Fashion designer, stylist and TV presenter, Darren Kennedy, shares his passion for spectacles as he prepares his next 'Darren Kennedy recommends' range for Specsavers stores across Ireland
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?
This is kind of embarrassing – I had to count them recently and I think I have around 42 pairs. For a while I used to rotate just my favourite three, but now, as I have so many, I go with a different style every day.
Frames are totally an accessory for me and a main part of my wardrobe. You can completely ramp up a look with the frame that you wear.
Do you have a favourite pair?
Generally speaking, my favourite glasses are always a rounded frame with a tortoise shell print in brown. However, at this very moment in time, my favourite pair are very different from what I am typically used to wearing – they are an aviator style which have a very bold, 70s vibe and are from my current ‘Darren Kennedy recommends’ picks.
Who would you pick as your style icon and why?
Tom Ford. I admire his timeless style as well as what he has done with his business and his brand. His style is effortlessly classic and would look just as good on an 18-year-old as it would on an 88-year-old.
Do you wear contact lenses?
No, I’ve never worn contact lenses and I’ve been advised that, because I’m short-sighted, I don’t need to. Also, I really don’t like the idea of touching my eyes – I’m quite squeamish.
"Frames are totally an accessory for me and a main part of my wardrobe. You can completely ramp up a look with the frame that you wear"
How long have you worn spectacles for and what prompted you to go for your first eye test?
I first went to the opticians for an eye test at the age of 13. I had just started secondary school and I ended up sitting at the back of the class with four kids who really messed around. For most classes I didn’t care that they were talking and generally getting up to mischief, but for French it really upset me as I wanted to learn the language. Anyway, I was wondering how to get out of the scenario without looking uncool, so I told my mum that I couldn’t see the blackboard. Consequently, she took me for a sight test and it turned out that I really couldn’t read the board and needed glasses.
How has wearing spectacles changed your outlook on eye care?
Whenever I am with someone who says that they can‘t see something or they complain of sore eyes, I always encourage them to go and get an eye test. I think people who fail to go for an eye exam are not doing themselves any favours; they are just fooling themselves. Plus, if they end up needing to wear glasses, they are opening up their sartorial choices to a whole new level.
What are your three top tips for helping someone pick a new pair of spectacles?
- Take into account the colour of your eyes and the shape of your face
- Choose a pair that you feel comfortable wearing for every occasion. While it’s nice to make a statement, if you are going to feel awkward wearing your statement frames on a Monday morning going in to the office, then they probably are not the best initial choice
- If I love a pair of frames, I will get them as glasses and as sunglasses, where possible. Therefore, you are covered whatever the weather and season.
‘Darren Kennedy recommends’ is updated three times a year. The recommended collection comprises of 12 men’s and women’s frames and is designed to support patients as they make their next frames choice.