I have always done and had fun with. Social media has not changed anything about how I put myself together. It merely allows me to share it with a larger audience.

Above: Dayle wears VAVA spectacles – model WL 0009 in Mazzuchelli bioplastic- a 100% recyclable  material (www.vavaeyewear.com). Photography by @dentontaylor for @artfulcitystyle / NYC.

Dayle wears theo glasses (www.theo.bePhotography by @dentontaylor

Eyewear is for you a statement. Do you shop for frames in one optical store and can you tell us about it? Do they offer you style advice or do you seek out particular shapes or colours depending on your apparel/jewellery for the season? Are they finding “original” frames for you or are you shopping around? I buy most of my glasses from Petite Optique (www.petiteoptique.com) in New York. They have a great selection of unique frames. They know me well and know what I like and what will look good on my face and still work with my prescription. I tend to do best with round frames. I am also looking for frames that are unusual and that most resemble art.

How did you come to select the VAVA frame? I had been looking for black frames for quite a while, but wanted something that didn’t look too severe, since I am very fair-skinned. I tried on many many black frames until I saw the VAVA and fell in love with that.

Dayle wears theo glasses – Photography by @dentontaylor

Can you offer any tips on styling eyewear, for anyone who has not considered that their specs are in fact an extension of their personality. How can we approach the overall look and coordinate with everything else we wear successfully? Many people find it difficult to pull off and need to find that confidence. I think that eyeglasses are a great accessory. As long as you need to wear them, celebrate that! I either use eyeglasses to bring a pop of color to an outfit or to color coordinate with what I am wearing. Finding shapes that work best on your face is extremely important.

What have been your favourite frames to wear in terms of shape, colour or unique design? 
I mostly wear round frames and I like large glasses. I have a lot of glasses by theo. They come out with interesting and unique designs every year and also have great colors!

Find the eyewear featured in this story at Petite Optique, New York – www.petiteoptique.com. Browse the collections at: www.vavaeyewear.com / www.theo.be CN

Frame Chain, London

Annie and Vanessa are the founders of London brand Frame Chain, a fast moving eyewear accessories brand that is pushing all the right buttons in fashion retail and leading optical boutiques, across the world. As the duo get ready to pack their bags for Capsule, Eyestylist asked them to explain their quick path to success.

How did it all start? (Annie:) I have champagne taste and lemonade budgets! I lost about four pairs of glasses in a week and couldn’t afford to replace them. So I bought a cheap chain for my last pair. I would scour Europe looking for chic ones that didn’t look like a shoe lace or turn my neck green. I failed! So I hounded my then flat mate, soon to be business partner and best friend to make some- she was designing jewelry at the time. To shut me up she suggested we do it together, and FRAME CHAIN was born.

Liberty were the first retailer to stock us in 2014, and they continue to. This is incredible validation and we used their nod of approval to grow confidence in our idea. We have awesome stockists around the globe- mainly independent kick-ass optical boutiques with incredible talent for curated store concepts. We have been suprised by the success in Greece. The Middle East can’t get enough of the pearls! We are in Spain, France, Portugal, and even the Maldives and Taiwan.

Full Figaro – Frame Chain

You are both creative and very entrepreneurial…would you agree? Thank you for that – it’s a huge compliment. We both love to do things – to make things happen, to go on adventures and be useful! Vanessa is much more creative than I am. She can draw, design, build you a wall, design a house and bake incredible cakes! She is always thinking laterally; her approach to life is unique and pure. She has her own business already and thrives on having freedom to make things happen.

My nick name is ‘the whirlwind’- I am so excitable and determined that if you don’t know me it could feel like you are in a whirlwind. When I have my mind set on something, I make it happen. I studied biology, chemistry and maths, but I love to draw and make things with my hands. That 50/50 ‘left brain right brain’ gives me a good foundation for business. Plus we are both from up north and LOVE to talk and meet new people.

FRAME CHAIN : worn with glasses

We like to think we are two sides of the same coin, two minds, one vision. We ebb and flow in and out of different roles. We are both designing, both selling, both creating. I do more of the spread sheet things and Vanessa does more of the visual and creative things. We do what we need to to make our little dream a reality. There is no formula!

What has been your most “creative” and exciting project so far? We are working on it as as we speak. But we LOVED doing the pop-up with Cutler & Gross.

One of you lives in London, and one of you in Spain. Does this effect the business in a positive way and if so how? It means we have to be focused, organized and efficient. That can only be good. It means we have different sources of inspiration and two home offices – one significantly sunnier than the other.

