Category Archives: Meet the Designer
Xavier Derome. Inside the workshop
Watch this video from the workshop of Xavier Derome, French eyewear designer. It located near Château Chambord at Loire Valley.
Paris in July with Lucas de Staël
We recently visited award-winning eyewear designer Lucas de Staël’s very first eyewear boutique, which he opened in the Marais district of Paris in January of this year, and we just had to share the experience with you! In collaboration with architect Nicolas Omet, de Staël created a space in the where oak, steel and leather – Staël’s trademark frame material — play off each other and interact with the eyewear on display.
The modular wall on the right features 900 magnets – evoking the design of de Staël’s famous “Le Trinocle” accessory that uses a magnet to allow for different combinations of a binocle, a mirror and a magnifying glass. Arrayed in an industrial monochrome pattern, the magnets allow for an infinite variety of arrangements of the metal shelves that showcase some of the eyewear.
In other portions of the shop, eyeglasses are suspended on netting affixed to a brick wall and seem to be suspended in mid-air (thanks to invisible plastic holders) against a backlit white wall. A plant conservatory adds a natural aura of soft beauty and relaxation to the experience.
Pendant lamps with cow-leather shades, made in de Staël’s workshop, provide soft, focused illumination and are available for sale. Likewise, his sleek oak and steel storage drawer cabinets and “schoolboy chairs” are available for purchase.
Providence Optical has proudly carried de Staël’s Undostrial and LDS lines since their inception. Come try on some of this century’s finest innovation in eyewear!
Blackfin CEO Nicola Del Din: A Passion for Nature and Innovation
Situated in the Agordo, Italy, nestled in the Dolomite Mountains and surrounded by fragrant forests, the Blackfin facility continues the legacy established by CEO Nicola Del Din’s mother, when she founded Pramaor eyewear in 1971. Our colleague from OpticMagazine (Russia) had the opportunity to sit down with Del Din at MIDO international eyewear show in Milan a couple of months ago to ask him about his vision for the company and what he’s proudest of.
The company was started in 1971 by the current CEO’s mother and he believes that with the service of the internet they are just where they need to be right now, offering both exceptional customer service and advanced technology with their product. His father sadly passed away in 1998, he took over the company and was forced to change strategy. In 2008 he decided to go with a fresh approach – they now have 47 years production and experience of technology under their belt, which has given them a new approach, new ideas and a completely different mentality. However, they will always continue to be Italian in their design, way of life and production.
In 2012, Del Din made the decision to work solely in titanium and beta-titanium (an alloy created for extraordinary flexibility) which gives their frames a stylish edge as well as being extremely lightweight and durable. Titanium is in fact one of the purest metals available in the industry. It is strong, light-weight (40% less than steel), non-allergenic, durable, biocompatible and non-toxic – all in keeping with the pristine natural surroundings of the Blackfin facility.Meticulous craftsmanship also is part of the formula. Creating a Blackfin frame requires 53 steps, which Del Din refers to not as “processes” but rather as “rites of passage”. That says it all. “Blackfin is a brand that has always invested in research and innovation, our goal being to offer a product of absolute excellence”, said Del Din while receiving prize for Technological Innovation at Silmo (Paris) in 2015. Innovation is a special way to hold lenses in a frame, called Shark-lock. Up until 2010 Blackfin were producing for bigger companies, but the margin was minimal so they had to rethink their process. As usual it wasn’t an easy change but they eventually found their way on a new and exciting road. Their marketing strategy a year ago was “the sky is the limit”, for some limits can be a problem, but Blackfin certainly exceeded those. The brand is all about looking beyond and they are always looking to update their products, as well as continuing to learn. This is why they believe in being different, because they were once alone in this field and wanted to make a change, which was difficult but also achievable.
Blackfin now has a number of distributors in Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, Mexico and Asia and they wont be stopping there. Drop by Providence Optical to see for yourself what makes these frames so standout, with our new range hand picked by our opticians specially for you.
LE TRINOCLE by Lucas de Staël
Le Trinocle is a unique accessory, joining a binocle, a mirror and a magnifying glass, ready to be combined as you wish, thanks to the included magnets. Handmade in Paris, using genuine cow leather, Le Trinocle is available in 5 colors. Playful, modular and multipurpose, it’s an exceptional piece, redefining what eyewear accessories can be. Combine at will !
Available at Providence Optical as special request.
Redefining “Made in America”
Since everyone is welcome to visit State Optical’s facilities to see eyewear manufacturing, we decided to visit the factory, located in suburb of Chicago, in July 2016. It was an incredible experience. We love the building’s picturesque location and its modern interior design, which includes an upcoming interior basketball court.
