Optical Inclusion
Sunglasses makers are tapping designers from outside the eyewear realm
Style / 15 Jul 2011
This sun-drenched summer has many people searching for the coolest new shades. Sure, Wayfarers remain a classic, but more experimental style hounds are test driving daring eyewear that, in the spirit of Gen Ys’ thirst for backstories, boasts distinct boldfaced names in their design credits. Here are a few eyewear lines that are building their brands through creative collaborations.
Colab
: Colab founders Carl Tindall and Jonathon Miller describe their sunglasses line as “not just eyewear, [but] art for your face.” The Aussie duo invites some of the world’s most innovative mixed media artists to design signature frames. While they must face the challenge of designing with no direction, guest designers—such as Stefan Marx, Geoff McFetridge and Deanne Cheuk—have the benefit of complete creative control, as evidenced by some of the more outlandish specs they’ve fashioned. And, in a statement against mass production that’s in line with its artist-friendly ethos, Colab manufactures only 1,000 pairs of each design, making each one a very limited edition.
Phosphorescence
: Sunglasses line Phosphorescence, launched by artist/musician Hisham Akira Bharoocha in an effort to cultivate a multidisciplinary creative network, is giving visionaries with disparate talents a platform upon which to reinterpret their artistic vision through sunglasses design. The line’s first collection featured fashionable collaborations with tastemakers like United Bamboo, Opening Ceremony, Erin Wasson, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and Rockers NYC. Further distinguishing the brand from its Sunglass Hut contemporaries, all lenses are detachable, allowing vision-impaired wearers to re-purpose the frames as everyday eyeglasses. That’s not to imply that the frames aren’t sturdy, as they are handmade in Japan by leading luxury manufacturers.
Best Under the Sun:
Gaga’s collaboration with Polaroid may have overshadowed the brand’s other innovative efforts, but this is one that should not be missed. Earlier this year, the iconic photo brand launched Best Under the Sun, a retro sunglasses collection inspired by its archives. Now, they’re inviting designers to submit their own ideas for the 2013 collection. Entrants are asked to submit two technical sketches of a pair of sunglasses inspired by a decade between 1930 and 2020. The public will select ten finalists by voting on the Polaroid Facebook page, with the winning designers being awarded royalties and sent to Milan for the MIDO optical show.
©The Intelligence Group