FRAME CHAIN: choose from different colours and finishes

Can you describe your latest chains in the collection as there were a few new ones at SILMO, and tell us what you feel your direction is in 2018. We always start with the idea of jewelry. Chains that we want to wear – first and foremost – as a necklace or increasingly as earrings. This season, we focused on that a lot, developing it in three ways:

– the pearl range expanded, with new colours and sizes. Pearls are a trend and here to stay and we are having a lot of fun with this. We are playing with the idea of earrings. So styles like ‘loop de loop’ and ‘drop it’ have embellishments perfectly placed to hang like earrings. There is more of this to come for the summer and the the festival season. And now we are really playing with colours. By introducing rhodium and black enamel for our more masculine fans, we have pushed more rose gold and mixed the metals and colours on one chain. Find more details at www.framechain.com CN

French eyewear, Plein Les Mirettes

French Eyewear by Pascal Guidice and Christophe Morcamp

Plein Les Mirettes glasses are produced near Evreux, Normandy. Pascal Guidice and Christophe Morcamp shared their eyewear story since creating their women’s eyewear label in January 2013.

Have you both been in eyewear for a while or did you begin your careers in different sectors? 
Christophe Morcamp: My first job was managing visual impairments and strabismus as an orthoptist. Then, over the years after further training in optics, I took a position as an assistant ophthalmologist. At the same time I created two optical shops in Normandy. This was a new experience and allowed me to learn about French eyewear very quickly. I fell in love when shopping for my stores with the creative collections. Making a collection of my very own soon started to appeal to me.
Pascal has a background in R&D, purchase management and finance – in other areas of business. It is the union of our complementary skills that has enabled Plein Les Mirettes to establish itself as a specialist in women’s eyewear in just five years.

Hybride 1 – Plein Les Mirettes

Has it been difficult to grow your small label and what has been the main challenge? What has been the best thing for both of you?
We are lucky; the collection quickly finds an audience. The graphic quality and the traditional French production of our glasses enabled us to quickly find our place in a market which is already saturated.
In the first year, we opened more than 200 customer accounts in France, started exporting to Italy with Mattis our distributor there, and also to the Netherlands and Belgium. We were able to develop sufficiently for Pascal to leave his job to join me in this beautiful adventure in eyewear!

You are only designing women’s frames but their appeal is huge! What is your focus? Why do women love your frame styles?
Plein Les Mirettes is addressed specifically to women. I wanted to have fun drawing, but also to address a lot of women through these designs. I think women appreciate the glasses because they have been made especially for them!

Re-Belle 7 by Plein Les Mirettes

You have a sensitive colour palette – that is broad and quite complex in terms of the graduated effects and transparency. Is this a natural gift or has it taken a lot of work to arrive at this in acetate?
I have a natural sensitivity to colour that comes from my childhood. I was lucky to be surrounded by women with strong characters and assertive tastes. I learnt a lot about what they liked.

In recent years, what have been your favourite trips abroad? Tell us a bit about this experience.
We are both a bit wild and we occasionally enjoy partying with a few special friends. During the many trips that we are now making to the various eyewear fairs around the world, we go out very little and dedicate ourselves exclusively to work. However we sometimes take a few extra days away from the madness of Vegas or NYC; we enjoy walking around the streets of Copenhagen or making personal visits to see our distributor in Canada or Tel Aviv.

Fantasque X by Plein Les Mirettes

We are fascinated by your factory in Normandy and its traditional production. Feel free to talk about this as it must be a huge benefit for you to have an intimate relationship with your producers and to live so close to them?
Our production is just near our house and this is a major asset for our success. The workshop and the team working there are close to us and understand our tastes. Being “on the spot” allows me to have access to some of their acetate stock and I think it makes me more responsive to the demands of women and opticians. I can also have an eye on every step of the production and have some things changed in real time if need be. But just as much as this proximity, another important thing is our producer’s know-how and recognised expertise.

Finally, what do you both love doing outside eyewear? What inspires you and what makes you feel happy or creatively inspired?
Pascal and I love to spend our life at work. We have the chance to work together, and we have our offices within the floors of our house in Normandy.
We are very different in our interests. I love cooking, gardening, and spending time modifying the decor of the rooms in the house, drawing objects, clothes, accessories. Pascal loves reading and visiting museums; and he absolutely loves ‘shoes’. www.plein-les-mirettes.fr CN


Monica Fink and Sandra Kaufmann, Sol Sol Ito

A great fit and avantgarde style: Sandra Kaufmann and Monica Fink, the founders of award-winning Sol Sol Ito, who come from outside the eyewear sector, told Clodagh Norton about their approach to design, as their new styles launch for the coming season.

“As designers we need to be aware of our role in creating personality”

How did you come to set up Sol Sol Ito? We both wear glasses – me for distance (Sandra) and Monika for better close-up vision. We happened to be searching for a perfect frame which would fit correctly and then we started to create our own ideas. With our different optical prescriptions we felt this was a good starting point. The name of the brand came from Sausalito, the seaside town north of San Francisco.


