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Interviews with a designer … Claire Goldsmith

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Interviews with a designer … Claire Goldsmith

Earlier this year, in a New York loft, we were privileged to meet with Claire Goldsmith, so we are really pleased to be able to post her answers first in this series.  Now, we have tried to stay completely impartial in our reporting, however, Claire supplied us with digestives and haggis flavoured crisps (chips) – how can you not be impressed!

Here’s our interview with Claire:

What was your inspiration to become an eyewear designer?

1966 Press Cutting

With three generations of eyewear designers in my family, and the heritage that comes with the Oliver Goldsmith brand, it was a vocation that was hard to ignore! But aside from that, I love design and the beauty in well-designed products, whether it glasses, cars or architecture.  I work alongside a fantastic design partner, Jesse Stevens, who has worked with me on the Goldsmith collections for the past 5 years. We make a good team. We tend to be on the same page with stuff and agree on the majority of things. I guess you could say we are a design team pair! I think that our healthy partnership is visible in the collection itself. I love the collaborative process of designing the way Jesse and I do.

Do you have an all-time favourite frame that you designed?

It’s hard to say – sometimes it’s hard to separate your emotions between popularity and passion, it sounds a little fickle, but if a certain frame is selling well and everyone is gushing about it, it soon becomes your favourite! It like always supporting the winning team! 
That aside, I have always been enamoured with the Carters and Irwin, they seem to encapsulate the ‘future vintage’ aesthetic I wanted to create.

Which city would like to travel to next?

I travel to a lot of cities for work – which is great fun.  But I would love the time to escape from cities and explore remote islands in Asia! I’ve also never been to South America so that is on the ol’ bucket list too!

Is there a particular material that you like working with or that you would like to work with?

OG was made predominately only from acetate, in fact, they were one of the first (if not THE first) companies to use it for making eyewear.   In acknowledgement to this, we have always worked exclusively with acetate.  This year is the first time that we have introduced metals, and it’s nice to have a contrasting material to add a new dimension to the collection.  There are many wonderful materials out there, and who knows what we may start producing in the future, but whatever the material we work with, I want to be confident that we are always producing the best quality frame, and to do so, I need to trust the material and the factory who produces it and this takes time. 

How long does the process take from initial design to finished eyewear?

The time can vary, but I would say an average of 6 months.  The production side of eyewear is a tough job! The devil is in the detail and that it always the hard bit to get perfect!

What influences do you draw on when creating your ranges?

I always struggle to answer this question in interviews, not because of lack on inspiration, simply because it’s never one thing, or the same thing(s).  The market obviously has an initial input; what has been selling well, what hasn’t etc., but as we all know, trends, style, what’s hot, what’s not changes on such a regular basis that I often go with my gut.  Living in London (and travelling as much as I do) I am surrounded by so many beautiful influences; art, architecture and design.  I find looking back incredibly inspirational – looking at what worked in the past and looking for ways on how I can improve on it!

Thank you Claire for taking the time to answer these questions!

More details about Claire Goldsmith eyewear can be found here:
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and of course … by coming in to Ocean Optometry!

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