With The McGee Group behind this print-powered designer, Trina Turk Eyewear conveys a casually glamorous West Coast aesthetic that can be worn in any locale.
With California roots and a penchant for optimistic, chic patterns, designer Trina Turk began her career in 1995 with a women’s contemporary fashion line. She has since expanded into accessories, swimwear, recreation/activewear, a Mr Turk menswear line, décor and textiles, footwear, handbags and jewelry. There are 11 boutiques that bear her name in cities such as Miami, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Honolulu as well as department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales.
THE PRETTY PROCESS
So when the opportunity arose to make the foray into optical, Turk made sure to choose a manufacturer that would be able to translate her unique lifestyle brand into the relatively small space of a frame. The McGee Group tapped senior designer, Laura Khligh, to spearhead the project, and she consequently immersed herself into the world of Trina Turk.
“This brand is so unique and Trina Turk has such a strong voice. My initial goal, in collaborating with Trina, was to interpret her vision seamlessly. There was so much inspiration and direction from Trina, from her fabulous vintage sunglass collection to her unique prints, fabrications and bold colors,” Khligh said. She added that the biggest challenge was to narrow down the collection (11 total with at least six prints for each) and also adjust the short cycle of fashion into the longer development cycle of eyewear.
INSPIRATION GOES BOTH WAYS
The McGee Group design team worked with several Italian vendors including Mazzucchelli, to produce custom laminations and executions of the prints. The prints are uniquely multi-layered to feel more elevated and ethereal. “I wanted to produce on acetate with the same dimensional feel as Trina does with her different fabrications,” Khligh explained During the process, Turk fell in love with the look of acetate laminated onto wood and wound up “borrowing” it for a handbag design.
The new eyewear, 14 ophthalmics and eight suns, will be sold in Trina Turk boutiques as well as optical shops. VCPN had the pleasure of speaking with the designer about her experiences in this new partnership and the attributes of her core customer.
MICHELE SILVER: What was the impetus behind launching an eyewear collection?
TRINA TURK: Eyewear is such an important part of your total look that it was a natural progression for [us].
SILVER: Why was The McGee Group the best partner for you?
TURK: From initial meetings, we were inspired by McGee’s interpretation of our brand’s color and pattern DNA into eyewear. Since they are creating eyewear for a range of brands-from luxury to family-we trust their market knowledge on product development, production and sales. Also, our direct- to-consumer clientele will welcome signature sunwear to complete the lifestyle we’ve created in our boutiques and at trinaturk.com.
SILVER: What have you learned from designing eyewear?
TURK: I still have a lot to learn about designing eyewear but am happy to put my extensive personal collection of vintage sunglasses to use. We selected prints, colors and embellishment details from our ready-to-wear, swim and jewelry collections to create cohesiveness between categories.
SILVER: What did you like best about the eyewear design process?
TURK: My favorite aspect was figuring out how to make it different from what is out there but still make it something you would want to wear every day.
SILVER: How is eyewear different from designing other accessories?
TURK: It’s different from designing jewelry since it’s not just decorative-it has a functional nature that jewelry doesn’t. In a way, it’s most similar to designing handbags because of the technical aspect of making sure it actually works in real life.
SILVER: How would you describe the Trina Turk customer?
TURK: Our customer is someone who is on trend but not trendy. She loves fashion but is not a slave to it. She embraces color, print and optimism, and understands that a great outfit can really have a positive effect on your day. She’s not a wallflower-she’s confident and does not mind being noticed.