What are your backgrounds as you are both from outside eyewear? Monika studied sculptural art in Barcelona and Geneva after an apprenticeship in design engineering. I am an industrial designer with years of experience in the Swiss watch industry. As a student, Sandra wanted to work at the Philippe Starck studio and ended up, by chance, working for Alain Mikli, a close friend of Starck and the eyewear partner of the Starck collection, where she learnt a lot about glasses.

You are keen on craftsmanship and quality – how did this come about and tell us a little about the frames – where are they made and what materials do you prefer? Traditionally, Swiss design is quite minimal, smart, adhering to a high quality standard. We are both innovation driven in our fields, and that’s why we started to work on a special hinge as a USP. For weeks, we were bending and cutting wire in Monika’s art studio. In the Swiss watch industry, we found a small manufacturer who was able to produce our metal parts. It’s difficult to produce our temples, although they look so simple. The acetate comes from Italy, and we put everything together in our studio in the centre of Zurich. We can check every detail of each frame ourselves, and that’s important to us.

Sol Sol Ito

Can you talk about the “open” design of the temple – the origin of this and how it has evolved since you started the collection? A strong, unique brand recognition is helpful for a newcomer in the market. We searched for an eye-catching design element that would be functional and aesthetically interesting. As we use the same temple shape for the different fronts, opticians can easily exchange the temple colours. Logistically this is interesting for a start-up: it’s the concept of an ‘eyewear kit’. Our first collection had very thick temples and was quite extreme; subsequently, we made the frames lighter and thinner and easier to adjust. Swiss people do not tend to wear heavy frames.

Sol Sol Ito

How does your use of colour represent the brand – you use some daring citrus and very bright tones, what inspires this mood? We don’t have a particular source of inspiration for the colour palette. We are inspired by many things, throughout the day – even with closed eyes you get wonderful inspiration. Monika is working on the colours, it’s her passion. The combination of a functional, technically inspired frame concept and an extreme, often elaborate colour range is our speciality. It’s a ‘feeling’, and something that’s in the air.

What is coming up in the collection? Cool new feminine pilot sunglasses in flashy colours. That’s what we will be wearing next season! Sol Sol Ito will exhibit at #SILMO50 in October. For more details visit www.solsolito.com CN Still life images by Hans Hansen.

Roberta Baines, Tavat Eyewear

If Roberta Baines is travelling, she’s likely to be somewhere beautiful, or supremely warm and sunny. From Tavat’s Italian HQ in the province of Treviso to the coast of California, her travels have brought business success and notoriety to the small independent brand, now well-known in the luxury eyewear community as the innovators of a unique hinge design in the “SoupCan” Series. We caught up with her in Europe between trips….

Explain how you are involved in the design of the TAVAT collection and its evolution? We are a family business, so everything we do is a collaboration and a conversation. My father, Jeremy, brings forth a lot of great “technical” ideas; whilst I have more of a feel for what’s happening in the market with regard to trends. I might know what we’re missing in our collection and where there’s opportunity and Jeremy will be able to apply that “TAVAT Touch”, ensuring there is always a technical imprint included. We work closely with our team of designers to ultimately create a new collection, and I focus on the details while Jeremy on the function and fit. Everything we do will have final approval from both of us.

Model Blinder by Tavat Eyewear

You are constantly ‘on the road’. Explain your love of travel and what have been the high points in the last couple of years? Travelling makes the world a lot smaller and makes you realize that despite the cultures… we, as people, aren’t very different. I thrive on being in a place I’ve never been to before. I’m influenced and inspired by other ways of life: the food, the colours, the language, the history, the scenery… I think once you start to travel, it’s really hard to stop.

I’m grateful that I am able to travel while simultaneously building our brand TAVAT. I get the opportunity to meet our team, understand new markets, trends and fashion on a local level and collaborate with amazing people from around the globe. It’s very hard to choose one high point – there are many! – but one that comes to mind, just because it has always been a lifelong dream, was to visit Thailand and I did have the opportunity last year after the Hong Kong show. It’s also very cool to see that TAVAT is growing very well there! There are a lot of special projects and ‘Thailand Exclusives’ in the pipeline. I can’t wait to share them!

Explain how the two designs pictured here represent TAVAT in 2017 and comment on any details/innovations they represent. This is only the start of us playing with our popular “SoupCan” frame… by applying unique manipulations, which, for SILMO, you’ll begin to see more and more. We are experimenting with various applications, even with different materials, to give an already progressive design even more dimension. We continue to focus on the details, while continuing to improve on the overall function and fit of a frame. We often say “When Design is Limitless” – we’ll continue to do our best to make an even more intriguing product with a story to tell.

