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[ Luminary Dialogue // 潛光。敘談 ]


“潛光,意指隱於表象的光芒。”

與身旁那些予以我們靈感,開創嶄新視野、並且擁有獨特生活風格的人們進行對話;藉由影像紀錄保存交談當下的靈光。

第二章: 客座採訪者星星親子眼科陳宜信院長與視光博士Blake Kuwahara的美學對焦

// Luminary Dialogue

“A conversation between JEpoque and those inspiring people who have a sophisticated sense of style and live their version of better living.”

Chapter II: Shared Vision - Dr. Sidney Chen and Dr. Blake Kuwahara’s cohesive aesthetic.

集結完善週全的服務以及最先進的醫療設備,位於台北市中心的星星親子眼科由畢業於美國約翰霍普金斯大學醫學院並取得博士學位的陳宜信院長領軍,除了提供全面性的眼科疾病諮詢診斷、手術、及矯正等治療項目,陳院長更親自主理星星親子眼科附屬的視光眼鏡部門,從品牌定位至選貨都秉持獨到美感。在“潛光。敘談”第二章,我們邀請陳院長擔任採訪者,藉由豐富多元的提問,與視光博士/眼鏡設計師Blake Kuwahra互動交流,更藉此難得的機會匯聚兩位視光領域的專業人士。

 

Providing the premium quality eye care service with the latest state-of-the-art technology and equipment; offering unique eyewear selection handpicked and curated by Dr. Sidney Chen- a widely known and respected ophthalmologist who completed his residency at the Johns Hopkins University school of Medicine with years of experience as a refraction specialist, Staricare Vision Center addresses all of your vision needs under one roof.

In Luminary Dialogue Chapter II, we invited Dr.Sidney Chen to conduct a stellar interview with Dr. Blake Kuwahara, our favorite design mentor.  It’s all about two elite optical professionals sharing a concurrent vision, and the steadfast love for eyewear.

可否簡單的介紹您在眼鏡產業一路上的歷程?是什麼原因促使您想要從事眼鏡設計呢?

Can you briefly retrace your career path for us, and please tell us what triggered your decision to make eyewear?

其實一切都是巧合,求學時期我研讀視光學,在取得博士學位之後我到洛杉磯的視光中心工作。工作了三年半左右,我意外得知Liz Claiborne (Kate Spade母公司) 的眼鏡部門在尋找 “潮流趨勢預測員” 的工作,雖然沒有相關經驗,但直覺告訴我應該要放手一博,經歷了鍥而不捨的多方嘗試,他們總算答應讓我面試,並且在晤談過後給予我比原先預想地更重要的“創意總監”職位。便先前曾涉略平面及室內設計,設計眼鏡倒是第一次,很感謝當初任用我的業主,他堅信美感與直覺比實務經驗來的重要,因為他的信任讓我開啟了至今將近三十年的眼鏡設計生涯,直到現在他仍是我的良師益友。而後我也在他的協助之下發展了自己主導的第一個品牌 “KATA” ,在當時這是美國市場首個定位高端的獨立設計師品牌。接下來,我成為REM Eyewear (美國知名眼鏡製造商) 的創意總監,並在10年後成立Focus Group West設計公司,集結了建築師、平面設計師、公關人才、以及專案經理,協助眼鏡及時裝品牌建構企業識別、產品及商業空間規劃。而在四年前,我成立了同名品牌Blake Kuwahara。

