Mix a British sense of humour, with respected French designers, and Italian manufacturing and you end up with a result that is just… Woow! mivision spoke to lead designer Pascal Jaulent about the inspiration behind this delightfully quirky brand.
The Woow collection is the latest venture from the respected Face à Face team of Nadine Roth and Pascal Jaulent. The range is made up of 20 optical frames in six colour-ways, characterised by a unicolour front and two-toned temples.
Feeling a little hard to get motivated? Overwhelmed? The designers of Woow have inscribed a friendly little “anti-crisis” message on a round metallic insert at the tip of frames, aimed at giving you a “poke”. After all, who needs a life coach when your glasses are there to encourage you with slogans such as “Feel Good”, “Rock Me” or “Well Done”?
Q. Tell us about Woow. What makes this brand special?
The concept behind the Woow brand is largely influenced by British humour, attitude and styling.
The idea is that the frames make you smile. Little messages on the tips may read “Wake Up”, “Come On”, “Never Mind”. Like the name of the brand, Woow is a positive interjection. We like to think there’s an energy that Woow frames want to give you with their off-beat humour.
Q. How did Woow start and who is behind Woow?
When the (global financial) crisis started a few years back, many Face à Face customers – mostly high-end independent Eye Care Professional (ECPs) – told us that there was a lack of nice collections at a more reasonable price point, and suggested that we do it! It also gave us the possibility to offer a second brand to our exclusive salespeople.
So, this collection is a response to the requests of the ECPs and utilises the know-how of our design team, as well as our manufacturers. The Woow brand is entirely designed, developed and distributed by the Face à Face teams.
Q. Why does someone choose Woow over other brands?
There are few collections at that price point that are developed around a real concept, giving each frame a very specific and recognisable identity.
The Woow collection provides a perfect balance between design, shapes, colours, quality… and the entire collection is 100 per cent made in Italy.
Q: Do you have a typical customer?
The core of our target market is the 20 to 35-year-olds because it is primarily younger people who will be influenced by this new way. But of course the frames can be sold to a much wider range of wearers. Someone who wears Woow likes to live with fashion. The frames are bright – the colour palette is exceptional.
Q. Who designs the Woow frames and from where do they seek inspiration?
The Woow collection is entirely developed by the Design Studio, under my artistic direction. Woow plays with our sense of humour and does establish a new relation between frame and frame-owner. It is strongly influenced by British humour and the collection carries that chic, off-beat ‘trendy London’ feel.
Q. Describe the production process for Woow. Were there any challenges in developing the frames?
As I mentioned before, Woow is 100 per cent made in Italy. We work with several factories – some specialised in acetate, some in metals, some in temples, some in parts. All acetate materials
come from Italy.
Our Design Studio and product development team manage the flow of products between the factories to ensure the best quality and make sure the end product meets all of our requirements.
The development of the insert carrying the messages was a long process, we had to find a way to make it readable and durable. We ended up with a soft, rounded metallic insert, covered by a thin layer of resin. The typeface is inspired by the superb keys of old typewriters.
Q. Do you make a sunglass range?
Not yet, but it is planned for 2014.
Q. What do you think will be the big new big trend in eyewear?
Thinner acetate and metal frames, a return toward more simplicity.
Q. What can we expect from Woow in the future, in terms of design?
Many new designs are already under development. Look out for a new metal concept in four different shapes. Soon we will also introduce an alternative bridge for our best selling models to suit Asian face shapes.
Woow is distributed in Australia through Eyes Right Optical, which has partnered with Face à Face since 1995. For more information, contact Eyes Right Optical on (AUS) 03 9763 1333 or 1800 637 654.