Skilled workers,or craftsmen wear t-shirts with the logo IEM—Independent Eyewear Manufacturing. Craftsmen in training, however, don’t have the right to wear the shirt. They have to earn it. Jason and Marc do the training and it takes about six months for a typical craftsman to come up to full speed. Why? Because over 50% of State’s acetate frame production is done by hand and it takes an average of 70 different steps to make a basic acetate frame.
IEM uses a total of 60 pieces of equipment and 42 of them are brand new. Of all of these, the team is the most proud of the state-of-the-art factory Computer Numerically Controlled, or CNC machine, which cuts the front of the frames. It is one of the most high tech eyewear manufacturing pieces of equipment in the world. Only two such machines exist and both are at IEM facilities. One of them has been named “MASON” after Marc and Jason. It is a phenomenal piece of equipment.
Watch the video, there Scott shares the dream about making things in America:
Read full story on State Optical in our May 2016 blog.
“Mr.Leight” : new capsule collection by father-son duo Larry and Garrett Leight
The father-son duo Larry and Garrett Leight will launch a new capsule collection.
Here is an article by Mellissa Magsaysay for Los Angeles Times on June 18′ 2016:
On a May afternoon at eyewear design guru Larry Leight’s Santa Monica home, Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and his son, Garrett, founder of Garrett Leight California Optical, took a break from actual work to consider how they each created successful eyewear labels that have captured the cool, in-the-know crowd of their respective generations.
“I didn’t really realize what he did for a living until I went to work for him,” says Garrett, 32. “I saw that not only did he design eyewear, but he really led that team, that environment and that company – and that’s when I was like, ‘Wow, now I really know what he does.’”
Aside from similarities such as profession, stature and surname, father and son finish each other’s thoughts and have a similar magnetism for attracting a cult-like following of loyal fans and talented employees. Together, they have joined forces to create a capsule collection of luxury eyewear called Mr. Leight.
Eyewear wasn’t always the clear choice for Garrett as a profession.
In 2006, however, the younger Leight (the family name is pronounced “light”), who was focused on tennis and studied journalism, went to work at Oliver Peoples at the suggestion of his father to gain work experience. Garrett eventually left Oliver Peoples, and went into business for himself.
“I think he was absorbing and gathering all these things that formulated his desire to do something different,” says Larry, 65. “He felt that there was a better way to do things that inspired him to see different areas of the business that he felt he could do differently or better.”
In November 2009, Garrett opened A. Kinney Court on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a lifestyle concept store in Venice with opticians, eyewear, footwear, apparel, books and music.
Garrett soon became inspired to create his own collection and created his namesake business in 2011.
“I felt most comfortable in doing what my dad was doing,” says Garrett. “Being an entrepreneur wasn’t really a word that I understood before that time, but I think I just wanted to be a leader and wanted to build my own culture and environment. It was also being around great people that inspire you. That’s what I loved about Oliver Peoples.”
Today, Garrett Leight California Optical eyewear is available through about 800 wholesale accounts worldwide as well as four stand-alone GLCO stores. The eyewear has framed the famous faces of January Jones, Kristen Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kendall Jenner and spawned collaborations with Clare Vivier, Want Les Essentiels and Mark McNairy.
“You have to kind of pinch yourself,” says Larry about Garrett’s success. “The similar thing between us is, ‘How the hell did he come along and grab that young cult of today?’”
In 2006, Larry sold Oliver Peoples to Oakley, and the following year, Italian eyewear brand Luxottica acquired California-based Oakley. Larry retained his creative role until his departure at the end of 2015.
Larry says he spent months after leaving Oliver Peoples trying to decided what he’d do next. “I realized that even if I didn’t know Garrett, his is the company I want to work for,” he says.
Inspired by his son’s business and brand, the veteran eyewear designer and accessory brand icon was brought on earlier this year as a design consultant at GLCO and to collaborate on the Mr. Leight collection.
“Mr. Leight is a name I’ve had in my pocket for a while,” says Garrett. “And I always dreamed that maybe we’d have the opportunity to do something together and that name would obviously make sense.”
While in the design phase, the Mr. Leight collection will have frames made in Japan with a starting cost of $700, and, going forward, the eyewear will skirt traditional fashion cycles.
“It’s more limited, exclusive and still simple and beautiful,” says Larry about the concept for Mr. Leight, which is set to bow in Spring 2017. “It’s more technical, and there are more moving parts to some of the frames – but not gimmicky.”
In his new role, Larry lends his decades of design experience to Garrett and his team, and he defers to Garrett’s strength for sales and marketing for building a strong brand.
Sunglasses by Father Larry Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and son Garrett Leight (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
Using their design and production prowess, the Leights’ team also has their sights set on making Mr. Leight a design house with the idea of collaborating with select like-minded brands to consult with and create eyewear for those brands.