It was completely by chance that I got the opportunity to pursue eyewear design. I’m actually an optometrist (eye doctor) and was in private practice in Los Angeles.  After practicing for 3 1/2 years, an eyewear company (Liz Claiborne Optics) was looking for someone with optical experience and an interest in fashion to be their “fashion forecaster”.  After several attempts to secure an interview, they finally relented! After my second interview, the owner of the company offered me the position of Creative Director instead- a much bigger position and opportunity. Although I had some graphic and interior design experience, I had never designed eyewear. For him, having a keen aesthetic sensibility was more important than practical experience which he felt could be learned.  That was nearly 30 years ago, and I’m so grateful that he took a chance on me. He’s still my mentor. He then gave me the opportunity to design and create my own brand, KATA EYEWEAR, which was one of the first boutique optical brands to target the high end segment of the market. After KATA was sold, I became Creative Director for REM Eyewear and 10 years ago, established Focus Group West- a design collective consisting of two other eyewear designers, two architects, two graphic designers, a PR agent, and two project managers. Together we work on projects within the optical and fashion industries: everything from creating entire brands to discrete design projects (product, logos, displays, etc.) to retail spaces. Four years ago, I launched Blake Kuwahara Eyewear.

為什麼會對於眼鏡這項物件情有獨鍾?

Please tell us more about what makes you passionate about eyewear?

我認為眼鏡是一項獨特的配件,只要更換臉上眼鏡,你就能展現截然不同的風格。然而設計眼鏡不是件容易的事,鏡框不像衣物,能真正進入設計的環節並不多,除此之外更須兼顧實用需求,無論是強健的結構性或符合人體工學都是考量的重點,但正因如此我能將求學時間習得的知識學以致用。

hink eyewear is one of the few really transformative accessories there are. You can quickly change your look by just switching your eyewear. It’s also very challenging- we have very little “real estate” with which to work- unlike apparel for instance. And, lastly, it isn’t just art or fashion for fashion’s sake. There’s a lot of engineering and ergonomic considerations that have to be taken into account. I definitely use my optometric background when designing eyewear.

您如何在構思的過程中找到心所屬意的框型和概念?

How do you come up with the shapes and concepts for each design?

其實並沒有什麼特別的途徑。基本上一切都是直覺,我只想做我自己、或是我的朋友、客戶會想要配戴的鏡框。我的設計哲學是,一隻鏡框必須兼具獨一無二的藝術價值,以及毫不刻意的實用性。從細節來看它們是低調、簡約的,然而拿在手裡,戴在臉上,你就能徹底感受到其獨樹一幟的美感。

There’s really no set formula or path I take. It’s more of a gut reaction to what I’d like to wear and what I think my friends and our clients want to wear.  The overarching design foundation is that my collection is artful yet wearable. It’s about subtle details with as much attention to how the frames feel in the hand and on the face as it is to the outward aesthetics.

我注意到您以建築師的名字為每款鏡框命名,對於建築的熱愛如何影響您對於影響眼鏡的看法?

You named after your each design by architect’s name,how did the fascination for architecture influence the design of your collection?

眼鏡設計須兼顧機能與形式之美,這點和建築的理念是完全相同的。舉例來說,居家環境會有許多實用性層面的考量,而不能只是空有美感,眼鏡也是一樣的, 配鏡上的諸多需求多必須納入考量,思考的環節絕不僅是戴在臉上好不好看這麼簡單,因此我以自己喜歡的建築師命名每個系列,就像是一種對於致敬的意念。

Eyewear needs to be as functional as it is fashionable. The same can really be said of architecture. A home, for instance needs to address practical considerations but also needs to be aesthetically pleasing. Eyewear’s the same. We also must work under strict constraints- it’s not just an aesthetic exercise. As such, I have great respect for architects and have named my frames in honor of my favorite ones.

當初您是如何找到目前配合的日本製造商呢?

How did you find your Japanese manufacture partner?

找尋適合的製造商是做出優質商品的關鍵,因為在眼鏡產業工作多年的經驗讓我很幸運的與最好的夥伴合作。

Sourcing is key to well-made product.  I’ve been in this industry now for many years, so I’ve been able to develop and work with sine of the best factories out there.

 

在經營品牌的過程中,是否存在讓您覺得格外重要的轉捩點?

What do you consider to be the most important turning point for the brand?

