HUMPHREY’S eyewear is an international brand that’s synonymous with unconventional looks inspired by urban chic street style. Led by creative head, Andreas Diehl, this is a brand that surprises and inspires individuality and change. mivision spoke to Diehl about what’s cool about the brand and why he just can’t get enough of it.
Getting into eyewear wasn’t ever part of Andreas Diehl’s thinking. The thought of making it his life career had certainly never crossed his mind… until a friend had an idea.
“A class mate of mine from design school, who is also an optometrist, recommended I try eyewear design. I had low expectations in the beginning, I was just curious… But I’ve been designing eyewear for 25 years now, 19 of them with HUMPHREY’S,” he told mivision.
Diehl joined the HUMPHREY’S team in 1998. The brand’s owner, Eschenbach, had launched HUMPHREY’S sunglasses in 1994 as a new brand for “young and style-conscious people” and wanted to create a collection of optical frames as well. Diehl got behind the project and the first spectacle collection launched in 2000.
we try to be the first brand in our price range to use a new material
or a new design and colour concept for our actual release
An Opportunity to Reinvent
“What I love about HUMPHREY’S is that it’s refreshing, colourful and authentic,” says Diehl. “And what I think our customers love is our unusual and stylish designs that give them the scope to reinvent themselves every day – to experiment and stand out from the crowd.”
When designing new collections, Diehl makes sure he creates enough variety to support the trend for multiple pairs of glasses.
“We have so much variety within the range that customers can easily choose a second and third pair of glasses and interchange them as they do their clothing. And why not – why would you decide on one style of eyewear when you can have many?”
Evolution of Design
HUMPHREY’S eyewear designs, manufactures and distributes optical frames for young adults that range in style from the conservative to the extraordinary.
For this target audience, style is everything and HUMPHREY’S has significantly evolved its collections over the years, in line with the trends. “In the first years we had a typical HUMPHREY’S look – our frames were small, edgy and very colourful with flat lenses. As the collection grew we followed the nerd and retro trends which we differentiated by adding unexpected colours – little surprises to attract attention. One of those was the red line that continues to run through our signature collection and our bright, laminated tip ends.”
Keeping up with changing global trends is a never-ending task and Diehl says to produce the variety HUMPHREY’S has become renowned for, it’s important to seek design inspiration from multiple reference points. “I find ideas in daily life on the street, coffee shops, and my travel around the world, especially through my favourite countries of Indonesia, India, and the USA. Europe’s trend show Bread & Butter provides plenty of design stimulation as do the optical shows in Milan, Paris and Munich,” said Diehl.
Finding new materials is also integral to maintaining a leading position in the global market. “Wherever possible, we try to be the first brand in our price range to use a new material or a new design and colour concept for our actual release. The designs and material technologies we use for our sunglass collections are transferred to optical and vice versa.”
As head of design, Diehl’s role extends well beyond the design process to ensure the final product is true to its original concept. “For me as a designer, the broad area of responsibility is very appealing. Besides coming up with the designs, shapes and colours, I accompany the collections from on-site manufacture in the production facilities right through to market launches. And whenever I see ‘my’ collection in an optometrist’s display window or recognise a model in my favourite colour being worn by a customer on the street, I get a definite uplifting feeling.”
The current collection experiments with combinations of acetate fronts and stainless steel tips. In terms of design, the brand’s frames will target a younger target audience with styles that more closely reflect actual streetwear. “Therefore we’re looking to take inspiration from some typical fashion style elements like sneakers, tattoos, shirts and so on and we’re expecting the new styles to feel more edgy, even crazy. Having moved through the stereotype retro / old school eyewear trends, individual shapes and looks are returning… the pendulum swings back.”
HUMPHREY’S eyewear is distributed in Australia by European Eyewear. Contact (AUS) 03 8756 0900 or 1800 818 221.