Luxury eyewear brand Linda Farrow just launched a limited edition capsule collection at Lane Crawford. The series includes three limited edition sunnies adorned in 18ct gold and diamonds. We caught up with Linda Farrow's creative director Simon Jablon on the cutting-edge designs.
What motivated you to create 18ct gold sunglasses?
SJ: Keep pushing the boundaries is one of the important mantras of Linda Farrow. Gold and diamonds are really some of the most precious materials. We've used 300,000-year-old mammoth tusk in our designs previously. For me I wanted to do something super exclusive. We've always used precious titanium and our lenses were gold-plated in our regular collections. So expanding into fine jewellery ... is a natural progression.
What are the challenges in producing gold sunnies?
SJ: Each [pair] is made individually. There's an element of machine set up for production but also a lot of hand-polishing and hand-crafting involved in the gold frames. The time and craftsmanship that goes into each and every pair is on a whole new level. Also, we want to highlight the functionality aspect of the product. The reason why we used titanium in our regular collection is because it's a strong resistant material and lightweight. Gold is a very heavy material. What we do is we weave the gold threads and we create rimless/lightweight frames.
How can you benefit from the growing eyewear market in China?
SJ: China is a burgeoning market [for eyewear]. I think there has been a rush for brands to go all over China before and now they are opening stores. It's because they have been overly aggressive. China's potential is beyond massive. I feel it will be the luxury powerhouse of the world in the next 100 years. It takes time to educate the consumers.
Do you feel Chinese customers are gravitating towards niche eyewear brands?
SJ: Hong Kong and Seoul are even more responsive to our brand than many other so-called established markets like London, New York and Paris. I think customers here are even more ahead of the game because they are more educated, connected to social media and eager to know the stories behind. There's a more intellectual approach that Asian customers take compared to consumers in Europe.
What do you see in the future of luxury eyewear?
SJ: Where I see eyewear going in time is in the direction of the watch industry. [Niche luxury eyewear labels] are becoming global household names without [giving up] quality and integrity. The craftsmanship will always be the focus. It's my job to educate the consumer even more. Social media and digital platforms as well as new retail concepts - they are all about engaging the consumers.
Can you tell us about the custom-made options for Linda Farrow eyewear?
SJ: Each customised pair is handmade. The colour of the lens and the frames can be entirely customised. I'll talk to the customer individually about the options that they want. It's a one-off, unique option. There is, of course, a little bit of a wait.
Now you've done gold, what's next for you?
SJ: It's not only about pushing the boundaries but also about keeping the consistency and integrity as well. We hope to give our customers a full experience of the brand, from service, education to after-sale care.
What shades work best for what shapes of face?
SJ: For a round face, you want to go for either round or square, oversized and quite flat. For a long face, hexagon or aviators are good.