對我來說,在看到自己的作品出現在客人的臉上時,就代表你做對了什麼。眼鏡品牌五花八門,消費者有成千上萬的選擇,當他們戴著你的設計,就等同於和你建立了情感上的連結,沒有什麼比這個更讓人有成就感了。尤其在社群行銷濫殤之時,每天觸及到的商業置入不記可數, 這一切都太不真實了,我們也不會選擇這樣的方式去達到曝光的效果。

For me, once you ultimately see your frames on faces, it means you’ve done your job. With all of the thousand of options out there, when someone chooses your frames to wear on their face, it means you’ve made that personal connection. To me, that’s what it’s about.  Especially in the age of Instagram and influencers, paid sponsorships or paying a celebrity to wear your glasses, is to me, so inauthentic and distasteful. We don’t play that game.

 

 

可否與我們分享您近期籌備中的有趣計畫?

Do you have any projects lined up for the future that you can share with us?

除了與另一個眼鏡品牌的聯名款式正在籌備中之外,我即將推出Blake Kuwahara的副線系列,將會是有別於以往的型態與風格,但依然維持一致的品牌精神。

In addition to a collaboration with another eyewear brand that’s scheduled to release next year, I’ll be launching a new sub collection under my label that has a completely different look and feel. It’s will be a very edited and will consist of four styles at first, but we plan to have a larger rollout in 2020.

 

哪一支鏡框是你最滿意的作品?

Which frame is your pride and joy?

每件作品我都視如珍寶,不過透明色的“Chambers” 鏡框似乎最能代表我的樣子。即便相較於其他款式,“Chambers” 看起來並不是那麼的繁複,但它其實是最難製作的一款。因為線條相當簡練、色澤如水晶通透,只要稍微一有缺陷就會輕易被察覺,就像極簡風格的建築物一樣,越是純粹的設計背後蘊含的是更為煞費苦心的百般挑戰。

They’re all my “babies”, but I guess it’s the CHAMBERS in Crystal which as become my signature frame. It’s actually the most difficult to make even though it looks the simplest. Because it’s so minimal, it’s technically the most challenging because any slight defect will show. It’s like minimalist architecture. The purest design is always the most difficult to execute.

 

哪一支鏡框最能代表您現在的心境?

Which frame represents your current mood best?

應該是還沒有上市的新款,我們都該對未來保有期待,而不是執著於過去不是嗎?

I think it’s a style from my upcoming release. It’s always about the future- not the past!

上個讓您感到靈感充沛的地方是哪裡?

What was the last inspiring place you’ve visited?

我剛從柬蒲寨的頌莎島回來,那是一個只有24間Villa的島嶼,我們住的私人別墅就建在水面上,那遺世獨立的感覺就是到了天堂一樣的體驗。

I just came back from Song Saa in Cambodia. It’s a private island with just 24 villas. Ours was on stilts over the water. It’s really a slice of heaven.

 

關於眼鏡產業的未來,您有什麼樣的見解? 

How do you see the future of eyewear?

如果有在留意眼鏡產業的動向,應該會發現市場上越來越多新銳設計師品牌傾向被集團併購以便在短期內獲得更多資源,但原先擁有的差異性相對會被削弱。許多人視這樣的產業結構轉變為威脅,但我反而看見更多機會。因為高端消費者喜歡更為獨特、與大眾市場有所區別的商品,他們要的絕不僅只是品牌Logo,而是更為別緻、高質感、擁有溫度的手工產品,而我也堅信唯有這條路才能讓我們走得更長遠。

 

I’m seeing a lot of new brands emerge almost as a response to the consolidation of the big companies in our industry. As consolidations happen, brands become commodities and are dumbed down. While some see these big behemoth companies as threats, I really think they are creating opportunities for smaller brands. I think both the high end retailers and the savvy, sophisticated end consumers don’t want what everyone else is wearing. They aren’t as logo driven. They’re looking for unique designs, high-quality, and artisanally made product which will last beyond just a season.

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