Me and my glasses

“I realised I should make it my USP and be ‘the girl with the glasses’”

Television host, actress and entrepreneur, Eline De Munck, the founder of the Odette Lunettes eyewear brand, shares what drew her to eyewear design

Odette Lunettes

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

I was 14 when I couldn't read anything the way it was supposed to be read. I still remember when I went to the optician for the first time, my mum and me picked a nice independent with a good reputation and nice brands. But I didn’t like wearing my spectacles. I only wore my frames when I was already sitting at my desk at school, taking the glasses out of my backpack so nobody could really see them. I was ashamed of the fact that I had to wear spectacles.

As an adult I was hosting for television on programmes like Dancing with the stars and So you think you can dance? At a certain time I realised I couldn't read the autocue anymore when I was hosting. There were no young women on television with eyewear at the time, and I can’t stand contact lenses, so I thought: “My career is over.”

I realised that if I had to have eyewear, I should make it my unique selling point and be ‘the girl with the glasses.’ As I was hosting every day, I bought around six different frames because I wanted to be able to switch often. I wanted to be the girl with a lot of frames.

What drew you to eyewear design and the launch of Odette Lunettes?

When I began wearing my frames on television, the TV director who worked for the channel, [Bob Geraets] started receiving tonnes of emails saying things like: “Finally, someone on television who is wearing frames.” And: “Where did you get the frames from?”

I felt so connected with all these people. I wanted to build a community that is not only about the product, but how you want to feel while wearing eyewear. It's really important to feel good about yourself and your eyewear, because it's in the centre of your face – you cannot really hide it. My director became my business partner and we started the brand together. On 28 May we celebrated seven years of the business.

I always start my day with choosing the eyewear


How many pairs of spectacles do you own?

When the brand first launched I had one frame in every style, because there were only seven frames, both optical and sunglasses, in four different colours. Now I think I have around 60 frames. The good thing is that my prescription stays the same, so I can wear all of the frames still. In my opinion, that's a big difference in fashion between clothing and eyewear, and it gives eyewear an advantage in sustainability because you can wear it for a much longer time and it will still be as classy and as new as if it were a new release.

Remember eyewear is not only a necessity, it is an accessory. Don't wear the frames every day, every season, for five years. Keep it for five years, but switch it up. You don't have to wear the same frames when you're doing your laundry in the morning as when you're going to a wedding in the afternoon. I always start my day with choosing the eyewear and then I choose my clothing.

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

I like the more masculine, oversized pilot styles. I feel like it gives me a stronger and a fiercer look. I love wearing suits and I think it looks super cool. Most of the time I'm one of the only women around the table when it comes to business deals, and it gives me gives me a sense of power and strength if I wear a nice suit and oversized frame.

Who would you pick as your style icon when it comes to eyewear?

There was not that kind of representation when I started wearing glasses. There is still not, I think, though in Belgium there are more young women with eyewear on television. I think the reputation has grown in the last few years.

The brand formed a partnership with 3D printing firm, Materialise, for a new bio-based collection of athleisure eyewear. What is Odette Lunette’s approach to sustainability in eyewear?

‘Durability’ is not only a fashion word. I think it's very important to really know what you're talking about as a brand before just saying that you're focusing on sustainability.

The frame is made out of PA11, which is a powder made out of castor bean oil. The castor beans are grown in areas of India where nothing else can grow. It's a circular system, so the peel of the beans is used as nutrients to grow new beans, and 75% of the water that the beans need comes from the monsoon rains. 700,000 farms in India get an income out of castor beans. The good thing about PA11 is that it's recyclable, so if you don't like your frame anymore, you can just return it to us and we can make new frames, which is very important in a durable system.

For the sports fame in particular, it is not only about durability in terms of the material but also in usage. The frame is technically equipped for high level sporting, but it's also fashionable enough to wear while you're not sporting.

We also don't need to have a stock of the frames, with 3D printing, because you can just produce on-demand. This also means there's no loss in production. You can personalise the frame and do things in the design that are not possible in the classical production.

Good vision means the world to me. It means happiness to me


What does good vision and eye health mean to you?

Good vision means the world to me. It means happiness to me. In Belgium, your prescription comes with a strength so my weakness – having to wear eyewear – literally became my strength. Not only is it possible to feel confident in eyewear, it's necessary. That was my mission for the brand. That's what good vision is all about for me – looking at what's possible, feeling what you have to do, and going out and doing it.

How important is eyewear for reflecting the wearer’s personality?

When someone comes in for new eyewear in one of our stores, they might say things like: “I don't know if I should be buying new ones. It's only been three years,” So I look at their shoes, and will say: “Your shoes match perfectly with your outfit, and I guess you have several pairs of shoes. But I do not talk to your feet. I look at your face, and I look at the eyewear that's on your face because I communicate with your eyes.”

The frame that you're wearing must represent who you are. Eyewear has to become your asset. Eyewear gives me power, motivates me, and literally gives me vision. The biggest compliment of all is seeing someone on the street wearing Odette Lunettes.

What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?

  1. Just because a frame suits your face, does not mean it matches your personality. Both are equally important
  2. Don't go alone when going shopping for eyewear. Take a friend, but always listen to your heart. Go to a good practice where you will get personal advice from someone who is really engaged in helping you find the right eyewear. Buying frames is not the same as buying a sweater. Let yourself being helped by the people in the practice, because they might find you frames which you would not look for yourself and it’s good to try something new
  3. Remember that it still has to be about you, and not about the eyewear. It cannot be that the eyewear is entering the room first, with you; you have to enter the room, wearing your eyewear. It cannot take over for your look.