Pantos C 2.0 8mm Sea Foam Blue – Tavat Eyewear

Can you give our readers a hint of what you will launch this Autumn? In addition to further exploring our SoupCan Collection, our Tactile Collection is getting a whole new look and feel as we will be releasing 4 new styles, with a new hinge and, in my opinion, a much stronger message than ever before. In addition, we will be featuring our first capsule collection, together with a wildly talented “Art Center College of Design” student. We had an amazing “Design-Flash” last year at the University, and when you see what these guys can do, well, we couldn’t help but be inspired. We will be presenting the first frame this SILMO – we will have more to share on this soon. www.tavat-eyewear.com – Photo (top) exclusively for Eyestylist.com by Elisa Biscotti – www.elisabiscotti.de  CN

Nicola del Din, Blackfin

The CEO of Italy’s fast-growing independent titanium brand Blackfin, Nicola del Din, talked to Eyestylist about eyewear heritage and his passion for life outside optics. 

Tell us about you as a “creative”. Your training, biggest influences in terms of aesthetics/details/colours and your interests such as photography. I have a deep interest in technology, graphics and imagery. I have had this interest since I was at school. At that time, we didn’t have anything like the technological opportunities of today. But I was still very much into computers and I remember my first pcs…a Commodor 16, then the 64 and the Commodor Amiga which I used with a camera to make videos at school! I also love digital photography and the opportunities we have now to modify imagery via apps and special programs.

Music is also one of my great interests, particularly with the multimedia aspects: video represents the perfect synthesis of all my passions: IT, graphics and music, all in one! My work is to produce excellent eyewear and my passions can therefore become a function of my work. I couldn’t ask for more. I am very lucky for that – my job has become a life focus which I can develop and grow thanks to the contributions of many people around me.

Gold Beach by Blackfin

Blackfin is a young fast-growing company. What is the ingredient that been most important in allowing it to develop so successfully? Incredibly, the crisis. At the time and through the 1990s we were reflecting on our future, and what we were wanting to achieve. We realised that technical capabilities were not enough and that is was essential to have a strong communications strategy for the brand. So we started again. We are like a start-up but we are 47 years old! It’s a contradiction in terms but that’s what has happened: we combined our experience in production with a new fresh enthusiasm to start out on a new adventure.

Blackfin has its own design team, but you are clearly a creative “driving force” when it comes to campaigns and marketing? Blackfin today is the ideal realisation of the potential I could see 10 years ago. And this vision is not just about the product, but rather a precise image and method of communication. The amazing thing is it just keeps running: my head is firmly looking forward into the future.

Oyster Bay by Blackfin

Tell us about your collaborations which are far from ordinary? Our collaborations can be out of the ordinary and unexpected. This is because we go beyond the product to find shared social, geographic, moral and cultural values. This is the case with Cipriani: what we have in common is the constant research dedicated to offering excellence in Italian products. Excellence understood as authentic luxury which, as Arrigo Cipriani reminds us, is the expression of a complex simplicity.

We found a similar synergy with Andrea Bocelli. Andrea is a great artist, and an Italian man of great integrity. Our collaboration with him and his Foundation represents sharing a vision towards Italian excellence and authenticity. Continue reading “Nicola del Din, Blackfin”

Annette Esto – FLEYE Copenhagen

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.”


Larry by FLEYE Copenhagen

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.”


Optical chic: Lennox by FLEYE Copenhagen

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.”

Aneka by FLEYE Copenhagen

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.”

Forup by FLEYE Copenhagen

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

The Karmoie Culture – Kirsten & Lars Iverson

The Norwegian independent brand Karmoie derives its name from the Sanskrit word karma meaning “action” or “deed” and the French word joie for “joy”. With this stimulating philosophy, Kirsten and Lars created the company in 2013 with their concept of excellence, integrity and quality. Karmoie was awarded The Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury, for the brand’s commitment to protect the planet’s resources. They share their perspective with Eyestylist.

Please tell us about how Karmoie was created. “We knew that we wanted to create a business that reflects our values and our personalities. Social commitment and creating a product that feels as good as it looks was at the core. The idea of doing that within the industry came to us as we were driving around in the South of France. It was one of those moments where everything just felt right. We knew we had a lot of research to do and an industry we knew nothing about to figure out, but we just had to go for it.”

Your designs are streamlined and pure – how do you develop your concepts? “We don’t really launch extensive new collections every season; rather we add on a couple of styles so our collection is always made up of both models from the first years and a few new releases. Whenever we develop a new model we make sure that it fits in with the rest of our frames, and that the colour palette remains cohesive.”

Karmoie Star in Black

What inspires you – nature, architecture, colours – when you are creating frames? “We are inspired by everything that surrounds us. Our friends and family, their style and requests give us ideas. While fashion is always inspiring, the pace of fast fashion is so stressful, so we seek more towards architecture and interior design, as that feels more built to last. When it comes to colours, we believe that nature is flattering on everyone, so our colour palette and patterns are based on soft, natural shades.”

