November 08, 2018
Alyson Magee embodies an enriched eyewear heritage, and her prodigious talents are now expressed in a stunning collection for Brando Eyewear.
Meet the Irish born, Paris based creator who reveals her passion for micro detailing in designing beautiful eyewear with unique architectural elements.
Q: Tell us about your eyewear collaboration with Brando.
A: I was introduced to Michael Jardine (Brando’s Chief Dreamer) a few years ago, and I was impressed by his approach to luxury eyewear. The conversation about working together started from there, we were both in agreement that we would be able to build a strong brand under the Brando umbrella – we share the same vision for what we want to achieve, which gives me great confidence in the future of my collection.
Q: Intuition rather than Inspiration is your motto. How do you interpret the differential?
A: I think they flow into each other. My intuition is my inspiration, it’s an ongoing process, ever evolving, and it’s all a part of me. Everything that has ever inspired me has played a part in developing my intuition; personal growth and evolution, life experience, travel, it all rolls into one, and creativity comes out of that.
Q: Your studies at The Royal College of Art in London were in jewellery design. Does this background influence your eyewear, and in what way?
A: Absolutely – my training in jewellery design played a huge role in preparing me for my career in eyewear, the direction that career has taken, and in dictating the kind of eyewear I design and produce. I have always worked in micro detail, so traversing from the delicacies of jewellery to the intricacies of eyewear was a natural process. As a jeweller, I worked with metals and plastics already, so I was able to apply these techniques when designing eyewear collections, and use my training to understand the architecture of a pair of glasses – from the conception of an idea to something that can be made.
Q: What materials and colours are you featuring in the collections?
A: The current collection features a lot of bold, vivid colour; reds, blues, greens, and yellow bespoke acetates, which are largely inspired by micro-detail in nature. I like to mix pattern with colour when using acetates; you can create an aesthetic that is seemingly sporadic but it’s actually highly considered. It’s interesting to work with colours and materials that perhaps shouldn’t work together, but end up complimenting each other. Stainless steel is a versatile material; I like how non-compliant it is, and how strong – it’s a challenging material. The use of negative space within the stainless steel frames is an ode to architectural references also.
Q: Architectural elements often feature in your designs. Could you please expand on this concept?
A: Before I studied jewellery, long before I moved into eyewear, I actually wanted to study architecture. That interest in architecture has always stayed with me, and influenced the way I view design. As I mentioned, the use of negative space throughout the collection is an architectural reference, and so is the choice of stainless steel as a material – it is highly structural and I think the shapes are reminiscent of contemporary architecture.
\\ AM3001 - signature end tips characterise Alyson Magee eyewear
Q: Attention to the finest details has always been a highlight of your designs. How is this precision utilised in your latest collections?
A: This again harks back to my training in jewellery design - similarly in eyewear you are working on a micro scale, and attention to fine detail in high-end eyewear is essential. The acetates I select are all bespoke, with fine detail in the patterns of colour that decorate the frames. I also have a signature end tip detail on every frame.
Q: At IFM (Institut Français de la Mode in Paris) you give Master Classes in eyewear. Nowadays, how do students perceive a career in eyewear?
A: I’ve been teaching post-graduates for almost five years, and I work very closely with the students – it’s a very intensive and challenging course. Most students don’t have a background in eyewear; so much of the teaching is about opening their eyes to a new realm of possibilities in their creative work. I like to think that at the end of the course perhaps having never considered a career in eyewear before, they may walk out of my classroom at least knowing that it is an option, and something they would have the confidence to pursue.
\\ AM5003 - two–tone acetate chic by Alyson Magee for Brando
\\ Style AM7003 Material mix: stainless steel and nickel silver alloy