Michele Claseri, Roveri Eyewear

The concept of ‘the modern day gentleman’ is more prominent and notable in today’s world than ever before – in an era where everyone’s aesthetic, style and bank-balance is up for scrutiny via social media and with the invention of globally platformed reality TV shows, the word ‘gentleman’ and its connotations today strive far from their original aristocratic origins. Cue Roveri Eyewear – an independent brand that embodies the classic, reserved, vintage aspects of an original ‘gentleman’ whilst being in keeping with the consistently on-trend, bold and ambitious traits of ‘the modern day gentleman’ we admire today. Roveri uses quality materials combined with elegant, striking design to produce a line of eyewear with the finesse of the luxury cars the brand’s creator is inspired by.

The luxury automotive business is a niche sector to say the least – what first ignited your love for cars in general, or was it more of a lucrative business temptation? My passion for cars began when I was 14. In Italy, we all used to ride mopeds around town with groups of friends. When I got my first car at the age of 18, I started going to many different car shows and dreamt of more expensive, luxury cars. It’s when I moved to Turin in 2009 to attend a car design school founded by Giugiaro that I started to appreciate the art and science behind cars.

Roveri Eyewear: RV018

I’m definitely more of a design person rather than a mechanical one, and it was during those 3 years of school that really started getting interested in this new type of material called carbon fibre – widely used in racing cars manufacturing. Nowadays, we can see this material used in many different car brands for their top of the range models, but until just a few years ago, it was way too expensive and time-consuming to be used in the production of cars. After school, I was accepted at Ferrari in Maranello for a six-month internship. It was here that I started working with really expensive vehicles and cultivated a passion for cars that only a small percentage of people can afford.

Automotive car brands like Ferrari and aspects of that industry like F1 have been an inspiration and aesthetic for so many within the fashion industry – were you always interested in style and dressing well, or did that grow from its association with luxury cars? I was born in Northern Italy and I moved to California in 2015. I had always been inspired by hip-hop culture and eagerly followed the streetwear style movement – when I was in school people used to make fun of my skate shoes; no one in Italy knew what they were at the time.

I used to buy shoes and hoodies from stores across the U.S.A and have them shipped to me in Italy for many years, keeping on top of the new streetwear trends. I had never really paid attention to the classic Italian dress style since everybody used to wear the same ”fancy” clothes in the streets of Milan or Bergamo, cities famous for their fashion-conscious populations.

When I moved to California, my views on fashion were totally transformed. I now pay more attention to the Italian way of dressing; it is elegant, sophisticated and less mainstream – and it is not that common here in California. For me it’s not about the brand of the clothing or accessories I am wearing, but its more about the style I portray. On reflection – I suppose I was dressing like an American while living in Italy, and more like an Italian now that I’m in America!

Agave Beach, California: Roveri’s founder is currently living in this area

Watches are a staple in a gentleman’s wardrobe – they are symbolic of many things including style, taste and success – an accessory that has also been linked to sporting and one that has evolved alongside those sports. What made you aware that sunglasses were the next high-end gentleman’s product to fill a gap in the market? I had been following different eyewear brands, and I loved the idea that small and independent labels are beginning to dominate the high-end market of luxury eyewear. Most people think that luxury sunglasses are limited to ‘big name’ brands – without even knowing that there is another world out there for luxury eyewear. The niche luxury eyewear brands and their high-end manufacturers use premium materials such as titanium and gold; the same materials used for luxury watches. Nowadays luxury watchmakers like Audemars Piguet, Panerai, Richard Mille and others are adopting forged and machined carbon fibre for their watch cases, and I thought that this type of material could have a nice fit in the eyewear market.

So far some brands have used carbon fibre for their frames, but the carbon used is laminated on a mould and has the same ”fabric” effect as the carbon used in cars and boats. The new way of machining the carbon from a block ( the same method used by those luxury watch brands) is a totally different way to approach this high-tech material. The machining process is more intensive, expensive, and time-consuming, but it results in an end product – be it a watch or a glasses frame – with a totally different look that replicates the pattern of Italian marble.

Roveri Eyewear is the only brand offering eyewear with this new type of carbon fibre manufacturing; we intend to keep releasing new frames with different combinations of engineered, forged and machined carbon fibre paired with other high-tech materials such as beta titanium and gold.