Karmoie Nucleus in Kelp
Karmoie Nucleus in Kelp

How did your partnership with Eyejusters come about? “We had seen a segment on The Colbert Report about social innovation that featured adjustable glasses. Since we are not opticians or optometrists ourselves, the way Eyejusters work, allowing anyone to participate in distributing glasses, really resonated with us. With more than 700 million people worldwide without access to refractive care, it is great to be able to recruit anyone who wants to participate in helping. It also makes it possible to reach out to very remote areas that are hard to access with trained personnel and advanced equipment.”

Karmoie Rise in Twig

Karmoie is now entering its fifth year – what is the most rewarding aspect of your work? “We love hearing feedback from our customers and from our donation projects. Seeing people wear and enjoy our eyewear validates all the effort we put into creating them. Hearing from our donation partners and following the important work that they do in the field gives us hope and motivation.”

Any additional insights you would like to enumerate about Karmoie? “We believe that every positive action has a positive impact. We created a brand that is mindful of the importance in all the big and small choices we make on our way to the final product. For this we have been awarded the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark. Awareness is spreading and we are proud to be part of it.” www.karmoie.com JG

Birgitte Falvin, Falvin Eyewear, Denmark

Our eyewear world is full of inspirational and passionate women. Designer Birgitte Falvin from Denmark is relatively new to, starting her career in jewellery. “Jewellery has been my playground from the early days, I have worked with many different aspects of the creative process in jewellery.  In the beginning, while I was still studying surface design, I was creating handmade pieces that were sold in independent fashion boutiques in Florence and Copenhagen. The collection had a couture feel, and the statement pieces were eco-friendly. I used a mix of materials, such as vintage pearls, gold wire and couture yarn. I was very interested in surface design and fashion jewellery, and was happy to discover that the department for surface design at the Designskolen Kolding (where I was studying) had a similar approach to the design process as the Institut for Ædelmetal – the design department for jewellery design in Copenhagen.”

Falvin bestseller in rose gold and aubergine

Birgitte launched her first eyewear collection in September 2015, and today she is working exclusively on luxurious titanium designs. “Titanium is a lightweight material making it the perfect choice for fashionable, oversized frames. Falvin´s frames often get compliments for their comfortable fit. I find the clean look of titanium interesting, and I like to soften the design with matte and shiny precious lines of rose gold, palladium and 24 carat gold.”

Classic luxury at Falvin Eyewear

Today, the collection makes a feature of luxury diamonds, beautiful hand cut lens details and unexpected colour mixes. The frames combine an aesthetic attitude with the edginess of Nordic architecture, optimizing the genius of Danish and Japanese craftsmanship. “As a designer, I always look forward to the development of new collections. There are so many possibilities and materials to explore. It is exciting to watch the the brand grow and expand.”

The Royal Black Diamond, Copenhagen

Architecture remains a source of design inspiration for every detail, as it did when the brand first launched. Birgitte explains: “At the beginning, my husband and I walked around Copenhagen, seeking a strong source of inspiration for an elegant eyewear concept. The Royal Danish Library, the iconic modern library building was the perfect inspiration for a collection that represented a blend of contemporary elegance and a cool aesthetic attitude, strongly infused with Nordic references.”
Copenhagen’s iconic Black Diamond houses the Royal Danish Library. “Its irregular angles fascinated me. When the light reflects off the building’s granite-clad surfaces, magic happens. The Falvin team visited the building many times at different hours to see the changing light and colours and to study the building inside and out. We took a lot of photographs, enjoying the asymmetrical design and the beautiful colour palette.”
Today, all Falvin´s frames are based on this concept, and the graphic references are paired with matte and shiny yellow gold, rose gold and palladium details. Frames can be customised with sparkling Wesselton diamonds that recall the glittering surface of the water that surrounds the Black Diamond. Falvin Eyewear will exhibit at Copenhagen Specs this weekend. More details: www.falvineyewear.com CN

Silvana Stefanovic-Riley @embellish_or_perish

Silvana Stefanovic-Riley @embellish_or_perish talks to Eyestylist about glasses, Advanced Style, and a lifelong passion for fashion…

“I started wearing eyeglasses to correct short-sightedness in high school,” says Silvana when we start to look into her first experiences of eyewear. “In those days I saw this as an impediment and I only wore glasses when I absolutely had to.” It’s a common reaction, yet, after a while, like many, she found a new direction in her glasses.

“Over time I relaxed into wearing my prescription sunglasses and started to appreciate them as an accessory that can enhance the look rather than detract from it. As for sunglasses, having lived in Australia for over 40 years, this harsh sunlight requires good sun protection for eyes.”

