Diving in head first, Israeli-based eyewear brand Carolina Lemke has unveiled the first campaign images for its range of eyewear designed by Kim Kardashian West, using it as a springboard into the U.S. market.
The Kim Kardashian West for Carolina Lemke collection is the first time the brand has gone the collaboration route, but according to U.S. chief executive officer Mordi Shabat, the U.S. market has been in his sights for some time.
“In Israel, we are all over,” Shabat said of the brand, which was founded in 2011 by Joseph Gabizon and his wife, Carolina Lemke, and is known for its mass-market prices. “We’ve been thinking about the company’s growth potential, past Europe and Asia, and the U.S. is the right next step,” he said.
Kardashian West isn’t only taking up design duties, but the reality TV star is also a partner, receiving an undisclosed stake for her long-term investment in the brand.
Previously, Israeli model Bar Refaeli was the brand’s face — even doing several commercials with “hot felon” Jeremy Meeks — and it was Refaeli who connected Kardashian West to one of the eyewear brand’s founders and its global ceo, Joseph Gabizon.
“The Bar Refaeli story is pretty similar to Kim’s,” Shabat commented, adding that Refaeli has been a partner in the company since 2013. “The first time we put Bar on billboards, it was a massive response. It helped us become the strongest eyewear company in Israel,” he said.
Shabat is now hoping for the same lightning-in-a-bottle response with Kardashian West in the American market.
“She was involved in every detail and it was really amazing,” he said of the design process with Kardashian West, adding, “she doesn’t want it to be like other types of mass-market eyewear.”
“I’m always looking for vintage sunglasses that no one has, so getting to create something that other people will be able to cherish as much as I do has been fun to be a part of,” Kardashian West said. “I’ve learned so many fascinating things about sunglass design. I didn’t realize how technical it was and I’ve loved the firsthand experience at getting to see our ideas come to life.”
The premiere collection has six styles — some of which Kardashian West has already teased on her social media channels — and ranges from oversize shields to retro oval styles and minimal, sleek sporty styles with a “Carolina Lemke Kim Kardashian West Collection” logo at the temple, priced $90 at retail.
A second “drop” of styles will launch before the middle of the year, Shabat said, with more “drops” to follow to amplify brand awareness.
The campaign was shot by duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott — the pair is well-known in the reality star’s orbit, having shot her in magazines and putting her into their 20-year retrospective photography book in 2017.
According to the ceo, the digital-first campaign is about Kardashian West “in the fourth dimension,” showing her in multiples in some images, as if she were cloned. “She had a large part in the creative direction of the images,” he said, adding that the images take a wink at her place in the zeitgeist of popular culture.
The campaign is just phase one, with the ceo relaying that brick-and-mortar stores are in the works, with New York and Los Angles as initial steps, although he wouldn’t disclose timing. The brand operates over 40 stores worldwide but plans to open 60 stores by the end of 2019, “with a goal of 400 worldwide in the next few years,” he said.
Select styes from the collaboration will be for sale on the brand’s new U.S. e-commerce site starting March 19, with the full collection becoming available in early April.