Roveri Eyewear: a new concept – the CLM-7

Why was the decision made for Roveri as a brand  to market solely towards not just men but ‘gentlemen’ ? Would you say there is a gap in the market to equip the gentleman of today?  Yes, I think there is a huge gap between people who just follow trends, and those who go deeper and decide to buy and wear different brands outside the mass market. This is relevant for any type of purchase; from a car to a watch, from a leather jacket to a pair of sunglasses.

At Roveri we cater to people who don’t buy a pair of sunglasses simply because they see someone they follow on social media wearing them, but because they appreciate the workmanship, the diligent and thorough process of how our sunglasses are made, and value a pair of sunglasses just like they would value a nice car or an expensive watch. Continue reading “Michele Claseri, Roveri Eyewear”

Jen Nollaig: wearable art, created in isolation

The Dublin-based designer shares her lockdown project, ‘Me, myself & eye’

Artist/designer Jen Nollaig developed a colourful collection of intriguing works centered around upcycling old eyewear frames, during the weeks of lockdown in March/April 2020. Nollaig has built a unique niche for herself in customised artworks, and has produced pieces for clients in the UK, NYC and Ireland.
“In lockdown, I needed to anchor my mind to something that made me feel at peace,” she explained,  “so I started to do what I love most and create.  For me this offers a way to escape; this is what this new collection is inspired by, a personal journey of escapism in isolation, an attempt to capture the current sentiment of the new days and feelings that I am experiencing.” Above: One of the new works: ‘Processing’ is created with layered cocktail sticks, hand painted and finished off with painted compressed polystyrene balls from an old bean bag.
‘Eyesolation’ – 1 by Jen Nollaig – worn by the artist

The works in the new series include ‘Eyesolation’ –  produced out of a deconstructed diamond belt Nollaig found in a charity shop and customised with ‘googley eyes’ fromher children’s craft box.

Jen Nollaig wearing ‘Adjustments have been made’

For ‘Adjustments have been made’ – the artist says she broke apart old eyewear frames to use as the base and layered crayons and colouring pencils on top.

Previous works by Nollaig with an Xmas ‘glitter’ and ‘bauble’ theme earned her the headline ‘Ireland’s most Christmassy woman’ (Irish Times in 2019). A custom design she created for a client in New York (@happyhappyphoenix) for the Afropunk Brooklyn festival brought the designer attention in WWD and Teen Vogue. Photographs by Jen Nollaig featuring the artist. Follow Jen Nollaig and hew new works on Instagram @jen_nollaig.

Daniel Liktor, neubau eyewear

The creative districts dotted around Europe as well as internationally are the most appreciated, curated and diverse locations for fashion, street culture and design – an eyewear brand inspired by such extraordinary places, seems to be no less. Daniel Liktor graduated University in his twenties and began working in bars, restaurants and pubs towards a career in the culinary industry. He then took an interest in cycling, which led him to product management in sports gear and edged him onto the path that would lead him into the fashion industry and the conception of a sustainable, urban spirited, lifestyle brand of eyewear named ‘neubau’.

How did the idea of ‘neubau’ – a brand of eyewear taking inspiration from creative districts and their inhabitants around the world, first come to light?  After Silhouette International took the decision to launch a new brand in 2014, part of the positioning process was to define a clear target group. As we wanted to focus on people with a certain mindset and use a place for the brand story, one came to the other. Austria, urban lifestyle, creativity and a name that can be pronounced all over the world led us to Vienna’s 7th district – named Neubau.

neubau eyewear: model Dominik in naturalPX – (colour stone grey matte)

Was alternative eyewear a gap in the market you have always seen in relation to your particularly creative social circle?   In all honesty no, not always. It was discovered and then developed out of a natural interest and curiosity I had in the area. I started to work with bicycles and other sports gear as product manager and had the chance to dive deeper into several industries, that are kind of linked to fashion. One day in 2014 I received an offer to meet up with the former CEO of Silhouette to talk about a project they were working on. We got along, shared the same ideas and vision, which was definitely linked to some gaps in the market we could see and 5 years later I must say, I definitely took the right decision to enter the eyewear industry.

Did ‘neubau’ always intend to supply sustainable eyewear (as opposed to solely high quality, artistically unique and stylish frames) ?  Yes, it was part of our DNA from day 1, as we had so many positive aspects at our fingertips, that stood out from the masses, like our local production in the centre of Europe, our waste-reducing production processes, and so on. After launching our sustainable plastic material naturalPX in early 2017 the story became more complete and more obvious to everyone.

