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Me and my glasses

A wardrobe of styles

Fashion designer Paul Costelloe shares why “keeping it individual is key” to creating fashionable eyewear that is modern, fresh and exciting

Paul Costelloe

How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own? 

At least 10 pairs, which is an abundance of choice – a wardrobe of eyewear styles is important. A pair of glasses is like an accessory and accessories are really important to any outfit. Although, I must admit that the reason I have so many is because I travel abroad for work almost every week, and every week I seem to lose a pair. The Dunelm team is very patient with me.

Can you describe your favourite pair?

I'm currently wearing a tortoiseshell round frame that I think makes me look very ‘en trend,’ but I do love iconic styles with modern notions – think Roy Orbison style. Dramatic and square shaped with a nostalgic 50/60s feel.

What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?

I am partial to square shaped glasses for a classic geek-chic look, but I'm really quite open when it comes to eyewear. The Dunelm team always encourages me to go for more adventurous shapes these days. With my Irish colouring I always stick to simple brown or black, but a classic tortoiseshell never goes out of fashion.

Who would you pick as your glasses wearer style icon and why?

It has to be Clark Kent (aka Superman), doesn't it? Clark Kent’s glasses have become an iconic part of his persona. He depended on his oversized black glasses to disguise himself as an undercover superhero and it worked. They are now iconic.

A pair of glasses is like an accessory and accessories are really important to any outfit


How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?

I actually haven't been wearing glasses for that long, you'd be surprised to hear. I had to re-apply for my driving licence and went to my first-ever sight test. That's when they broke the news to me.

Do you wear contact lenses?

No. I did attempt it once, but I'll stick to glasses. Why hide away a gorgeous pair of glasses? They are part of your outfit and are a unique way to express your personality.

How would you describe your eyewear collection?

It is definitely fashion aware with a modern approach, contemporary and sophisticated. It appeals to a wide audience and is for men and women. Incorporating key fashion trends, luxury style and the use of quality materials is particularly important to me.

Who is it designed for?

I would say anyone from 19 years old to 99 years old, but Dunelm will say it is mainly aimed at those in their mid 20s up to 40 years old. The menswear range follows the adage ‘elegance is simplicity,’ offering masculine and clean styles whilst the ladies collection has the same feeling but with subtle feminine touches and expressive styles.

What do you always consider when designing your eyewear collection?

Would I wear them? Would the woman sitting opposite me on the tube wear them? Would the young man at my local cafe wear them? It's important to look at your surroundings. The people around me in my everyday commute are my customers.

How does your clothing range inform your eyewear collection?

Above all, it’s about keeping it modern, fresh, exciting and introducing new colours and shapes every season. Keeping it individual is key.

What is the key ingredient to great fashion design?

Keeping your DNA in all of your designs.