Erkers1879 is thrilled to announce their second Living Legends Collaboration, Erkers X APEC, partnering with Arizona Primary Eye Care (APEC) in the creation of the Wildcat eyeglasses. Throughout their Living Legends collections, the Erkers team up with the latest fashion-forward eyewear retailers to create one-of-a-kind, small-batch eyewear, prioritizing exceptional craftmanship and storytelling in each design.
While the Erkers have been perfecting their craft since 1879, APEC was first established in 2010 by business partners Cheryl Schmitt, OD, and Katrina Nichols, OD, who first met as co-presidents of the Southern Arizona Optometric Society in 2007. Since partnering, the two have expanded their all-women private practice to four locations throughout Tucson and Douglas, Arizona. Their newest and first cold-start location was opened in 2017 inside the student union at the University of Arizona (UA), the first and only optical practice on a college campus. APEC is now a sponsor of the university’s women’s basketball team, the Wildcats, which is where the eyeglasses get their name.
In choosing to partner with APEC, the Erkers were impressed by their unwavering support of their community, finding commonality in their love for their cities, values of time spent with family, and Schmitt’s familial tradition of becoming optometrists and business owners. Schmitt and Nichols describe Tucson as “a large city with a small town heart,” which resonates with the Erkers’ 144-year-long experience in St. Louis. When they aren’t practicing, you’ll find Nichols competing at her local CrossFit gym, while Schmitt enjoys the “University of Arizona’s sports and the beauty of the desert.” Like the Erkers, Schmitt followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, becoming a third-generation optometrist after pivoting from her career as a registered dietitian – a change that paid off as she was named the 2021 Arizona Optometrist of the Year.
The design of Wildcat nods to the story of both companies, featuring their years of inception on the hinge of both temples. While one temple tip features the signature “1879” emblem, the opposite is adorned by a gold cactus icon to represent the collection and APEC’s ties to the Arizona desert. This sophisticated, cat eye, acetate frame is available in five color blends, including Bordeaux, Ancient Tortoise, Teal Sand, Blue Crystal, and Fatigue, each inspired by APEC’s roots in Arizona. A newly designed color blend, the wine-red color of Bordeaux was inspired by UA’s team colors and was named after Arizona’s rich wine-growing regions. While the remaining colors are classic to Erkers1879, each blend was specially chosen for Wildcat as they resemble the colors found throughout the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk Bridge, and the sandy blue-green waters of the Little Colorado River.
To explore the collaboration, visit https://erkers1879.com/pages/erkers-x-apec
Erkers1879 is a family-owned heritage brand of premium, handcrafted eyewear. Based in St. Louis, Erkers1879 has been a leader within the optical industry for over 144 years, dedicated to the craft of beautiful, high-quality eyewear. At the start, the Erkers were known for making anything with a lens, though they later tuned their focus towards eyewear. The company is now run by the 5th generation of Erkers, Jack III and Tony Erker.