The sun is shining, summer is here and it’s time to pull out your favourite sunglasses. I was recently introduced to a bold an innovative eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara. His groundbreaking use of engineering and production techniques to create texture and detail reinvented the way eyewear design is approached today with his unique ‘frame within a frame’ design.
“I don’t design every day, but visual inspiration can come at any time in any form- architecture, street fashion, packaging, a retail setting, something vintage,” shares Kuwahara. “Fortunately, we live in a world where our phones are also cameras so I’m snapped into pictures constantly and keep an “Inspiration” folder in my photo album.”
Kuwahara, first gained international acclaim as the creator and designer of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand, he has also designed eyewear collections for Coach, Converse, Lucky Brand, Rock & Republic and for New York-based fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarafpour, and John Varvatos as well as a collection for the legendary haute couture Japanese fashion designer, Hanae Mori. Basically all those spectacles and sunglasses you have been admiring – Blake Kuwahara probably had a hand in making.
Kuwahara has garnered a multitude of awards for his designs including “Best of Category in Consumer Products” from I.D. magazine and “Silmo d’Or – Prix Special Journalists de Mode” from a panel of French fashion journalists. Kuwahara is also a longstanding member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
A celebrity favorite, Kuwahara’s designs are worn by Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Casey Affleck, Slash, and Charlize Theron among many others.
His inspiration comes from those closest to him.
“I think about my friends and family- many of whom work in creative fields: architects, photographers, fashion, graphic and interior designers- they all have a keen aesthetic sensitivity but also have to navigate the business world,” Kuwahara tells us. “My collection is designed to be artful but also wearable. And, selfishly- I need to live every piece. I’m my own worst critic.”