Photo credit (above): Lauren Farley of @doculifephotography

Photo credit: Lauren Farley of @doculifephotography
Photo credit: Lauren Farley of @doculifephotography

Explaining her favourite styles, Silvana is inspired by design and individuality: “I love colour and accessories. This makes it easy to find glasses to suit each outfit, mood and occasion. Each year, I buy two pairs of prescription glasses or sunglasses to add to my collection. I have recently purchased this year’s glasses. I have sent one of these frames to Brazil to be hand painted by the talented Erida Schaefer of La Frida Eyewear.”

Sunglasses in particular provide an opportunity for some fun and self-expression. With a sizable collection Silvana says she is always on the lookout for new and different sunglasses to add to the stash. “On occasion. sunnies also provide a much needed confidence boost by covering up the effects of the odd sleepless night. I often take selfies in the same outfit but change the sunglasses and the difference that sunglasses make to the overall aesthetic is incredible, she says.

LaFrida handpainted Eyewear by Erida Schaefer - Brazil
LaFrida handpainted Eyewear by Erida Schaefer – Brazil

Advanced Style
“I had followed Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style Blog and IG for a number of years as a ‘passive’ observer,” explains Silvana when we ask about her pictures in Advanced Style.  “I do not recall how I initially came across Advanced Style in the first place, however there was a recurring theme of older women using personal style as a form of self-expression. These women radiate vitality, zest for life and creativity that defies the societal expectations of older people. Older people in general, and especially older women with grey hair, are not seen as being at the forefront of social change. Yet the Advanced Style movement initiated by Ari Seth Cohen is now a worldwide phenomenon.”

Through Ari’s Blog and Instagram, Silvana got to ‘know’ many other Advanced Stylistas, and learnt what gives them the life’s energy to continue to be active, creative and self-expressive older women. “I always thought that I would eventually become somehow involved with the spirit of this sentiment”, she explained. “However full-time work and other family commitments alway took precedent. Despite this, my interest in the Advanced style phenomenon continued. I admired the first Advanced Style Book, then the Documentary movie and eventually the second book – Advanced Style Older and Wiser.” Continue reading “Silvana Stefanovic-Riley @embellish_or_perish”

theo+Tim Van Steenbergen: Pictures at an Exhibition

Numerous and varied inspirations influence designers, and for Tim Van Steenbergen (above) his muses include music, opera and ballet. He has created costumes for Richard Wagner’s The Ring; La Scala in Milan; and the Staatsoper in Berlin, and now the Ballet Viaanderen. His latest foray is a personal interpretation of Limited Edition sunglasses based on the ballet masterpiece of Maurice Ravel –Pictures at an Exhibition. The composition is by Modest Mussorgsky, in an orchestration by Ravel, and is part of a triple bill performed by Ballet Viaanderen in Belgium.

Van Steenbergen shared with Eyestylist some of the background events for the Limited Edition glasses. “The idea was one big creative process,” said Van Steenbergen,”as when I started this project with Ballet Viaanderen, I wasn’t thinking about creating new frames. However, I discussed this with some colleagues, and realised the stage is dominated by five golden frames, and the story of a world in front of and behind the frames: to watch while being watched.

theo+Tim Van Steenbergen Limited Edition in black & gold - Pictures at an Exhibition
theo+Tim Van Steenbergen Limited Edition in black & gold – Pictures at an Exhibition

“That reminded me of frames. People are looking at you through the frame, and you look back at them. And just at that moment, theo asked me about creating a special Limited Edition! The main thing about the frames is ‘being watched.’¨ That’s why I chose the golden aspect – and it also refers to the golden frames onstage, which the dancers move through. With the golden mirrored lenses people look at you; but you don’t show them everything.”

The dance idiom in the ballet is tranquil and fluid, and translated into eyewear – this means bold forms in black, highlighted with golden edges in 24-carat gold. The reflective gold lenses are a reference to the interaction with the artist – or in this instance – the wearer. Six elegant models are available, wrapped in a cleaning cloth with a pattern from the costumes designed by Van Steenbergen for Pictures at an Exhibition, and stylishly packaged in a protective hard case. www.theo.be JG


Smoke x Mirrors: eyewear with artistry and attitude

Smoke x Mirrors – the New York label that launched last year – is the creative endeavour of two cousins: David Shabati and Roi Ironi (above). Roi tells Eyestylist how they started their business.

Please give a brief history of how Smoke x Mirrors was created? “It started in Mexico when I lost my glasses. I went out to replace them, but couldn’t find anything I liked – it all looked the same to me. After this, I couldn’t help but to explore, and that’s when I recognised the lack of innovation in the industry, and the white space waiting to be tapped into. After working in the watch business, a very traditional industry from a manufacturing standpoint, I saw eyewear as an opportunity and vehicle to really express creativity, and push technology to reach the desired design level.”

