Lily Cole-linked Wires Glasses gets seed funding as webstore opens
Eyewear start-up Wires Glasses has announced seed investment from True Ventures along with the launch of its new collection of modular eyewear.
The year-old company is particularly interesting because of its technology-based approach to the category but also because of who is involved with it. The firm was set up in 2017 by London-based designer Yair Neuman under the creative direction of supermodel Lily Cole, the model being a major asset as the company works to generate publicity for its website that launched this week.
It said that each pair of glasses from its 2018 collection are crafted with a foundational wire frame that pairs with seven different designs of lens rims in various shapes and colours.
The lens rims are interchangeable and can be switched out easily so the wearer can change the look of their eyewear without having to buy a whole new pair.
And in this respect it mirrors other eyewear developments in recent periods that have seen a move towards visually striking products with a more affordable approach than much of the modern designer eyewear industry.
The glasses come in unisex shapes and retail at $380/£270 but additional interchangeable lens rims retail for only $70/£50.
The Privé Revaux line launched last year by fashion entrepreneur David Schottenstein also tapped into the trend. It offers eyewear at less than $30 but has celebrity “brand visionaries” (Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld, Ashley Benson and Jeremy Piven) on board to drive awareness and add a ‘cool factor’.
Back with Wires Glasses, alongside its modular innovation, the 2018 collection features a frame with a first-of-its-kind invisible hinge mechanism, “enabling the frame to fold as a result of geometry, not screws.”
And there's an environmental aspect too. The company said that “conscious of the environmental impact of the traditional eyewear industry, Wires' co-founders, among them the model, actor and activist Lily Cole and socially conscious entrepreneur Kwame Ferreira, are committed to sustainable design and production.”
By 3D-printing the lens rims and using extruded metal wires, the company aims to cut the amount of waste that is usually created during eyewear production where rims and frames are cut from larger sheets of material.
The glasses are handmade by a family-run business in the Italian Dolomites, the heart of Italy's eyewear industry.
Neuman said he created the prototype when in need of a pair of sunglasses while on holiday. He constructed a pair using materials he had on hand, including a single piece of wire. "Wires is inspired by both ancient African wire artistry and technological advancements like 3D-printing,” he said. "It's art and science combined.”
With the new funding, Wires will focus on its direct-to-consumer strategy, including “building out its e-commerce site and selling its eyewear in exclusive boutiques in the US and Europe.”
"Wires is creating one of the freshest things I've seen in eyewear in a very long time," said Tony Conrad, partner at True Ventures. "The collection is unique, and the co-founding team has this incredible mix of experience in design, fashion and sustainability. We also like that Yair is focused on designing products that are in line with how the modern consumer thinks."
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