By  on April 4, 2011

NEW YORK — The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue Eyewear are supporting brands that have their sights set on optical eyewear.

For the second consecutive year, the CFDA partnered with the eyewear label on a program under which designers Monica Botkier, Rebecca Minkoff and Yeohlee Teng were chosen to conceptualize and create sunglasses to be sold exclusively at Sunglass Hut come September.

“We started the program as a business service network. We wanted to create a design opportunity where the entire membership is invited to submit and participate and provide work and licensing opportunities for designers,” CFDA executive director Steven Kolb said of the Vogue Eyewear/CFDA Capsule Collection initiative. But there was a caveat: Applicants must have had no previous background, experience or licenses in the category, and have to be existing members of the CFDA.

Botkier, Minkoff and Teng were chosen from a pool of nearly 40 applicants by the Luxottica product development team, Vogue Eyewear’s parent company, who will work closely with each to bring their visions to fruition, including packaging design and the launches.

“The three designers were selected by a committee of Luxottica executives between Milan and New York, including experts from design, buying, marketing and retail. We looked for concepts that exemplified the Vogue Eyewear brand and that offered a new perspective, a new twist, on sunglass design,” said Daniela Policastro, global brand manager at Vogue Eyewear.

Although last year’s contest didn’t have a specific theme, this year, the CFDA wanted to extend the concept of quality and good dressing all over the country. To convey this, each of the eyewear styles will be based on a different city for inspiration: New York City, Miami and Los Angeles.

Minkoff — responsible for creating the New York style — said the process required more research than usual. The handbag-turned-apparel designer described the “Bowery” design as an updated Wayfarer, and since she’s known to be heavy on hardware and embellishment, wearers can expect plenty of Minkoff’s signature metal elements.

“It’s about energy, style and independence. Each person here [in New York City] has a very distinct style and look, and I feel like people want to stand out without going too over the top. This is what this style represents to me.”

Fellow handbag designer Botkier said the pair she crafted is quintessential Miami. From the flaming red frames to the customized gold accents and oversize, round silhouette, Botkier said the sunglasses embody the vibe of the city. According to the designer, “It’s just enough glamour. You’re definitely making a statement but it’s not over the top. It’s something you can accessorize with day to day.”

Teng’s “young and sexy” view of Los Angeles led her to design a flashy, futuristic cat-eye style with an ombre glass effect, but it was anthropology and organic shapes that really served as her inspiration. “I actually blew up images of the girls from my runway show and did the initial sketches [for the sunglasses] based on the shapes of their faces,” Teng said of her design process.

Kolb said the ultimate goal of the program is for the designers to eventually go out and do something on their own in the category, either directly with Luxottica or somewhere else.

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