A pair of sunglasses can be just that, or they can be so much more. Here are four young Australian designers, creatives, and collaborators making eyewear complete with cult appeal and offbeat campaigns. These are shades that demand attention, not ones to hide you away from the world when you're still reeling from the night before.
“Not interested in offering customers a better life. No requirement for catchy slogans. No need for by-lines.” When your brand is the marriage of eyewear aficionados Dave Allison and Carlos Aviles, who have honed their design skills working for top Australian eyewear labels COLAB and AM respectively, all that’s needed is a singular vision. Sunday Somewhere’s is a seriously fresh aesthetic and luxury materials such as Italian-sourced acetate, rendered through a halcyon dream-inducing campaign fronted by the country’s coolest models. Referencing classic vintage frames in a way so modern it’s almost futuristic, Sunday Somewhere makes the last day of the week the best one.
Image: Sunday Somewhere's Facebook
Isson designer Catherine Federici does not design frames for the wallflower. Fans of the young brand include Lykke Li, Devendra Banhart, and Baz Luhrmann, which in itself is telling of Federici’s character-driven aesthetic. ISSON’s SS2012 collection fuses this vision with the Bauhaus ideology of design simplicity, bringing 1920s Weimar Germany firmly into the future via a range of frames named after key Bauhaus founders. Walter, Hermann, Gertrud, and Gustav are constructed from vintage Italian and Japanese acetates in pearlescent light reflecting finishes housing silk threads and metal shavings. The small Sydney brand is already stocked in 13 countries (including Germany).
Image: Cybele Malinowski
Ellery x Graz
There is just no way this collection could not be amazing. Anything Kym Ellery touches turns to gold, and eyewear designer Graz Mulcahy is already the go-to man for timeless frames. Their ongoing design collaboration has this season spawned their largest collection yet, featuring four designs: Quixote, Keith, Don Juan, and Cremaster (apparently Kym can’t get enough of Matthew Barney’s epically insane films). Each pair is handmade from top quality acetate in colors ranging from classic black to fairyfloss. Celebrity fans of the collaboration include Nicole Richie, Lady Gaga, and Kate Bosworth, but even for those without multi-million dollar empires, they’re worth every cent of the $330 - $440 price tag.
Normally there is a fine line between “collector” and “hoarder”, especially when you own 130 of something. Luckily the thing Nick Campbell collects is sunglasses which, besides being a very socially acceptable thing for one to stockpile, has given him a pretty good idea of what people look for in a pair of frames. Drawing inspiration from the eyewear of the 50s and 60s, Nick Campbell combines bold shapes and striking acetates to create wearable and comfortable unisex frames for cool kids that appreciate quality. His debut range features only two styles in a range of colors including milky-white acetate and cookies and cream, and has already been picked up by The Corner Shop. There’s only one tiny downside, which is that the collection was produced in a limited run.
Image: Nick Campbell Eyewear Facebook