Slow Craft vs Fast Fashion

Last week I found a good reason to brave the Oxford Street crowd of shoppers, on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to see for myself what the Eye Respect collaboration with Topman was all about, also my friend Steven (the proud owner of the work bench photographed below and a craft enthusiast!) promised he was going to explain the whole process, so I headed to their flagship store.

Steven offered each customers  a choice of shapes; a preppy, a panto and a wayfarer-inspired front, in three colours and two finishes to choose from, each frame came with five barrel hinges and CR-39 lens. Once you you picked what you liked, he skilfully assembled each component for you (temples, lens and front) as well as polish the frame if you preferred a shiny finish, all done there and then, on the spot!

I think the success of this project was down to growing nostalgia for a quality and long-lost craftsmanship. Some call it craft fetishism, but I like to think that we are reevaluating quality after so many years of buying cheap products, that we have no connection with because we don't know how and where they where made.

When I was at design college I believed nothing had higher value in design than industrial design, everyone was fascinated with it and saw the natural imperfections intrinsic to craft as something unappealing. Today the mass-produced globalised product is no longer the idol that it once was to designers and people like to have something unique, that they saw in the making.

Here Is a short video on Eye Respect's hand assembled frames in workshop here in London


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