Q&A With Eyewear Designer Tom Davies

tom-davies-tailored-getting-readyTom Davies, a noted eyewear designer from London, is making a trip across the pond Thursday, June 25 to offer personalized style consultations for his Dallas customers. Lucky for us, he took a moment to chat with ShopTalk contributor Kellyn Curtis about his custom-designed frames, what to look for when you’re buying new glasses, and trends for 2009. Also, for you Friday Giveaway fanatics, check back on Friday for even more high-fashion eyewear love. I won’t tell you what the prize is, but just know that you are very lucky I’m not keeping it for myself! Jump for Davies’ Q&A plus more details about his Dallas appearances.

ShopTalk: What kind of advice will you give during the individual eyewear consultations?
Tom Davies: Whether it is me or the optician doing the consultation, the advice should be the same. You have to make a judgment on the customer’s personal style and their natural colors and features. The best opticians and designers have a feeling for this and can create an amazing frame by getting each of these areas right, all at the same time. Since I will be there in person, though, people who see me will get a few added extras. I don’t want to promise anything, but I have been known to get out my sketch pad and start creating sketches and drawings for the more enthusiastic customers!

ST: Tell me about your Tailored line. What are the advantages of getting your glasses custom made?
TD: Imagine the compromise that takes place each and every time a pair of glasses is purchased. If you want a red frame, for example, that means skimming past 95 percent of the optician’s stock. Plus you might have a small face, a high prescription, and so on. You’re unlikely to find a frame that suits your color palette, your personal style, your prescription, your nose fit, your head width, and makes a statement about you.

ST: What gave you the idea for your ready-to-wear line?
TD: I started as a couture designer. If you see me personally I charge £5,000 for each frame. I’ve done so for celebrities, royalty, and captains of industry (and still do). But I wanted my own range of glasses to sell through opticians. My ready-to-wear line is different from other brands, as the main influences are real people. I’m very much a “people person,” and I think about who is going to wear my frames and why. I don’t want the frame to wear you. I want you to wear the frame. There’s a subtle difference.

ST: Who were your favorite celebrities to work with?
TD: I made Kevin Spacey a fantastic black acetate frame for the film Fred Claus. I was really excited to do the consultation since I love his films. I also particularly enjoyed making Richard Branson’s sunglasses. I swapped them for a first-class flight to Hong Kong on his Virgin Airline, which I think rather amused him.

ST: What should shoppers look for when buying new glasses?
TD: First of all, I’d advise a shopper to choose an optician who matches their style. If you like the look of the store, or find the store inspirational, then shop there. Chances are the stock they have selected will match your style. Don’t be afraid to invest in your frames, too. Remember that they frame your face and define your entire style. I can’t think of a single accessory or item of clothing as important as your eyewear, since it dominates your face so much. When looking at the price tag, think about how many times you will wear your frames and for how long. Three years for something which helps you see and be seen is worth a small investment.

ST: How can shoppers find the right shape for their face?
TD: When it comes to face shape, I like to follow the natural lines of the face to define and determine the shape of the frame. The eyebrow and jaw line are critical and, where possible, I like to follow these.

ST: What are some trends in eyewear fashion for 2009?
TD: This year, and for the past few years, it has been “anything goes.” It seems to be all about individual and personal style. Modern oversized Titanium, retro ’50s frames, and small round eyes are all acceptable at the moment. I can only draw the conclusion that the customer is more in control.

INFO: Meet Tom Davies on June 25 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Habacker’s in Plano (469-366-1044) and from 5-8 p.m. at Occhiali Modern Optics in Dallas (214-368-2777). The events are free and open to the public, but you might want to call the stores to make a reservation just in case.


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