One of Good Looks Eyewear’s main suppliers for frames is Kenmark Optical. Kenmark offers a portfolio of designer brands, including Kensie, and Original Penguin, but the line we’re focusing on today is Vera Wang. I recently had the opportunity to speak to David Duralde, the lead designer for Vera Wang Eyewear at Kenmark, about their work and the process that brings us the beautiful Vera Wang eyewear styles that we know and love.
“The work at Kenmark is an intellectual and creative collaboration between the production team at Kenmark and the fashion team from the designer.” Says Duralde.
Kenmark is a unique operation. Each brand has an in-house designer, but they work directly with the fashion designers whose names are on the finished product. Kenmark works with designers who want to be involved in the process, to the point that the final product can truly be called their design. Vera Wang in particular is very involved in the creation of her eyewear. Known for her innovative designs and ability to capture the style of the modern American woman in her collections, Vera Wang brings her values and personal flare to the eyewear collections and is deeply involved in the design process from beginning to end. According to Duralde, his role at Kenmark is to support Wang with the technical side of things while she gives the fashion direction.
Both the technical and fashion designers have a style obligation: to make people feel good and look good, and Vera Wang and the production team at Kenmark spare no time or expense to fulfill that obligation. The development cycle for eyewear lasts 9-15 months, and involves discussions about color themes, moods, shapes, and patterns for the collection. Kenmark designers then take that information and use it as a basis for the first drafts of eyewear sketches, which Wang edits herself. When prototypes are made of best designs, she tries them on to assess their comfort, detail, and quality. There are often more rounds of edits and prototypes before the final design is approved.
According to Duralde, it is very important to Wang that her designs are appropriate, balanced, and composed, as they are worn by a diverse group of women in many different settings. Every woman wearing Vera Wang eyewear must look fabulous, chic, and at the top of her game. The pieces must fulfill these criteria before Wang will put her name and label on them. This makes the process and the final product very personalized. Wang herself is the hardest critic because she won’t sell something that she wouldn’t wear herself. In fact, she is often seen wearing pieces from her eyewear lines!
The Vera Wang collections use components that are sourced from all over the world. A single pair of frames might contain hinges from Austria, plastics from Japan, and a nose pad from France, Duralde told me. Outsourcing allows Kenmark and Vera Wang to achieve the exact colors, textures, and quality they desire without limitation in materials. The use of unique components from global sources is part of Wang’s innovative philosophy.
As you can see, Vera Wang pays great attention to detail. Jewel work, as seen in the Luxe collection, is hand-drawn and cast into the frames using the same techniques as fine jewelers. These aren’t just gems glued to the frames, and they add dimension to the piece while giving the customer confidence in the quality and durability of the design.
“Our mission is to make your patients look beautiful.” Duralde told me. “We aren’t just throwing something together and hoping the frames will sell.”
Kenmark and Vera Wang work hard to make sure that every piece has a background of careful planning to embody the designer’s values and appeal to women throughout America. The quality work, technique, and attention to detail that make up the total design show how Vera Wang fulfills this mission. The frame shapes are hand drawn, so the curves are all unique and never cookie-cutter, based on the lines of a face and what complements it. Kenmark and Vera Wang are always keeping eyewear professionals and customers in mind while they create their products.
David Duralde says that his favorite part of the design process is fitting people for frames at trunk shows. He finds the greatest excitement in finding the perfect pair of frames for a woman, and seeing how happy she feels in them. To witness people feeling so good and so beautiful in the styles his team has worked so hard to create is very fulfilling.
“Seeing the finished products on the people that they were created for, and seeing the excitement they cause, is where the love and passion for what we do comes from.”
Due to Vera Wang’s passion for innovation, endless curiosity, and boundary pushing, the collection is always moving and changing. The goal is to go out, find what’s next, and bring it back. In order to design what people will be wearing next year, the team must immerse themselves in studying, living, and breathing the future before it even happens! It’s a creative road and Kenmark and Vera Wang want their customers to be part of that journey!
Good Looks Eyewear in Cranberry and Pittsburgh offers Vera Wang Salon and Luxe collections. Come by to experience Vera Wang’s innovative designs!