How Eyewear Gets Designed

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views
Japanese Design

I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Blake Kuwahara- who designed the Kata Collection and then went on to work with Base Curve. He has just started his own design firm, Focus Group West

We asked if Blake could submit to us how he gets his Eyewear Design Ideas- what goes through his head, where does he get inspiration- after all, it is people like Blake who shape the Fashion Aspect of Eyewear- and this is his response:

When designing eyewear in collaboration with a fashion designer such as John Varvatos or Carolina Herrera, the source of inspiration naturally comes from what inspires them.  It can be something very literal like vintage filigree or an old metal button with great tooling and patina or as often is the case with Mrs. Herrera, it can be quite abstract like a watercolor of a living room setting.peanutaugust2007-015-copy

In this particular example, it was the blend of the colors- reds, blues, and greens with undertones of grey and brown, and highlighted by bright pops of white that inspired her whole Spring collection.  What also appealed to Mrs. Herrera was the delicate and almost arabesque-like pattern of the sofa.  As she’s known for her feminine yet sophisticated sense of style with “just enough” embellishments to enrich but not cheapen an outfit, the challenge was to incorporate all of these elements into a sunglass design without going over-the-top.

Material selection is always key and the foundation from which I work.  I found a wonderful block acetate from Mazzucchelli with a complex structure that had the color palate we were looking for yet had an ethereal translucent property to it- the only thing that was missing was the bright pops of white that Mrs. Herrera requested.  A solution was to use laser engraving to mimic the pattern from the sofa in the inspiration piece and strategically fill in certain areas within the pattern with real mother-of-pearl inlays.  This not only enhanced and enriched the design, but gave us that all-important pop of white!

Final Product Design

Personally, I am also very inspired by architecture and interior design.  Since the world in which we live is very interrelated, I think one’s personal space can often be the foundation for great design (see photo).  One of my favorite past times is to go to flea markets, and I’m constantly on the lookout for anything that has character and is well-designed.  It doesn’t have to be grand or with come with a provenance.  In fact, things that are of most interesting to me are things that are a bit worn and frayed but have a soul.  The Japanese call this wabi-sabi.  I try to use this concept of finding beauty in the irregularity of the form and materials in all of my designs.

Submitted by Blake Kuwahara, Focus Group West For more information contact or call 10-358-8787

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