Did sustainability organically manifest as an important factor due to the ‘urban’, ‘current’ and ‘stylish’ concept of the brand itself as well as its target market?  It absolutely did and does more than ever. Especially in times like today with all these relevant, popular and increasingly influential movements like Fridays for future, Plastic Patrol, just to name two out of many, awareness for the necessity of crucial behavioral changes towards a better future for our planet is rising. To me it is part of our culture.

neubau eyewear: cateye style Virginia

From the perspective of ‘point of sale’ – would you say many customers inquire about the sustainability of ‘neubau’? Is sustainability a prominent selling point that could make or break a sale?  Yes and no. To some the style itself is of more importance than the sustainable component, but those who do want a responsibly produced, sustainable product AND style don’t have to compromise any of those aspects with ‘neubau’. And that is great!

What would you say are the benefits and / or the disadvantages of using 3D printing in the manufacturing of your glasses? To start with the disadvantages, as there are only two that come to my mind, colouring is still very limited, as the process does not allow us to produce translucent plastics. The other is the high investment in machinery and competence to start production. As part of our philosophy is to produce our frames in-house, we had to learn this technique from scratch, which on the other side gave us the chance to re-think certain production processes, that are critical in 3D-printing, e.g. sealing the surfaces to avoid that colours from “bleeding out” or even fungi growing on your frame, and find our own solution for those challenges. In terms of design options, you can be very creative compared to other production techniques and very important to us, the production process produces almost zero waste. We just launched our new 3D-printed capsule collection “Côte du Soleil” produced out of 100% bio-based raw materials; our next step in becoming the most desirable, sustainable eyewear brand out there.

What inspires ‘neubau’ most in particular to either the people or the location of some of the creative districts you have mentioned like El Born in Barcelona or Shoreditch in London?  Both! Creative ideas and an open mindset mostly characterise the people living in those urban areas we like to refer to!

Is the inspiration ‘neubau’ derives from these special places and people used in just the aesthetic features of the range; colour, shape and so on or does it go further than that?  It goes further than that! We try to be as open-minded as possible, one of the characteristics that are typical for those places and its people we really admire. We hope it’s visible in our activities, our collaborations, our communication and last but not least, our products.

Bio-based and 3D printed – model Alain in special edition ‘Côte du Soleil’ by neubau

From reading ‘neubau’s’ Sustainability Guide, I gather the intentions of the brand’s sustainability and good ethics make special emphasis on future generations – what legacy will ‘neubau’ leave as one of a growing number of sustainable eyewear brands, that is different to the rest?  What we share with those of our competition who do care about sustainability too, is the mindset of supporting the environment. What goes beyond the others is our way to link the sustainable world to a certain style, as we believe sustainability can look and feel premium and up-to-date.

Just as ‘neubau’ eyewear beautifully dissects and draws inspiration from the most bustling creative capitals of our world – in the midst of a contagion, one of the most positive culminations of our isolation – where we are limited to little or no exploration, adventure or wandering, is that we have been forced to appreciate the beauty within our own localities and dwellings – some that were once hidden in plain sight. A brand as diverse and continually evolving as ‘neubau’ can be a source of both creative and non-creative inspiration for designers and consumers alike; creativity is an easily identifiable and relatable motif for us all – and that is what helps to set this brand apart from others. Interview by Victoria G. L. Brunton for Eyestylist.com. All rights reserved.

Conversations in lockdown: James Van Vossel

Thinking differently is what puts James Van Vossel apart in the field of eyewear. His work with Belgian label theo began in 2010, and has continued to flourish, alongside an ever expanding portfolio of innovative design products through very different disciplines. Most recently his work has included ‘Hollow’ for Modular Lighting Instruments (www.supermodular.com) and through the current lockdown – when not looking after the kids, he is working on ceramics, lighting concepts and tableware, from a studio style space in his workspace connected to his home.

Hollow by Modular Lighting Instruments: winner of an iF Design Award in 2020

From the theo collaboration, Van Vossel tells me how his work with eyewear continues to grow – always approaching the object “from a different angle”. He refers to one of the most distinctive enduring frames in his repertoire so far – James 6 (launched in 2012), a design which has an integrated ‘folded’ section which forms the nose piece of the design. From the front, the frame appears to have a missing piece. It’s a style that lives on in the theo collections, a reminder of the possibilities of bucking the trend, exploring alternatives, with an experimental ‘hands on’ process using moulds, modelling from life, far removed from what is more normal in eyewear production.

