The innovation-driven makers at RIGARDS and NYC-based “anti-trend” clothing label InAisce (pronounced “in-ask-ee”) have come together to envision eyewear that simultaneously feels like a foreign object from the future and a relic excavated from the past with their recently launched collaboration for F/W ’15.
The artisanal eyewear brand caught our eye a few years ago for handcrafting glasses out of sustainable and humanely sourced buffalo horn. InAisce designer Jona Sees infuses his once-a-year collections with organic elements that reflect and expand the perimeters of nature. Both are renowned for their meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship, and the eyewear collaboration between RIGARDS and InAisce captures the magnetism of their complementary sense of design.
After admiring the line for some time, Sees approached RIGARDS co-founder Ti Kwa about a collaboration. “A lot of times, I talk about certain series or time periods or spiritual elements that I incorporate into the design, but in this case, I felt like RIGARDS already had a lot of those elements there. There is a story behind what they do,” Sees tells CH. Motivated by their mutual respect for each other’s design, Sees and Kwa embarked on a collaboration that culled from the sharp-edge influences of architecture paired with the soft curvature of anatomy. “Naturally, the basic shape of sunglasses incorporates anatomy; the bridge and the eyes, especially, then the curve around the ears. That is something that kinda pre-existed and I wanted to inject some geometric lines into,” explains Sees.
Drawing influence from visionary architect Carlos Scarpa, the angular wrap-around design of the glasses punctuated by the circular lenses celebrates and explores Scarpa’s philosophy of hard versus soft. Functionality also played a part in the process as Kwa explains, “We also softened the lines of the frame as we have to ensure comfort and wearability.” As the project evolved through different prototype stages, Sees also imbued the glasses with homage to the ancient Iggaak Inuit snow goggles by adding a “third eye” slit on the sides of the glasses. Although the slit conveys a futuristic edginess, it also serves as an ingenious way to open up peripheral vision.
Noted for the grayscale palette of his collections, Sees also paid special attention to the finish of the design. “Within the buffalo horn, there are all sorts of colors and finishes. I thought that this organic, raw type of material and finish set really well with the futuristic lens and created a familiar feeling,” he says. To create the elegant matte appearance of the frames, Rigards provided its signature Sanjuro surface treatment (the term is a nod to the famous samurai of the same name featured in the Akira Kurasawa film masterpiece). Last but not least, imperfection is highlighted on purpose. “The hand-executed marks are like fingerprints—no two pairs have the same pattern—and add a one-off, noticeably handmade kind of richness and personality,” explains Kwa.
The approach to eyewear between InAisce and RIGARDS really encapsulates a meeting of minds and nature. “Whether you are wearing RIGARDS or Inaisce, it’s instantly recognizable,” Kwa says. First debuted during Paris Fashion Week in March at Galerie de Thorigny, the collaboration will be available at select opticians and boutiques around the world in May 2015.
Images courtesy of InAisce and RIGARDS