Reknown eyewear designer, Blake Kuwahara, debuted his first eponymous eyewear collection during the optical shows in Las Vegas in September followed by a showing in Paris (SILMO) in September. The debut eyewear collection was comprised of nine (9) unisex optical and nine (9) sunglass styles all made by hand in Japan. Each is individually crafted out of richly colored Italian and Japanese acetates with one model incorporating titanium. Blake Kuwahara Eyewear will be available at a limited number of independent optical shops and lifestyle boutiques across the country.
Kuwahara, the founder of the multi-disciplinary design agency, Focus Group West , first gained international acclaim as the creator and designer of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand. His groundbreaking use of engineering and production techniques together with his highly curated eye reinvented the way eyewear design is approached today.
“KATA Eyewear was based on taking shapes and forms from nature and interpreting them in a new way. For Blake Kuwahara Eyewear, I’ve taken familiar eye shapes but encapsulate them in a nontraditional surrounding shape. By essentially making a ‘frame within a frame’, the juxtaposition of shapes and colors creates a design tension that is fresh and unexpected. I wanted this collection to reflect my own aesthetic sensibility – streamlined and modern, but soulful with an artisanal hand”, says Kuwahara.
“The complexity of seamlessly bonding two frames together was a major technical challenge, but the results are sublime. Blake’s attention to detail is unparalleled. He is such an iconic figure in the design industry and has a huge following. We are thrilled to be working with him on this very personal project”, says Richard Mewha, President of Fade To Grey, the newly formed distributing company for Kuwahara’s line. Mewha is also co-founder of the high-end eyewear brand, Bevel.
In addition to the eyewear, Kuwahara designed all of the packaging, cases, displays and accessories which currently include a tote bag and a hand mirror. Kuwahara’s logo was created by longtime collaborator, Romane Cameron, based on Kuwahara’s Japanese family crest (or kamon).
Kuwahara’s bold experimentation and innovation have gained him a following in the fashion media and has been profiled in Vogue, ELLE, Bazaar, GQ, In Style, and Esquire and has been seen on E!, Access Hollywood, MTV, and CNN. Buzz magazine voted Kuwahara one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles” and Detour magazine called him, “a gifted talent, blessed with savvy and unmistakable sense of style.” Kuwahara was recently named by Brilliant Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important People in the Eyewear Industry”. Kuwahara has also collaborated extensively on eyewear collections for John Varvatos, Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarapfour, Hanae Mori, and Coach.
A celebrity favorite, Kuwahara’s designs are worn by Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Will Smith, Jeremy Piven, Samuel L. Jackson, Casey Affleck, Slash, and Gwyneth Paltrow among many others.
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).