James 6 – first launched in 2012 by theo, worn by Wim, and still an eye-catcher in the collection

In Outlines, the line launched in 2018, James developed a concept based on prototypes crafted to scale – a mode of working that he prefers across disciplines where no predetermined outcome has been laid down. He produced a number of frame design studies in prototypes, giving a sense of the design and material and allowing him to see what works and what doesn’t.

Outlines for theo Sketch – © 2018 copyright protected Artworks,
Photography & Graphic Design!

“In the outline collection the radical and revolutionary step of starting with the shape of the lens was taken, allowing it to determine the further design of the glasses by extending the existing vocabulary of the lenses and allows them to continue into the frame”, he explains.

Outlines for theo Assembly – black and fluo pink

“In a natural way, the frame is then shaped and moulded around it as an outline, as a shadow image around the essence – the glass; thus creating an original tension between the frame and the shadow image.”

Current colorations in the Outlines collection at theo include signature brights, in combinations of black/fluo pink or the more demure black on black.

For more details about all James Van Vossel’s design work visit www.jamesvanvossel.com
For the eyewear collections, visit www.theo.be

Georgiana Boboc, Vintage Traffic

Eyestylist had the pleasure of meeting the delightful and enchanting Georgiana Boboc, one of the first pioneers in what we know now as the “social media influencing” industry, a connoisseur of all things fashion – particularly vintage and arguably one of the most genuine, talented and quirky individuals in the business today.

You are strong and confident in pulling off a plethora of colours and patterns in just one outfit – how do you choose what you wear, and why do you think you are drawn to such exuberant, vibrant materials and textiles? Fashion is ridiculous sometimes. It’s so hard to play with colours, I think you need to, or already be super open to wearing a rainbow and still feel comfortable about it and to own it. I’ve never worn something crazy to be the centre of attention – it’s because it puts me in a good mood; colours always do that for me – I was designed to wear them. Vintage is quite colourful actually; patterns, florals, geometrics – that’s why I’m so drawn to it. Most of my statement pieces are very bright.

Georgiana (above and top) in Demure sunglasses by Delalle

As Eyestylist is an accessories platform – what do you think the importance of accessories is in regards to your personal style / in the industry generally?  Oh my god – EVERYTHING – you can be super basic and just wear a white t-shirt, but as long as you have a sparkle of something; it could be a vintage bag that costs five euros, but it has a nice colour or nice details; brassware or buttons can be the focal point of a look. I have always been about details; matching my socks with the colour of my headband – I used to do crazier things in styling, but now I am a bit more chilled – I’m thirty two years old, I tried to introduce more black into my wardrobe but it’s SO hard.

When did this love-affair with colours and with fashion ignite for you – when did you become involved in the fashion industry? Just after I finished high-school, I lived in Romania so I didn’t have access to a lot of the fashion, but I was passionate about vintage before the craze of American bloggers – I started the Vintage Traffic blog in 2008; I was stuck in traffic, on the way to class – to my degree in Journalism, so it was an outlet to me; it was about women, society, models, the idea of ‘perfection’ and what is demanded of women in general – not just about fashion.

Georgiana : Paris is home

Given Vintage Traffic began as a more general fashion news / societal awareness blog – what is your stance on the drive towards sustainability in the fashion industry? I have noticed one of the biggest agencies in Paris – one that manages and organises the fashion shows for top brands has taken action towards sustainability this Fashion Week; they are reducing the plastic / paper waste of the shows they are running – I think that is amazing. It is essentially the overproduction of useless stuff that is temporary, they don’t mean anything to anyone, and they don’t help much, we are just realising that. I am still receiving envelopes from brands, paper invitations, that is so bad. I am conscious of it; I haven’t bought something new in such a long time – what I wear for Fashion Week, I wear for my daily life. Honestly, I don’t like being the same as everybody else so that’s another reason why I‘m saying NO to fast retailing. I love a Victorian dress with an oversized blazer – mixing antiquity with a flash of modernity, a touch of masculinity with a pinch of femininity, adding something androgynous to it – that’s just my style. If I got married again, I would wear a tuxedo.

