Blake Kuwahara is probably one of the few optometrists in the world who can be inspired to design his own eyewear after seeing an antique wooden stool encapsulated in a block of Lucite in an art gallery. “The design tension between two very different aesthetics was fresh and unexpected. The idea was to design two frames-an inner frame that was more classic surrounded by an outer shape that was more directional,” Kuwahara explains. “My colleagues and I who straddle both the creative and business worlds felt that there was a void in the marketplace for eyewear that was at once wearable but had an artisanal sensibility.” So he set his sights on bringing Blake Kuwahara Eyewear to the market.
The debut collection comprises nine unisex ophthalmic and nine sunglass styles that are handmade in Japan using a special process of lamination whereby the two frames are seamlessly fused together. Individually crafted out of richly colored Italian and Japanese acetates with one model incorporating titanium, the target consumer is “someone who doesn’t want to look like they own an art gallery, but enjoys visiting one!,” Kuwahara enthuses. Founder of the multi-disciplinary design agency Focus Group West, Kuwahara first gained international acclaim as the designer of the exclusive KATA eyewear brand. Kuwahara sums it up: “I love creating frames that make the wearer look and feel good.”
Blake Kuhawara Eyewear, Fade to Gray, 949-637-3078, blakekuwahara.com