"Eyewear is the outfit and the clothing is the accessory."
Watch out Linda Farrow because Coco & Breezy are taking the avant garde sunglasses industry by storm with shades that have already been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. We spoke to the up-and-coming duo about the power of eyewear, how they got their start and what's to come.
theFashionSpot: What is it about eyewear that appealed to you?
Breezy: Eyewear changed our life and was a shield for us while growing up.
Coco: Before we designed our own eyewear, we found our love for sunglasses in high school. Where we grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, there wasn't any fashion, so if you had a little different thing on, people made fun and even bullied you. We would always wear sunglasses because it gave us a boost of confidence that we never had.
B: Our style on the outside was very wild and different and it looked confident but our inside was torn apart and hurt from people not understanding us. When we had our sunglasses on, we felt like we were on top of the world, but with our sunglasses off we were very timid. We know a lot of people can relate to this feeling and that is how we found our love for designing eyewear.
tFS: Did you always plan on starting a business together?
B: Yes, as kids we used to always say we wanted to be entrepreneurs together and we knew we were going to start a business together.
tFS:Can you tell us about the pros and cons of working together?
B: Pros are since we live together and have a live/work space, we are always available to work 24/7 and we take full advantage of it. If I have an idea at 4 a.m., I can wake Coco up to work instantly. With our workaholic minds, during the designing/producing time for our new collections, it gets super hectic so we take turns on who gets to sleep. If I'm up working, Coco will take a couple hour nap and when she wakes up I will take a nap so that we are running a 24-hour business.
C: When thinking about the cons of working together, it's really hard because we absolutely love working together as it has been a dream since we've been kids. I can say that we do disagree on things such as designs. Breezy will start off a design and it is my job to perfect and finalize it. There are times we argue a little regarding that process, but it's a healthy argument because the final result turns into a masterpiece.
tFS:What was the impetus to starting the business and what made you decide to move to NYC?
B: NYC has always been a dream place to live since we were kids. We made our first trip to NYC by ourselves when we were 17 years old. We had to beg our parents to let us go and they did.
C: When we came to NYC for the first time, we instantly fell in love and had the feeling of “home.” When we lived in Minnesota, we never felt accepted, but we got the feeling of acceptance in NYC. After the first trip, we continued to go a few times a year and decided to make the official move in 2009. We knew that NYC was the perfect place to start our business and live our lives.
tFS: Your pieces were quickly spotted on a number of celebrities. How did that come about?
C & B: We always say we are “walking advertisements.” When we first moved to NYC and we would just be walking and random people would come up to us and assume we were already established designers. We would use that time to give them our business cards and tell them about our sunglasses.
tFS: Do you wear sunglasses 365 days a year?
C&B: From High School to 2012, we wore our sunglasses every single day. 2013 was a new chapter in life for us and we grew as not only businesswomen, but as women. We shaved all of our hair off and we stopped hiding behind our sunglasses. We are very excited about our growth because before, we used to be very shy to speak to people without our sunglasses. Now, we are able to be around a lot of people comfortably without our sunglasses. Although, we do wear them almost everyday still but not 24 hours of the day like we used to.
tFS:Where does your design inspiration come from?
B: We are very much inspired by architectural buildings, geometrical shapes and life.
C: Yes, I agree with Breezy. We really love to use what we see on a everyday basis as inspiration for designing. We make sure to always have a sketch book in our bags.
tFS: Do you think people are getting more adventurous when it comes to eyewear? Any tips for pulling off statement eyewear?
C & B: Yes, I do think people are definitely getting very adventurous with eyewear. We always say, "Eyewear is the outfit and the clothing is the accessory."
tFS: Any plans to expand beyond eyewear?
B: There are plans to add optical eyewear in our collection.
C: Sometimes if it makes sense, we do collaborations with other brands and that gives us the chance to explore and create a product outside of eyewear. Collaborations are very fun!
tFS: What are some of the biggest challenges with designing and manufacturing your pieces?
B: So, we are constantly always sketching and designing new styles of eyewear. One of my biggest challenges that I am actually facing at this moment is editing and finalizing which styles we should move forward in the collection for samples and production. As we are artists, we have to turn on our business minds also and think about which designs will work and will cater to our target audience.
C: When we first started our business, we were hand-crafting our eyewear with embellishing studs on frames. Our demand grew and we knew it was time to educate ourselves about mass-producing and manufacturing. That transition was one of our biggest challenges that we have faced in our business. Of course, we take every experience as a learning experience and always seeing how we can do it better next time.
tFS: What's one thing you know now that you wished you had known when you started your business?
C & B: We have to say, there is nothing that we “wished” we would’ve known. We do not like to ever look back at the past and say we should have because we feel that everything happens for a reason. We have a very positive look on life and are thankful for the challenges that we have faced thus far. We always say mistakes are great as long as you figure out why you made it and how to learn from it.
tFS: How many pairs of sunglasses do you each own? Any favorite pairs?
C & B: Oh man…we absolutely LOVE sunglasses and def have a lot!
B: I normally wear our gold “Zesiro” sunglasses.
C: I love to wear our “Goldenheart” style.