Would you be more inclined to purchase from a brand that was higher quality / more expensive but 100% sustainable and ethical?  Yes of course if I was going to purchase an investment piece – that would be a contributing factor. I am vintage addicted, so I don’t put a lot of money into new clothes –but I see and understand the need for new sustainable brands, buying, wearing and selling vintage is a passion. It doesn’t pay – that is why you really need to be passionate about it, I never follow trends, but vintage always comes back – for example, I went through a phase some years ago of collecting the fannypack / bumbag… vintage Moschino, Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo etc… I was constantly criticised for wearing them, and now you see all the top brands reintroducing them and they have become a streetwear trend.”

Georgiana wears DeVour by Delalle – a 1970s infused octagonal frame

You’re very selective about the new brands you purchase or wear and showcase to your following – we have noticed you wearing ‘Delalle’ eyewear – do you remember what drew you to that brand or what you liked about them? I don’t remember if I discovered the brand in an agency or in a showroom or if they had reached out to me personally from the beginning, but anyway, I just love the designs, they’re so powerful, they are WOW! It’s the eyewear that stands out from the crowd. I couldn’t say no to them, they are so funky and cool.”

As our interview came to a close, we discussed Georgiana’s next potential career moves and future developments across a wide array of industries – cinema, costume design, vintage selling, antiquities and many more – after a difficult year this superwoman has truly come out on top and I look forward to our next interview – who knows in what industry that will be, but I wish her every success in whatever path she chooses to take. Interview by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris – exclusively for Eyestylist.com – find Delalle sunglasses at www.de-lalle.com

Fine-tuning colour at Kirk & Kirk

British independent label Kirk & Kirk continues to inspire a desire for bright statement colour in eyewear. Co-founder Karen Kirk says push your boundaries, and try something new, you might fall in love!

Using acrylic for frames in its Centena line, Kirk & Kirk can create its own palette of colours. What was your inspiration for the 2020 tones? Do you base the choices on what was selling well or is there more to it?
Acrylic transmits light beautifully, and I will always choose colours that work best with our material. It isn’t really a fashion thing. It’s about people, and the way you feel when you wear the frame. As we have full control over the manufacturing process, we have freedom to create our own subtleties and transparencies in colour; this is a huge advantage, as generally eyewear companies choose from pre-designed sheets from the two main manufacturers.

Esme from the Centena Collection by Kirk & Kirk

What is the difference in wearing a bright matt and a bright shiny frame for the wearer (if any)? Can you offer any guidelines on what tends to suit who? Generally speaking a matt material will sit on the same plane as your skin; shinier materials will have a three dimensional quality. For me, the level of transparency and colour plays a larger part. I would recommend trying different colours on your face as the best way to really tell. Many of our bright colours look amazing on dark skin tones as well as pale complexions. Pale skin can look incredible with a vibrant shade and a dramatic lip tone.

Hana in the Kaleidoscope Collection by Kirk & Kirk

Pink was a hot colour for Kirk & Kirk in 2019. Would you agree and what advice can you give on choosing a pink frame? Yes, and it will continue to be, we have included this colour in new collections coming up! There seems to be an emotional connection to pink, it’s warm, sexy, fun and friendly.
People’s hearts seem to leap for joy (I am not exaggerating here) when they see this colour and it is usually love at first sight. When you choose a pink frame you need to own it, go with it and don’t be afraid to contrast with it. If you’re going hot, don’t be afraid of mixing with a clashing red, it can look amazing.

Centena – Horace in 10mm acrylic – a new matt finish is achieved through sandblasting the frames

Colours in eyewear have generally been hotting up over the last years, but there can be worries or inhibitions over wearing really bold tones in the work place. What would you say to anyone who is a bit nervous about being bold with their colour choice? We hear this a lot, but once you start trying on colour, it is very hard to go back to that pair you were hiding behind before. Once you see the change in the way people react to you, there is usually no holding back.

Kirk & Kirk have just launched the new matt styles in the Centena Collection. They have also released 3 new styles in the Kaleidoscope Collection this week – a cat eye called Michelle, the oversized + angular Penelope, and a beautiful more minimal and understated two-tone Jane frame. For more information visit www.kirkandkirk.com or view the newly released presentation of the new models for SS20 by Jason Kirk on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X69vaOmrCnY

Tim Williams, YR

Globally known as the ‘kings of customisation’ and the go-to fashion tech company for all things personalised including apparel, footwear and accessories, YR was launched seven years ago by Welsh school friends, Tim Williams and Tom Hogan. The company has worked with a wide spectrum of brands, as well as high-profile fashion labels – Michael Kors, Nike and Ralph Lauren are among their client list – and has offices in New York, LA, Hong Kong and Tokyo.  They are on course to turnover £10m this year. Eyestylist spoke to Tim Williams, Co-Founder.

