Do you ever wonder how spectacle frames are designed? Students at the Royal College of Art have a chance to take part in an exciting design competition each year, and the winning frames are displayed at the eyewear industry’s trade show, 100% Optical. Read on to meet one of this year’s finalists.
What encouraged you to enter the competition and design your first glasses?
My background is in architecture. When I first got into fashion, I found that accessories, as a medium lies between one’s appearance and body inspires me very much. I have always found that eyewear is an important part of decoration. So once I had the chance to take part in this competition, I decided to create this frame as an extension to my garment collection, which celebrates the marks of personal memory and the linear fluidity of time.
What were the challenges of designing a pair of specs?
My design was inspired by the razor wire that could be observed on many well-guarded architectures around the world. The feeling of defense encapsulated in such a simple product like razor wire, in my mind, manifests the fragile balance of human society maintained by discipline and hierarchy. The frame is formed by intertwined wires. To achieve the effect of this form, I sought help from the CNC technician in RCA, Steve Bunn, for consultant and later we decided to layer up the vintage acetate sheets to create a block for further 4-axis CNC process. Compared to 3-axis CNC that is widely used in traditional frame making, the additional axis allows the block to rotate and create a more tridimensionnel, sculptural form. Because of the limitation of the drill, the result is more ambiguous than the original design, but I love this special beauty of accident.
What did you enjoy about the process?
I love the realizing stage of design. This is the first eyewear I ever designed or made into real life so I learned a lot from my peers who studied accessories before. There have been quite a lot of challenges during the process from design detail to realization, but with support from the tutor and technicians around the school, I am happy that the frame finally got together.
Would you consider designing more frames in the future?
Yes, of course. I enjoy not only the beauty of frames, but also the tiny details that lie behind the design that makes an eyewear functional. There will be two more frames for my graduation collection and certainly a lot more in my future design.
Want to know more about courses that cover spectacle frame design? You can follow the RCA FAME course on Instagram.