Monday, 24 March 2014


Metro collection

The thing I like most about Termite is their fresh, trial-and-error approach to eyewear, each frame's playful aesthetic comes from a desire for experimentation, both in the choice of materials and the design, with added environmental credentials; each frame is laser cut from a laminate of reclaimed Birchwood.

Metro collection
Metro collection

Patricia (with Natalie the design duo behind Termite) told me Termite started off as a graduation project and that at the beginning they made the frames themselves, using the university's laser cutting equipment. After this first collection they decided to step their game up a notch and decided to collaborate with a traditional eyewear workshop for the production and assembly of the frames. The interesting thing is that this workshop had never produced wooden sunglasses before, just acetate.

This must have been such an interesting challenge for both the designers and the craftsmen, I like the idea that traditional manufacturers decide to leave their comfort zone to experiment with new materials and craft rather than just doing what they have always done best.

I think these first baby steps will take Termite and their manufacturing partners on a very interesting adventure in eyewear.

Barber collection

Barber collection

Barber collection

the 1st launch

the 1st launch

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Monday, 10 March 2014

With a sense of humour...and an eye-fetish

You probably have all seen Craig&Karl's collection of sunglasses in collab with Le Spec. What I would like to do here is trace the similarities with their other work, mainly graphic design, and fashion collaborations.

Their all-pervading aesthetic code, combined with a passion for glasses, eyes (and mouths-as-yes!) in bright colours and geometric patterns runs through everything they do; from portraits of the Pope, Keith Hering and Sofia Loren to magazine covers and leather-goods. 

Craig&Karl have also collaborated with Henry Holland last season on the graphics fro Mr.Quiffy, the sunglasses below are from Henry Holland's SS13 collection but I couldn't help noticing a possible influence on the Le Spec sunglasses.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A Fresh Pair of Eyes

The Royal College of Art (RCA) and 100% Optical launched a design competition sometime ago and asked students from across the College MA programmes to look at eyewear from a new perspective.

Eight finalists where selected to have their prototypes displayed at the 100% Optical fair last month, by a judging panel including RCA fashion tutors, qualified opticians and eyewear designers. You can read more about it here.

However, for some reason a winner was not I decided to share with you the ones I thought where the best.

Parsha Gerayesh-Nejad (Unconventional Craft and Manufacture)

Traditionally frames are composed of multiple components. The Perpetual frame is an investigation into construction methods and if it was possible to construct a pair of glasses from one continuous piece of flexible plastic, without hinges but still maintaining the fundamental characteristics of pair of glasses.

Federica Tedeschi (Best Use of Materials)

‘Matter’ is based around the idea of combining traditional eyewear components, such as acetate, with unconventional materials, like embroidery to change our visual and tactile perception of eyewear.

Sofie Van Aelbroeck (Best Eyewear as Art)

Sofie's Little Man Big Man project was inspired by collages, using old family album pictures and looking into folding spectacles...with a rather captivating result!

Wether any of the eight finalists of the competition will decide to further explore eyewear design, materials and craft or venture into other fields of art and design is not important, what matters is that they added a fresh perspective in the (sometimes self-referencing) eyewear world.
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Friday, 28 February 2014

Youthful, sensual austerity

I found these Margaret Howell Summer 2008 ads yesterday; the look is just so quietly sensual and, testament to the brand's timeless aesthetic, up-to-the-minute...six years later! I have been trying to find out who made the glasses an though I couldn't find much about them I think they are very similar to my Oliver Goldsmith AKI sunglasses.

The similarity is also in the fact that they share the same pure aesthetic and the British handmade craft as Margaret Howell clothes. I am not sure where they can be bought, sadly Oliver Goldsmith no longer feature them on their website, maybe it's time for a re-edition, as an optical frame as well ;-)

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Street videos

Here is something I recently discovered, The New York Times Intersection videos where people from around the world talk about their style and their neighbourhood, but don't be fooled, it's not just about more hipster looks; a lot of these videos are about different cultures influencing each other's style.

Street-style photography is so intriguing when it's spontaneous, you just wonder who the people are in the picture and you make up your own stories, so I am trying to define the appeal of video street-style. You know a bit more about the people, admittedly not a lot more than from a photo, but you hear their voice and you see them move, then they also describe themselves, that adds a few layers to someone's personality. Do you agree? Or do you still prefer street-style photography?

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Monday, 17 February 2014

In the Making

see the bottom of this post for clues

Can anyone guess what these things are?

This is a post I had drafted and meant to publish just after visiting the "In the making"exhibition, a few of weeks ago at the Design Museum.

Each object is shown in a frozen moment in time, at a specific stage in the manufacturing process.

glass marble production stage

The appeal is not just for people like me, who are fascinated by the making process, but for anyone curious about how the things we use are made. Most times we are only a few clicks away from purchasing the things we need and a lot of the time we don't see them until they are delivered at our front door.

"In The Making" demystifies how everyday objects are made by unveiling them in their unfinished state, interrupted mid-production, their beauty is in traditional craft or industrial manufacturing methods alike.

Clockwise, from top right (only the last three objects are part of the exhibition):

- Sunglasses: Front blanks, milled from a sheet of acetate, 10% of the manufactory stage (not part of the exhibition but I think this is perfectly fitting! picture from

-Pencils: 9-ply, half slat with coloured strip, 60% of the manufactory stage

-Tennis Balls: Dumbell blanks, die-cut from a sheet of felt, 50% of the manufactory stage

-Glass Marble: Faunas cane cut marble stick, 70% of the manufactory stage

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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Kathrin Kuhn

Kathrin Kuhn is an artist/illustrator/designer living in Berlin. She is currently studying visual communication and works as a freelance illustrator for magazines, newspapers and advertising.
Her collages are made of 1960s GDR-Magazines, 1950s Biology Books, 1970s porn and everything else she finds on flea markets and in vintage shops.
Inspired by bygone times and styles, her work is filled with notions of Art Deco, scraps of Pop Art and shreds of Bauhaus, mixed all up with the gloss of Now.

These are my favourite...

artwork by Kathrin Kuhn
artwork by Kathrin Kuhn
artwork by Kathrin Kuhn

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Monday, 10 February 2014

Is illustration an antidote to fashion banality?

artwork by Fran├žois Berthoud 

I read an interesting article by Colin McDowell on the power of illustration (and the lack of it) in fashion reporting.

Colin argues that too many of today’s fashion illustrations copy the techniques and poses of 60 years ago but forget "that a line, no matter how perfectly executed in pen or brush, is just a line if it fails to suggest that it is not only encompassing shape and volume, but also representing a flesh and blood body, adding that famous illustrators of the past "were confident because they knew how much they were valued and paid, confident enough to appreciate and value their predecessors and their work, without copying their techniques or emulating their viewpoints." Colin cites the work of contemporary illustrator, Fran├žois Berthoud as a fine example of experimental, modern illustration, here is a video showing the handcraft of linocut printing as well as how he digitally manipulates his work.

Streetstyle has become sterile an exercise as a lot of editorials on magazines have, and I think illustration is a reaction to this. I used to do a lot of street style photography at the catwalk shows and I now only sketch people I see in the street.

The beauty of Illustration is that it gives me the opportunity to interpret the looks I see on the street, as opposed to merely capture it on camera (maybe because I am not a great photographer ;-). I never seem to have my sketchbook at hand when I see someone interesting, so by the time I put what I see to paper (or my IPad) I would have further assimilated that image, made it my own. This is when it becomes unique, as opposed to just a record of what people wear on the street.

What are your thoughts on fashion illustration, or the lack of it in fashion magazines?

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