Customisation continues to be a very hot topic in fashion. Can you outline how YR started and how the business has evolved? We started in 2013 as a custom fashion brand – a consumer brand that enabled anyone to come into a YR store and easily create designs on tees, sweatshirts and accessories and then watch as they were printed in just a few minutes. We were very early adopters of experience first retail – no printed inventory in the store, so everything was made on-demand, and the whole theatre and excitement of creating the item and then seeing it come to life live, in-store was really something unique.

YR opened multiple stores all over the world – but sadly it was a difficult business, none of us were experienced at fashion retail and it was tough without serious investment. So, we repositioned what we did and went B2B – helping other brands bring on-demand and customisation to life in-store, at events or online. Now we have 5 offices in London, LA, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong and work with brands on all manner of projects – big and small – all over the world. It’s quite the evolution!

You have worked with global fashion retailers including DKNY, REEBOK and L’Oreal. What has been your most exciting creative project to date? That’s a really hard question and actually the answer is, the most creative time was when YR was a consumer brand. It was exciting that we could make decisions and release artwork packs and see how customers liked them, with live feedback talking to them and seeing their reactions. We worked with some great artists in our London stores; one personal favourite was LA illustrator Bob Motown who loves pizza and cats. Commercially my favourite creative project was working with Liberty where we brought Liberty prints to life on scarves and t-shirts in the iconic London store. Customers could use the patterns to make new designs and add their own touches, it was really incredible to be able to delve into the archives.

YR x Lagerfeld: A tribute to Karl: The White Shirt Project

Are you a creative or a tech geek? Who brings the creative direction to YR? I think I am creative, it would be hard not to be and get where we are. But, I don’t think its either/or when it comes to tech – there are plenty of creative techie people. I guess I am one of them, I understand the technology but also have a love of creativity, art and design. My business partner and long term friend, Tom, is both creative and highly technical – so not only is Tom heading up our software side but he also drives the creative concept of the business alongside me.

What is your view of how this direction in customisation will further evolve? Made-to-order, bespoke and custom products date back hundreds of years – the great tailoring tradition used to be the preserve of the rich and now, YR, and many others are working hard to make customisation and ‘one of one’ manufacture a reality for mass goods. So I think this is just the beginning. Evolution will take many forms – today, in-store you use touchscreens to make or tweak designs, maybe that will be more gesture or voice-controlled in the near future. The production techniques are moving forward rapidly as machine manufacturers understand this new need for smaller, more nimble machinery. I think there are lots of new production techniques and customisation options on the horizon, not previously possible. Jewellery and accessories are a large area that has a lot of potential. I think 3D printing will come of age and be quicker and better than ever. More importantly, I think consumers will cherish their custom made products more than ever as we strive to have less ‘stuff’ but better and more meaningful relationships with clothing and accessories. The future is exciting!

YR: Collaboration with Bathing Ape in Selfridges, London

As a company, with offices far afield, what is your key focus? Is sustainability something you think about? Of course, the global nature means there are some elements of travel that are not good for the environment. That is an issue for us as a business. But, we are enabling a more sustainable future – one reason is the answer above – we want consumers to fall in love with their items and cherish them, something that bespoke and customisation really encourages. As we start 2020 on-demand production and a move away from just customisation is key for YR. That means that instead of a customer choosing a pre-made item, the item is made just for them when they want to buy it. This hugely reduces waste and eliminates stockpiles over time. Sustainability and reduction in oversupply is a key reason we do what we do – we are working alongside some of fashion’s biggest brands to make them more sustainable whilst improving the customer experience.

What inspires you personally? I love building the company and doing something that people love. At YR we put our team first, which means we grow and learn and get better, together. That’s inspiring. Also, I love new ways of doing things and being creative with finding solutions. I’m passionate about turning the traditional business model of fashion on its head and I am constantly inspired by the people I meet.

