The exclusive design collaboration between We Are Handsome swimwear and Derek Cardigan eyewear features custom patterns developed with Mazzucchelli’s handmade acetate that results in impactful optical and sunglasses in three stunning styles. Jeremy Somers the brand’s Creative Director, and Cofounder alongside his wife Katinka, walked us through the evolution of the brand partnerships, their design process, and how they’ve become a brand beloved by celebrities and influencers alike.
The Palm Bamboo series evokes a beach hut vibe by combining wood frames and palm prints – a color combination that is hard to beat.
How would you describe We Are Handsome?
Bold, sophisticated and attention grabbing.
Your designs always seem to showcase playfulness and a sense of humour. Do you think it’s important that fashion not take itself too seriously?
Yes, always. We take what we do very seriously in how we do it, our process and quality – but there’s room for a playfulness in everything that we do.
Can you tell us more about how you started, and the creative and operational/business collaboration between yourself and Katinka (the brand’s Designer)?
We started in 2009 with a seed of an idea, which gradually turned into a product and the company we are today. It was a very organic process and we let our success take us on the journey. Our strengths complement each other and we work well creatively, knowing what the other likes and their style.
What is your design process?
We start with imagery and moodboards, and refine down until we have a few things we love that will feed the design process. From there we work quickly to come up with a few rough options to get to a proof of concept before selecting a few to refine to.
What led to the move to LA from AU?
We were after a change of scenery, and looking to bump up the business in North America, and being here is the only way. We love California and being able to road trip to such a variety of amazing places, be by the ocean and just a short(ish) plane ride from home.
The fructose pattern, featuring pops of fruit layered over an original design is “a little kitsch, a little bright, and a whole lot of fun.”
What is innovation to We Are Handsome?
Being the first to make/attempt/produce something that really hasn’t been seen before. It’s what we’ve tried to design with our collaboration, prints in the acetate combined with great frames and styles that make a statement.
Can you tell us more about the three designs of the Derek Cardigan x We Are Handsome collection?
We really wanted to produce three designs which stood out from each other and the rest of the DC collection, but have the capsule feeling whole. There’s a print for different personalities both in subject and color.
What synergy do you see between the We Are Handsome and Derek Cardigan brands?
We love the DC brand’s paired back sensibilities mixed with it’s bold styles. It really resonates with us making classic shapes and styles with bold prints and color – they work so well together.
As bestselling frames are usually black “we love the idea of a black base with gold highlights and detailed, geometric pattern utilizing triangles, lines, and angles”.
As a forward thinking design house, what are you seeing emerging right now?
Across all fashion & accessories we’re seeing a huge upward trend of sustainable process and materials being used for entire products and everything from fishing nets to old tires being used innovatively to create new, brilliant products.
Who inspires you?
We get inspired a lot by architects and mew media artists. We find that these days, rather than being inspired by a few people’s work, it’s the mass collective of amazingness that exists through our social channels on pinterest and instagram that is really the key to our inspiration.
How have fans like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ronda Rousey, and Doutzen Kroes discovered you?
Usually through their stylists and creative teams. Most all of them have purchased their pieces to wear both professionally and personally – which is hugely flattering to us!
The Derek Cardigan x We Are Handsome Collection
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On-model photography shot on location in Palm Springs by Trevor King, product photography by Mark Marilla.