Smoke x Mirrors GeoII
Smoke x Mirrors GeoII

How would you describe the fashion concept and philosophy of Smoke x Mirrors? “We approach eyewear as a means of fashion innovation. Outside of our core collection, we release diverse, radically different capsule collections, and collaborations that don’t necessarily adhere to a set identity – that’s where the name comes in. It gives us the freedom to play and experiment with design, to push boundaries on the technical and aesthetic level. ”

Artful geometrics: GeoII
Artful geometrics: GeoII

What is the customer profile – and consumer marketplace – of the Smoke x Mirrors frame wearer? “Our glasses are genderless and ageless. Simply put, my girlfriend and my father wear the same frames.”

As newcomers to the eyewear industry – what are the biggest challenges so far? “The classic industry is not relevant as it is today, but is undergoing a seismic shift that we’re set to lead.”

Double bridge sunglasses with a difference: GeoIII by Smoke x Mirrors
Double bridge sunglasses with a difference: GeoIII by Smoke x Mirrors

In the next three years, how do you foresee Smoke x Mirrors developing your own identity, and distinguishing your brand in the eyewear business? “In terms of identity, time is not relevant – whether’s it’s now or in three years, we’ll still be Smoke x Mirrors.” www.smokexmirrors.com  Smoke x Mirrors will present their latest capsule collection – GEO –  at Silmo in Paris 23rd-26th September. www.silmoparis.com JG


Brent Zerger – Urban Creative Spirit

What feeds a Creative Spirit? For Brent Zerger, Director of Communications at l.a. Eyeworks in California, it’s the arts, architecture, eyewear and food! Insightful, curious, blessed with a deliciously wicked sense of humour, and a passionate eyewear advocate, Brent shares his views on life and living with Eyestylist.

Please give us a brief profile about your professional career.  “After graduate school, my professional career began in the contemporary art world. I worked for nearly a decade in a curatorial/programming capacity with The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) here in Los Angeles; also as an independent curator; and as a public art officer helping to oversee the artworks in the MTA transit system of L.A. county. The second big chapter of my career began as the manager of a retail store for l.a. Eyeworks that opened in 2002. I became Director of Communication for the company in 2007 and the story continues!”

What sparked your passion in eyewear? “True story: my passion for eyewear began as a passion for l.a. Eyeworks as a brand. Growing up in the relatively rural Midwest, there weren’t a lot of cultural avenues to explore – and I was hungry! But I remember somehow getting my hands on Interview magazine and taping the l.a. Eyeworks portrait ads to my bedroom wall. I was hypnotised by their glamour, mystery, and incredible energy. That I would one day stand in Greg Gorman’s studio to watch him shoot one of those portraits is such a meaningful completion of a circle for me.”

If you could have been born in another era, what century would you choose, and why? “Truly, there isn’t one I would choose. I’m happy in this time and place. BUT…if I could have misspent my young adulthood in southern California in the 1960’s, I imagine that would have been a very fine thing.”


The dynamic dining scene in L.A: Brent with restaurateur Lien Ta at the opening of Here's Looking At You, her first restaurant in Koreatown, co-founded with chef Jonathan Whitener.
The dynamic dining scene in L.A: Brent with restaurateur Lien Ta at the opening of Here’s Looking At You, her first restaurant in Koreatown, co-founded with chef Jonathan Whitener.

l.a.Eyeworks is based in Los Angeles – do you think the city continues to be an international, inspirational source for art, fashion, etc.? “For many reasons, it’s hard to comprehend the breadth of Los Angeles and the scale of the things that are produced here. It’s a full spectrum show. From the scientific geniuses working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the worst reality TV, from superstars of the art world to Star Wars-branded non-dairy coffee creamer, love it or hate it: what L.A. ‘says’ is incredibly influential. Los Angeles is so engaging to me because it’s constantly reinventing itself with little regard to the past, and an anxious grasp for the future. It can be daring, gorgeous, audacious, and horrible all at the same time. Whatever the case, it’s intensely visual and I love that. At this moment, what’s particularly interesting to me is watching these huge production fields – television, film, music – as they pivot to adapt to the realities of the proliferating on-demand economy. While this dynamic is being felt in every field (including fashion, travel, transportation, and so on), I’m keeping a keen eye on Hollywood because the stakes are so enormous. It’s a sea change of operatic proportions!”

Nowadays, who do you think most influences eyewear styles and market appeal? “I doubt my answers to this question would surprise anyone. Whether it’s celebrities or red carpet designers, or massive ad campaigns by mega-labels, I pay attention…and then I don’t. There’s the influence of those who know  how to meet all the expectations, and then there’s the influence of those who startle the world by going their own way. Personally, I’m so much more interested in any person I meet who sees their glasses as a way to stand out from the crowd. I don’t care if the frames came from a yard sale or a boutique; when I see anyone who’s wearing glasses to express their individuality and not their allegiance to trend, that’s when I get excited.”