Do you enjoy being in the fast lane of the new directions in fashion and on demand production? Sometimes. Ha. That’s the truth, really. It’s great when it’s great, but being in the fast lane or on the leading edge of anything opens you to issues and there is no proven path for what we are doing. That can cause customers to have very high expectations – which is not always fun. However, for the large part, it’s great – thinking we have helped shape a market that didn’t exist before us (in-store design via large screens) is interesting. Having our tech running all over the world feels good, and most of the time cancels out the stress of the demanding side of being in the fast lane. Find out more at https://thisisyr.com

Interview written by Clodagh Norton

We Are Annu: 3D printed

Emerging label We Are Annu represent the new-generation of innovators in 3D printed eyewear from Germany. Having created their brand amongst friends four years ago, they are now evolving their output and creative direction through shared values, commitment to quality and a genuine desire to innovate. The brand currently specializes in durable, lightweight 3D-printed frames and uses a screwless titanium “Clip” hinge which lends a flexible and robust structure to the design. They also offer a choice of temple size and nose pad, giving an adaptable fit for all face shapes and sizes.

We are Annu is a start-up with a particular design and philosophy. Can you explain how you set up and who the team is? We started in summer 2016, and over the past three years, the team has grown from a single person alone in a workshop, to a group of eighteen of us. Most of whom are also shareholders. We developed it this way because we wanted to create a team of young people who could make something happen together and at the same time, for themselves. Our sense of ownership and responsibility to one another is what makes our brand unique. And this approach has proved a success for us – over and over again.  

We Are Annu: flexible, hard-wearing and lightweight – made in Nuremberg, Germany

As a young, creative company, what are your aspirations? Our focus is simple, we aspire to make the best possible product. That is why we spend considerable time on the details, working and reworking solutions. Our approach is that of continued refinement through an iterative design process because we want to continue to make it better. The end goal for us is design-simplicity, executed with intelligence and mastery – which isn’t easy to achieve. If we succeed, that will be another story. But for now, we keep hold of the idea as a belief and a working process to keep chasing – we push ourselves forward.

We Are Annu: sleek Japanese titanium temples

What has your experience been so far as a start-up in this business? It is a very competitive market, so we have to choose carefully where to put our energy. And for us, it’s the product, the customers and the opticians every time. These are the most important things to us. Good people and good products. We are now looking forward to establishing long-lasting relationships and forging new ones as we grow our business, and so far, it has been amazing.

It is incredible to think that we only launched in opti in 2019, so we are not even a year old officially. And we have found ourselves on this super exciting journey with so many great people.

From where do you draw inspiration? We are very passionate about creativity and culture and draw inspiration from many places. Art, design, music, the whole creative spectrum really. At the root of this, are the folks behind the work, this is what we are inspired by, people.

We are currently developing an exciting platform called Friends of Annu, and this is where we present the stories of interesting people we know and like. It is still in its infancy, but we hope to build it into something comprehensive. Eventually, it will become an editorial archive of real people and their stories. It is partly a labour of love, but we think a good one.

We Are Annu: glasses with minimal proportions

Are you working together in one office or are you in different places?  Both really, we are a German company based in Nuremberg, and we have an office and workshop here, but we also have members of our team who work remotely out of Amsterdam, Tel-Aviv and Berlin.

We try to meet at least three times a year for full team workshops and to communicate daily through different communication and productivity platforms. It is incredible how connected we are by technology, it has revolutionized how we work and what we can achieve.

What are your plans for 2020? We are looking forward to each and every step along the way. Like I said earlier, we are dedicated to the details and are in a constant process of development – in all areas of our business. It could be design innovation, R&D, brand design, sales, manufacture, the team, everything. It’s all happening.

We have a new collection to present at the Munich trade fair in January. We will be showing what we believe to be the lightest eyewear on the market, and the frames are absolutely beautiful. Find out more: https://weareannu.com  Clodagh Norton interviewed Iddo Zimmermann, Co-Founder, We Are Annu.

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Kerin Rose Gold: a-morir is 11 years old

Designer to the stars Kerin Rose Gold says she is celebrating 11 years of a-morir, her creative eyewear, accessories and ‘objets d’art’ business in New York. Photography (above): Sophy Holland

I understand you are celebrating a milestone after a very busy 10 years! What does that feel like and has it been an exciting time for you? The 10th year went by so fast, and the studio has been busy! Believe it or not, we’re on our 11th year. a-morir started casually and took off unexpectedly, it’s been hard to keep track. I kept meaning to plan some sort of celebration or dinner for my closest friends and biggest supporters and I just confirmed an 11th birthday party at the beginning of December. I have also created an online-only collection named after some of my best friends. I’m also preparing for a digital sample sale that include some one of a kind pieces from my archive.

