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Interviews with a designer … David Rose – designer at SALT. Optics

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Interviews with a designer … David Rose – designer at SALT. Optics

At any of the international exhibitions we attend one of the greatest joys is in the discovery of new companies and those hidden gems which you were not aware of before.  SALT. were exactly one of those discoveries, we first met them at New York in April 2013 – Wow!

SALT.’s mission really sums up our feeling about their eyewear perfectly, “SALT. Optics is an independent
lifestyle company that creates premium handcrafted eyewear for people who like simple things made well.”  To say that SALT. eyeglasses are made well is a huge understatement, quite simply their quality is unsurpassed.

In Paris this year we met with SALT. again to see their new collections and to find out even more about their company.  Designer David Rose was attending Silmo and it was too good an opportunity to miss, therefore, we are pleased that our next interview in this series is with David.

Here’s our interview with David:

 What was your inspiration to become an eyewear designer?

Good question, while my surfing career was coming to an end, I picked up a warehouse gig with OSA (Optical Shop Aspen).  After about a week it was apparent that I was falling in love with eyewear.  I was surrounded by amazing brands and an array of different frame shapes, sizes, materials and applications.  Seeing all this was super positive and for years I just soaked everything up like a sponge.  Then in 2002 I was lucky enough to spend sometime working at Oliver Peoples and handle their production and manufacturing.  Although I never designed anything at OP, it was an exciting time to work closely with Larry and Patty in their design studio to find out whats coming up next, listen to their ideas about fashion and trend, as well as picking up on valuable reference points on why a DBL or temple length should be shortened or lengthened.  Then in 2006 I connected with Salt Optics through and old relationship with Ron Smith and have since been handling all their design and manufacturing.  Its been a fun and exhausting 16 years, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.    


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

Probably my favorite frame right now is Harlan.  I love the profile and
the use of Acetate and Titanium.  The vintage “line” detailing on the bridge gives the frame legacy but you can still dress this frame up or down.  I also think the color pallet and matte finishings have some staying power.

Which city would like to travel to next?

Halifax of course!

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

Its so easy to think about using different materials or taking frames elsewhere but I really love the tradition of making hand made acetate frames in Japan.  The touch each craftsperson puts into a frame is so refreshing and authentic. The attention to detail is an investment in quality that will benefit for years to come.  Now that’s something special!

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

It takes anywhere from 12-24 months. Some designs kinda just cross through waiting for a slot to open in the collection, like staple piece. While other might be excel excelerated because of fashion or trend.  

What influences do you draw on when creating your ranges?

I love shopping for vintage frames, especially in Japan.  I get a lot of inspiration from old catalogues of frames that aren’t really made anymore.  But I feel like I get most my inspiration from experiencing the ocean, mountains and desert around southern & northern California.  Some of the culture that surrounds this area is really cool.    

Thank you David for taking the time to answer those questions.

More information about SALT. Optics can be found out here:


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