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Defining a new culture in eyewear

OT  spoke to Covrt Project at Silmo about creating a lifestyle brand that serves its wearer’s needs

15 Oct 2019 by Andrew McClean

Covrt Project wants to “define a new culture in eyewear,” creative director of the London brand, Marcello Martino, told OT at Silmo (27–30 September).

“We want to give the product the respect it is due. There are a lot of brands that talk about craft, but the customer doesn’t understand how many people it takes to make the frames because a lot of frames are very similar,” Mr Martino explained.

“We’ve tried to create a product that puts design at the forefront of the brand’s story, as well as performance of the product,” he added.

Covrt Project’s first collection of sunglasses includes seven styles – “one for every day of the week” – all in black, apart from one flash orange frame, with Zeiss lenses.

Metal frames are milled to create strong and comfortable styles. Printing on the acetate models has been done using a specially developed UV technique instead of laser etching to ensure printing does not wear off. Every frame’s lens is cut from one piece to ensure that the spherical performance and base curve are equal on both sides.

Mr Martino’s first foray into the eyewear industry came when he was designing nightclubs and bars 15 years ago. He was asked by DJs, who favoured Cazal and Carerra sunglasses at the time, ‘If you can design a nightclub, then why can’t you design a pair of frames?’

“I designed the odd one-off piece for music videos and then brands heard about that because I was working with factories in Italy. I started working with London-based fashion brands. For the last 10 years, I’ve been absorbed in the eyewear industry,” he shared.

Speaking about how he created Covrt Project’s first collection, Mr Martino told OT: “With street culture and sneaker heads in mind, I tried to envision what an eyewear collection would look like. I thought about what these customers relate to. There were a lot of technical details and natural aesthetics from functional details, so I applied the same principles to eyewear and that’s how Covrt Project was born.”

In order to create a lifestyle brand that actually serves its wearer’s lifestyle Mr Martino created a bag that comes with each pair of sunglasses.

“The concept was ‘What do I do with my frames or sunglasses when I am not wearing them?’ You see a lot of people put them on their head, so I designed a bag that comes with a strap so you can wear it over the shoulder or around the waist. It can hold your phone and money too,” he said.

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