Is all your work in eyewear today? While eyewear is where I started and remains a-morir’s ‘heartbeat’ I’ve had the pleasure of expanding. I had been doing custom crystal work for my big eyewear clients like Rihanna and Lady Gaga, and that half of the business has expanded beyond celebrities to private clients and large corporations. I’ve had the pleasure of working with J.Lo, Missy Elliott, Serena Williams, Cardi B, Lizzo and Halsey on non eyewear projects.

I’m also releasing accessories and art ‘objets’; a-morir started out of things I’d made for myself – which I still do in my free time. When my friends have seen those pieces, they’ve asked to purchase them as well.

Choi – Crystal – a-morir style

One of my favorite recent ventures has been working with clients on custom eyewear pieces. I go back and forth with clients via email; if they are in NYC they come to the studio for a design session. A  week later they get a custom piece shipped to their private address.

What is your fondest memory in the last years? There are many! I suppose highlights include a shout out from Rihanna on TV and being selected by Vogue Italia as a new talent in 2011. Today, every time someone orders one of my pieces online I still get a thrill. I’ve recently launched the first ever bridal eyewear line – it came with a beautiful profile on Vogue.com!

Are you located exclusively in NYC or are you travelling a lot for shows and commissions? I’m lucky that I get to stay in NYC. Nearly all of my creative collaborators and companies I work with are based here. The studio is skilled at shipping our pieces to anyone who isn’t. At the beginning of my career, I was based in a luxury accessories showroom in Europe and moved on to the Paris fashion tradeshows; I was receiving a lot of email inquiries from boutiques around the world and selling to them, but I wasn’t finding buyers at the tradeshows or in showrooms who were interested in what I was doing. Around the same time, I grew tired of doing large collections twice a year and I took a risk and went back to the way I was doing things when I first started; it has been better for me to design when I am inspired and release pieces through my website. I now try to travel just for fun. This leaves me stimulated and invigorated when I return home and get back to work.

Lena by a-morir: from the Bridal Collection

How will you celebrate your 11th “company” birthday? With the December party…and a Zine produced with my wonderful husband. It’s a limited edition ‘self published DIY magazine’ to share our story. I see it as a ‘loveletter’ about the last 11 years.

Have you got plans for the next few years that you can talk about or is it top secret? Some things are top secret, but I look forward to finding new ways to push the boundaries of my eyewear, expanding the bridal line, creating more eyewear x jewelry sets, and doing more fun collaborations! I love the teamwork involved in collaboration, and look forward to doing fun things with brands and boutiques that I love. I’ve also finally teamed up with a wonderful lens laboratory who are handling prescriptions for my collection, and that part of the business is taking off. The lenses are beautiful and I’ve had a lot of clients get extraordinary pieces filled in their eyeglass prescription; seeing the frame transformation and how they are worn is a thrill!

Ayesha crystal fringe collector showpiece

What is your focus in your design work today? Tell us about the highlights in the collection for 2019. Now that I’ve gone back to my roots, I’m excited to be experimenting with over the top avantgarde pieces again. One of my most favorite recent designs is the Ayesha. I’ve had the honor of working with Preciosa Components, and am obsessed with their black plated chain. I wanted to make something extravagant out of it and this is what I wound up with! I originally said it has 75 feet of chain, (approx. 25 meters) per piece but I think it may be more. I’ve sold more of those than I have some of my more conservative releases from the same collection.

You are dressing many celebrities. What is the best thing about working closely with celebrities? Superstar celebrities have access to everything in the world – I’ve seen it first hand – knowing that they have chosen to wear something from ­a-morir is flattering because they don’t have to. I’m not giving them anything for free and I’m not paying them for endorsement – they’re doing it because they love the design and trust in my creativity and artistic process. What I do isn’t limited to celebrities, that’s also important; I have a handful of wonderful private clients in NYC and abroad. They tell me what they want and trust me to execute their vision. For more details about a-morir, visit www.a-morir.com / www.amorirprojects.com CN

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.

SOL SOL ITO 035 BP

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