Meet the eyewear label celebrities
can’t get enough of
In conversation with Pared Eyewear designer Sam Stevenson, for David Jones.
If your sunglasses don’t make you feel like a million dollars, it may just be time for a new pair. Because the perfect frames should do more than just shade you from the sun – They should add glamour, make a statement and finish off your look. But not all sunglasses are created equal: we bring you, Pared Eyewear.
Founded by Creative Director Samantha Stevenson and her partner Edward Baker, Pared pushes the boundaries of conventional eyewear design, while staying true to the fundamentals – high quality materials, smooth shapes and lasting comfort.
Worn by Katy Perry, Whitney Port,Cara Delevigne and counting, this distinctive range of art deco-inspired sunglasses is creating serious buzz. Believing that all good things come in pairs, Stevenson’s process involves balancing old and new, masculine and feminine, classic and modern, and creating frames that are built to last.
To explore the method behind the magic, we sat down with Stevenson herself to talk inspiration, collaborations, and what’s next for Pared Eyewear.
KATHRYN CARTER: Can you remember the first pair of sunglasses you ever bought?
SAMANTHA STEVENSON: I was always obsessed with vintage sunglasses and would scour markets for them. My first great pair was an oversized gold Christian Dior frame. I love oversized [styles] and anything quite ’70s. There is always an oversized pair of glasses in the collection for this reason!
KC: How does each Pared collection actually begin? With a theme, a material, a random thought?
SS: It’s always a time and a place that I base the collection around which gives the collection a great framework. It defines the colours and shape direction. All the details and materials are inspired by my research into architecture, fashion, art and contemporary design.
KC: Why did you decide to design sunglasses?
SS: I studied design and always knew that I wanted to create accessories. Whether it was jewellery, sunglasses or shoes – there is crossover in all of these areas. I gravitate towards designing items that are special and worn daily. I like that sunglasses have a longer shelf life, and when you find a shape and style that really suits you it can become
KC: What is it that makes Pared unique compared to other eyewear labels?
SS: We have fun with our collections and put together unexpected colour combinations. We focus on small details and bring a jewellery-inspired aesthetic to the collections – whether it is crystals on the frame, or unique metal detailing.
KC: You say your design philosophy is based on symbiosis – contrasting influences combining to create truly unique experiences. How important is this juxtaposition in your designs?
SS: It’s important for us to take inspiration from everywhere and the contrast of ideas, colour and materials is what makes us unique. Even the names of our frames are named after pairs – two things that are different or opposing but come together for a unique combination.
KC: Do you feel this theme is at its strongest when you collaborate with other artists and
SS: I love collaborating with other designers and brands, and it is something that sets us apart. It does really push the boundaries and makes us think outside the box of traditional manufacturing techniques and materials. We love how your designs are so eclectic and textural in their aesthetic.
KC: Where does the inspiration for this come from?
SS: There is a real focus on the little details, our deco corners are an example of this as well as all of the individual cutouts. It’s about trying something new and not doing what every other company is doing. Our frames shapes are wearable and flattering but it is about pushing the envelope a little further.
KC: Pared frames are handmade – how does this improve their quality?
SS: We design all of our frames in-house and I draw them all. I think this really gives us unique and authentic design handwriting. Handmade frames mean that they are made to last longer and are a better quality product. I’m not interested in fast fashion eyewear, I’m interested in a frame that a customer falls in love with and wants to wear. A better-made product is a nicer investment and makes the wearer feel more special.
KC: Do you have a favourite classic sunglasses moment from a film or photograph?
SS: I have a few through the decades. Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's is a classic, as is Michelle Pfeiffer wearing cat eyes in Scarface. I also love a picture of Elsa Peretti leaning over her desk in the seventies in oversized glasses. Our new campaign shot in Cuba is my favourite campaign to date.
KC: What do you think a pair of sunglasses adds to an outfit?
SS: I think the way that sunglasses are worn and are viewed has changed a lot from a more functional item to a key fashion piece. They can really add to an outfit and are a key accessory.
KC: What’s in store for the future of Pared Eyewear?
SS: We have some great collaborations in store this year and we are also launching some a small jewellery capsule for summer. So stay tuned!
This story was first published on David Jones's JONES blog.