Though we’re officially coming to accept that winter is here, sunglasses are never out of season. The sun is still shining in cold, frosty London and upcoming skiing trips demand fashionable eyewear. Newly introduced on THEN AND NOW, we sat down with Sebastien Durelli, co-founder and art director of Ross&Brown. Be sure to check out their products (click on the brand).
1. How did you get into designing eyewear?
I’ve been working in the fashion industry for 15 years and my parents for a long long time before me.
I have been passionate about vintage and retro-inspired products all my life, including eyewear of course.
One day, while I was going through my collection of frames, some collected during the years by my parents, others that I’ve discovered in vintage markets, I immediately realised that some of these pieces were simply timeless and so much cooler than the majority of modern frames available in the market.
So, I decided it was the perfect time to start something new that was inspired by those past times, places and icons but at the same time I wanted to give a completely new sparkling look; a contemporary twist on these classic frames.
A few days later, with my good friend Mattia, I was already visiting suppliers and mixing colours, materials and lenses, and in 2013 we started Ross&Brown.
2. What is your process behind designing a collection?
It normally takes about 6 months to fully design a collection in the eyewear industry, same as in the garments or accessories industries.
We release 2 collections per year, therefore it’s a continuous process between research, drawings, colour development, sampling etc. Sometimes you work and rework the same style for a year until you are completely satisfied.
At Ross&Brown we love colours and we spend a lot of time in developing custom colours and combinations with our suppliers.
3. How and where do you source from?
The quest is endless! For years I felt like Indiana Jones looking for the right “piece”. The vintage markets and shops in Paris, New York or London have been a real passion all my life. Today the Internet is the place where I spend hours and hours in searching those pieces.
4. If you could use 3 words to describe your brand, what would they be?
Inspired; timeless; contemporary.
As we always say: “TIMELESS DESIGN WITH A CONTEMPORARY TWIST”
5. What was the inspiration behind the shapes and styles of the designs?
Each one of our frames tells a story, each style recalls a city or a place at a particular moment in time; for example Paris in the ‘50s, L.A. in the ‘70s or Milan in the ‘80s.
Inspiration is everywhere!… Books, movies, posters, art etc.
6. Tell us more about what makes you passionate about eyewear.
It’s simple: eyewear is the coolest and happiest of all fashion accessories.
Wearing glasses means (being) outdoors, traveling, sunshine… happy moments! We see the world through our lenses.
We wear them on our face, they’re the first things other people see.
7. Which is your favourite pair of glasses and why?
At the moment my favourite frame is our PARIS III partially because it fits me well and also because it is a very balanced frame that combines acetate and steel, soft round lines and straight lines, classic and modern.
As with our entire PARIS line, it expresses the cross-generational intellectual/bohemian appeal of the city.
8. How do you see the future of eyewear?
The eyewear industry has grown tremendously in the last 10 years.
The so-called “independent” brands are booming and new ones are coming out every day.
Today glasses are a very important accessory to express personality and style, that’s why it is becoming more and more common to see people wearing different frames for different occasions.
9. How would you describe your customer?
Our ideal customers are travellers that view cities around the world as their playground, as places to meet new people, to develop new ideas and to get inspired. They are sophisticated individuals that strive to experience new fast growing and vibrant cities like Shanghai and Dubai as much as they love to feel the history of timeless capitals such as London and Paris.
What matters most is the energy coming from them as they enjoy every moment with style and an open mindset.
Sensible to the arts, our ideal customers will embrace their passion for vintage elements that can spring from a black and white movie and from today’s most innovative trends. They are independent thinkers who are socially involved and well informed on the environment around them.
Ross&Brown is a brand for the “citizens of the world”.