Brent at an art fair at Paramount Ranch - where many Hollywood westerns were filmed - in front of L.A. based Paul McCarthy's 24-meter inflatable "Tree" sculpture, following its controversial exhibition in Paris on Place Vendôme.
Brent at an art fair at Paramount Ranch – where many Hollywood westerns were filmed – in front of L.A. based Paul McCarthy’s 24-meter inflatable “Tree” sculpture, following its controversial exhibition in Paris on Place Vendôme.

Please select a favourite fashion moment that inspires you. “What comes immediately to mind is the Apollo 11 spacesuit worn by Buzz Aldrin to walk on the surface of the moon in 1969. That helmet with the gold mirrored shield? Now that’s a radical, avant-garde garment! To me, the space suit says everything about the future we’ve come to live: the integration of apparatus and the body, not to mention the role of outfit as a metaphor for the complex relationship between humans and their environment. Right behind that as a close runner-up would be the fishtail gown that Divine wore in John Waters “Pink Flamingos,” which today looks almost like a prophecy!” www.laeyeworks.com JG

Top image: “Los Angeles is a fertile ground for amazing architecture.” Brent attending an event at the Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Laurel Canyon, designed by architect R.M. Schindler (1936). https://makcenter.org The MAK Center for Art & Architecture oversees the Fitzpatrick-Leland House http://www.hereslookingatyoula.com/#hlay


David Duralde

With great personal flair and style, plus fashion forward vision – meet David Duralde. Eyestylist speaks with the Chief Creative Officer at Kenmark Optical.

Please tell us about your professional career. “Raised in Southern California, an Orange County boy, I embraced the spirit of optimism, adventure and innovation that is key to the sunshine state. California has a tradition of creating trends that question convention – setting fashion on its ear with things like surf wear, sports and workout clothes to the boardroom, jeans at a formal dinner – nothing was sacred or precious in LA. From a town that lets a person make his own history, this was a fertile brewing ground for my creative start. Then moving to Los Angeles to study at UCLA, I was immersed in the looking good culture. So it was this strange mix living in a place and time when young ideas bucking the establishment were the norm, and people wanting to completely transform themselves through fashion, design and fitness – this became a major driver that convinced me I could make people look and feel better, and pay the rent. As I was fortunate enough to work under Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi from l.a.Eyeworks, I got an early taste of the importance of design reaching out to many disciplines in culture – fashion, architecture, music, photography, food, literature and fine art. In other words, I developed a huge desire to make the world more beautiful by expressing myself through design.”

What sparked your passion in eyewear? “From the minute I started as a product manager, developing eyewear under the tutelage of great spirited eyewear designers, I knew this was for me. It was incredible that I could be part of a team that opens people’s eyes to their own radiance and beauty. I learned so much about the craft and technology of making eyewear. It was incredible to me in the early 90’s that you could take machinery and techniques from other industries, and experiment with them for the first time in our industry. Most importantly I became so passionate about eyewear because it seemed you could do so many things from a design perspective to make eyewer unique, yet everyone thought it was just two circles, or rectangles and a bridge with temples.”


"Eyewear and sun wear is a great way for an individual to have access to creative and commanding design ideas." David Duralde
“Eyewear and sun wear is a great way for an individual to have access to creative and commanding design ideas.” David Duralde

Why and what do you think is the most original, spirited time period in fashion, that influences today’s eyewear industry? “I believe eyewear has the freedom to include many points of inspiration from many time periods. It’s a multitude of influences and influencers. The 70’s and 80’s glam story is timeless and elevating, while the chunky, funky 50’s nerd theme always makes people feel smart and edgy. I particularly like the attention to detail from the 30’s and 40’s that infuses an old English wallflower sexiness to the product.”

Please name three women and three men whom you think have profoundly influenced fashion? “Diana Vreeland; Miuccia Prada; Anna Wintour; Halston; Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein.”

Nowadays, what and whom do you feel are the most important motivators in fashion? “Looking good and creating a unique persona that communicates who you are is the key motivator to embrace fashion.”

Where are your favourite travel destinations – and why? “Paris – love the 24-hour energy and the fairy tale feeling every time you walk up and down the historical streets. Of course, exquisite chocolate at every corner doesn’t hurt either. Milan – I love the juxtaposition of industrial grit and sheer fashion polish in the DNA of this city. The delicious food is accessible to everyone at every price point, fresh, modern and straightforward. People work to live in this city, rather than live to work like most U.S. cities. Italian culture is a clear reminder that living life to the fullest every single day is the best mantra.” www.kenmarkoptical.com JG