Accessories |Tags: FOURNINETY eyewear
Charmenie Wong was struggling to find a pair of affordable sunglasses that weren't vintage inspired (and she actually liked). So she set out to make her own. We quiz her about the launch of her new Australian eyewear brand, FOURNINETY.
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What is your background, have you always been in design?
"I'm not formally trained in design, but I've always had a fascination with it. The visual grammar of shapes has always been something that captured my imagination as a child. With shapes playing such a big part in eyewear design, I think it's definitely helped us with the launch of FOURNINETY."
What was the catalyst behind starting FOURNINETY?
"Being frustrated by the lack of non-vintage inspired eyewear options. We always see the same designs everywhere. Glasses 'inspired' by the classic aviators, wayfarers or club-masters. Once we realised we were not going to find an affordable yet modern range of sunglasses, we set out to create our own."
Do you design the range? If so, what inspires or drives the design?
"Yes! All of our frames are designed in-house in our Sydney studio. We believe that the design of glasses shouldn't be limited to what's been done already, and because of this we've taken inspiration from various disciplines of design. Architecture, art, fashion, graphic design, and industrial design. All play a part in the shapes and materials we choose for our frames."
Do you think there is a gap for sunglasses in the Australian market? If so how are you trying to fill it?
"Oh definitely. We're obviously not the first to offer affordable eyewear in Australia, but we realised that other affordable eyewear brands aren't really coming up with any original designs. Most, if not all of our competitors are simply regurgitating classic vintage designs. We're aiming to be a little bit different and more experimental with the designs we come up with."
How do you manage to keep prices so low?
"By dealing with our customers directly and keeping the process simple, fun, and personal. With us, there are no middlemen, sales people, or flashy showrooms that inflate the costs of what we sell. By designing, making, selling, and delivering our eyewear directly to customers, we are able to offer our customers the highest quality eyewear at an honest and affordable price."
Where do you source your materials from? Why did you choose to go with them?
"Our materials are sourced from the finest acetate producers in China. These are the very same suppliers used by many high-end designer brands around the world. We personally inspect every piece of acetate used in our frames and can say that they compare very well with Mazzucchelli acetate, the highest grade of acetate in the world."
How do you recommend someone finds the perfect pair of sunglasses for their face?
"Experiment! Don't limit yourself to what you can wear by following the 'rules' about face shapes and glasses. Try something different and you might surprise yourself with what you're able to pull off."
Do you have plans of opening physical stores in the future?
"Right now we're focusing all our efforts on our online presence. Once we see a demand for physical stores, we may begin looking into it. We'll only do it if we can make sure the opening of a physical store will not affect the prices we are currently able to offer our customers."
Visit FOURNINETY's website here.
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