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Sunday / June 16.
HomemifashionJaguar Eyewear

Jaguar Eyewear

Fourth-generation designer, Eberhard Müller-Menrad, the Managing Director of Menrad, a German company that has been synonymous with precision craftsmanship since 1896, has the heavy responsibility of translating the indescribable feeling of Jaguar into an eyewear range.

Jaguar: “A feeling, not a car. Indescribable in words, but so easily describable once you sit in one. Think of a time when everything was right with your world, think cool breeze on a hot day, think Jaguar.”

The words are posted on Lovemarks, a website dedicated to brands that inspire consumer passion. And Jaguar has inspired passion since 1935, when founder Sir William Lyons began creating his beautiful, fast cars – cars that demand immediate attention.

Mr. Müller-Menrad, says the Jaguar eyewear range appeals to those who understand that Jaguar make more than ‘just a car’. It is above fashion, above the latest trends. It means something.

In addition, one of the secrets of the success of Jaguar is the fact that we do not re-invent the brand every year and change everything

Jaguar recently launched the new, more adventurous C-X75 concept car. It is sleek, it is voluptuous and it pushes the boundaries of design and performance.

Mr. Müller-Menrad told mivision that the eyewear range will evolve with the same style and grace:

Q: Tell us about Jaguar. What makes this brand special?

Jaguar is a contemporary modern brand, which is obviously best known for fast, beautiful cars and automotive excellence, with a true heritage. Jaguar has been synonymous with British luxury since 1935.

Jaguar – the car – stands for seductive design, sporting luxury, stimulating performance and emotional engineering.

We’ve been partnered with Menrad now for more than 25 years, and Menrad has successfully taken these brand values and implemented them in the Jaguar eyewear range.

Jaguar eyewear is a combination of high quality eyewear and consistent design language.

The long-term positioning of Jaguar eyewear is as high-end men’s eyewear. The brand used to be known for its more for conservative eyewear, which targeted the over 55 year age group.

About five or six years ago, the brand was rejuvenated. We have made the brand more modern and contemporary by introducing cleaner design into the classic segment with then Jaguar Classic range, and adding the Jaguar Spirit range, which targets the 35 to 60 year age group.

Jaguar eyewear is also known for a large variety in sizes (especially large sizes).

Q: When did you start working for Jaguar at Menrad?

I’ve personally worked on the Jaguar brand quite closely for six years.

The product manager who also works on the design is Bernd Hirner. He’s been with Menrad for 30 years, after starting as a toolmaker in the company’s German headquarters. He has a very good general knowledge of eyewear and a good feeling for the design of frames and sunglasses.

Bernd started working on the Jaguar more than 10 years ago, and provides that consistent design language that I mentioned earlier.

Q: Where do you seek inspiration for your Jaguar designs?

I personally meet with the design team of Jaguar cars once a year.

We try to identify design features of new cars, new materials used, etc. and implement them in eyewear

Q: How do you maintain the iconic ‘Jaguar’ style?

Every new style has to meet the criteria of Jaguar design. Typically, Jaguar eye shapes adopt a ‘flowing’ design, with soft shapes and forms.

We ensure this by having people working on the brand who understand the brand well – often they’ve been working with the brand for a long time – and who have a lot of experience in eyewear.

In addition, one of the secrets of the success of Jaguar is the fact that we do not re-invent the brand every year and change everything. Consistency is important. We take gradual steps to keep the brand modern and contemporary, but not extreme steps.

Q: How do the designs for optical frames differ from sun? Do you feel that fashion in optical frame design is gaining in importance?

There are a lot of similarities. The general design language is the same for optical and sun – that is the flowing design and soft forms.

We also use the same temple designs in both collections. This is important in order to achieve a consistent look for the collection.

We have the same segmentation in optical and sun (Jaguar Classic and Jaguar Spirit)

In our sun range, Jaguar Classic is Base 6 and, therefore, can be fitted with ophthalmic sunglass lenses without any problems and without imposing a huge cost. The colours of this range are ‘tuned down’.

Jaguar Spirit is more sporty – mainly Base 8, some toric lenses. There are no crazy colours but some small, colourful design features that make the product look more modern, younger.

In regards to whether optical frame design is gaining more importance, I think this is true. In my opinion, people (especially people over 45) are nowadays more concerned about how they look. Everybody wants to look younger and they’ll do quite a bit to achieve that. They’ll work out, go to the spa, have cosmetic treatments, even plastic surgery… with which I disagree, by the way.

This is also true when it comes to eyewear. People are more concerned how the eyewear makes them look and they’ll search for eyewear that makes them look younger, rather than older. Therefore, the type of product that people wear today at a certain age is very different from what people wore at the same age five or 10 years ago. For that reason, we rejuvenated the brand about six years ago and it has proven to be successful.

Q: What do you think will be the new big trend in eyewear?

I see a few ‘smaller’ developments, rather than one big trend.

Of course, there’s the Vintage look, which has already arrived, but this is not for everybody, only for the fashion-oriented people. This is also not suited for the Jaguar brand because Jaguar has its own design language.

Eye shapes are getting larger. Acetate styles are (still) gaining importance. Styles with fronts made of metal steel, rather than regular bridge and eye rim, have gained importance and will keep their market share in the future.

Colours will continue to play an important role.

Q: What has Jaguar got planned for the future in terms of design?

We want to continue our successful way by sticking to the Jaguar-specific design language. That means adopting the same general design language as the cars, looking for design transfer from the cars for special details, using Jaguar-specific eyeshapes, with a lot of attention to nice, small design feature to be implemented in the temple design. At the same time, we’ll be considering general design trends in the optical market and implementing them in the Jaguar collection, and that means looking at larger eyeshapes, higher acatete share… We’ll follow closely what’s going on in the marketplace.

Jaguar does not need to be a trendsetter because the target group, in most cases, is also not trend setting. If we implement the general trends – but in a Jaguar-typical way – this works well for us.