“For sure we have that same entrepreneurial spirit,” the father says of the son. “We’re taking this exciting journey [with Mr. Leight], and it’s different, fresh and desirable.”
An exciting collaborative journey that, because it bears the name they both share, has the potential to pay a humorous dividend next time someone addresses Garrett as “Mr. Leight.” He could respond that he’s Garrett – Mr. Leight is his dad, and their brand.
Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
Garrett Leight California Optical collection is available at Providence Optical. Watch our exclusive interview with Garrett in Munich.
Highway Overpass Meets Contemporary Necklace: A New Line of Eyewear Is Born
Contemporary Jewelry: Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.
Road Architecture: Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.
What do the two have in common? Look closely. It’s all about texture. And Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.
It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces. Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs. And then something strange and wonderful happened: She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer. Lung explains:
I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.
For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step. She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way. In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials. Says Lung:
“Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.”
Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.
– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws
– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and its origins
– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements
– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece
– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.
Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses are available at RISD Works store and at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!
Meet new members of edCFDA (Eyewear Designers of The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc)
In 2014, the CFDA launched the Eyewear Designers of the CFDA (edCFDA), a working group within the CFDA. Created by 12 CFDA Member eyewear designers, the group’s aim is to inspire, empower, and promote awareness of eyewear design and the vitality of the optical industry through promotion, education, mentoring and collaborative initiatives.
In April 2016 new members,designers Patty Perreira (BARTON PERREIRA), Blake Kuwahara (BLAKE KUWAHARA), Christian Roth (CHRISTIAN ROTH), Daniel Silberman (ILLESTEVA), Gai Gherardi (L.A. EYEWORKS), Shane Baum (LEISURE SOCIETY), Jeff Press (MORGENTHAL FREDERICS), Robert Marc (ROBERT MARC), and Selima Salaun (SELIMA OPTIQUE), presented new eyewear designs at International Vision Expo in New York during the first ever Eyewear Showcase.
Emily Teel, a regular contributor to Edible Philly and Foobooz, the food bloger for Philadelphia Magazine, has a soft spot for all things gastronomical, she is also a devoted eyewear aficionado. She had an opportunity to interview two NYC-based designers – Selima Salaun and Robert Marc about their favorite palces to go out.
eb: When you do go out, is there a neighborhood that you like to stay in?
ss: I try to take [clients] to the new, hip places. Like, for instance, The Standard [Hotel in the Meatpacking District]. It looks like a “Barbarella” setup.
eb: For the folks who are not as lucky to be able to dine with you, where would you suggest?
ss: I adore Daniel Boulud; his food is amazing. DBGB is much cheaper than his places uptown, and if you go see a show at Lincoln Center, just across the street is Boulud Sud. I also love Mercer Kitchen, Locanda Verde, and Momofuku.
rm: … I think the West Village has so many small, chic, fabulous places to have a great dinner. It’s just a charming, wonderful part of the city with cobblestone streets, townhouses, [and] small, quaint restaurants.
eb: Are there places that you really love there?
rm: Sant Ambroeus. Great little place. And I Sodi. Both are small Italian restaurants, so I’d recommend reservations. Another great place is En, a fantastic Japanese restaurant. It is very glamorous, big, fun, and really wonderful.
eb: Any New York “must-visit” spots for you?
rm: Right now? The High Line and the new Whitney Museum of Art. Absolutely spectacular. Because the show is later this year, the weather is going to be nicer. Which is great, [because] the High Line starts at 34th Street and 12th Avenue, really right next to the Javits Center, so you can walk down the High Line all the way to the Whitney at the other end.
See award winning glasses from RISD student at Providence Optical!
Rhode Island School of Design’ student from Virginia, Daniel Morgan, won the third place with his concept MAGO: an innovative magnetic hinge, anchored in both the front and in the temples, making the glasses almost unbreakable. Morgan designed MAGO for all those active people, looking for a stylish pair of glasses.
With the magnetic connection, the temples can be removed from the front just as easily as they can be connected to each other again. What was convincing from a technical point of view was not only that the strength of the magnets was exactly balanced, but also that Morgan used the rapid prototyping method beforehand. The result: a bright red, fully functional pair of glasses that the jury could hardly keep their hands off. The front and the temples are 3D printed.
Organized by OWP Brillen, a German eyewear manufacturer, the aim of the International Eyewear Design Contest 2015 is to reward creative and innovative product ideas in the field of prescription eyewear. he contest proved extremely popular, with 146 young designers from 26 countries – including Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Israel and Australia – submitting their creative ideas for eyewear. Based on the theme ‘urban street style’, young product designers are welcome to think differently and to challenge themselves. A jury of designers selected three winning concepts based on the choice of materials, wearability, manufacturability and functionality.