“Designed with individuality in mind”
Anna Lewis, founder of Ffin Eyewear, on her background in jewellery design, striving for sustainability as a norm, and the role of eyewear in identity
17 November 2023
Ffin Eyewear – behind the scenes
What makes Ffin Eyewear unique?
Three facts about Ffin Eyewear
- Independent eyewear designed “for individuals with an edge”
- Ffin is a Welsh word for border, boundary, frontier. The ethos is about crossing lines
- Established by a jewellery designer-maker and educator.
What is the latest collection that you have released? Why does it stand out from the crowd?
Our launch collection, Line 1, is designed with individuality in mind. The collection consists of three styles, designed in Wales and made in limited edition batches in Italy using Italian bioacetate. The frames stand out with their two and three-tone laminated features and strong faceted lines. This is an award-winning collection, taking New Designer of the Year and Men’s Sunglasses of the Year at Love Eyewear Awards at 100% Optical this year.
What is your approach to sustainability?We strive for sustainability at every turn. We want the brand to be as eco-friendly as possible, which is why we work with plant-based bioacetates, bio lenses, and recycled packaging and eye cloths. We keep the making process within the UK and Europe to ensure quality and ethical working practices. It Is key to consider sustainability in everything we do as a business. This, we believe, should be the norm across the industry.
Customers are actively seeking high quality and unique designs to stand out from the crowd
What are the company’s ambitions for the next 12 months?We are working toward a new collection which we hope to launch at Mido in Milan, so that is very exciting. We are also taking part in London Fashion Week this September. As a start-up in our first year, our priority is to build brand awareness, grow the collection, and connect with dynamic independent opticians across the UK and EU.
Are there any new projects in development that customers should be aware of?
A new range of frames in both sunglasses and optical options, in a multi-colourway.
Ffin eyewear officially launched
What did it mean to take home two Love Eyewear Awards?It meant the world to me. I had just launched and was very nervous about how the brand might be received. I’m new to this particular industry, so to receive recognition like that from eyewear experts was very important and exciting.
Beyond the brand
Could you tell us what informs or inspires your work?Inspiration can come from a range of sources. When designing, attention to line and edge is key and this can be observed in architecture and urban environments, mapping, and how we navigate the city. Timelines are also key, reinventing styles from different eras and giving them a Ffin contemporary twist.
Could you describe your background in design? What is it about the jewellery world that relates so well into optometry?My background is art jewellery. Essentially, it’s about breaking definitions of jewellery and embracing all forms of body adornment. Eyewear is part of that – an object that adorns such a large part of your face is a direct comment on your own identity. That’s why your eyewear look is so important, as it literally defines you.
Is there anything that you feel optics could learn from the world of jewellery?The importance of the smallest detail and the choice of material and colour, and what that might signify to the wearer.
What are some of the external challenges you see facing the sector? What do you find is the biggest hurdle as an independent brand?As a start-up, it is certainly challenging to be visible to clients. There is also a tendency to play it a bit safe when purchasing products when times are financially unstable. Personally, I think that’s the time to take more risks and make bolder design choices that excite the customers.
What are the biggest opportunities that you see currently?I’ve been told my designs would be appealing within the European market, so there are many opportunities to be had there, starting with a visit to Silmo to research, and exhibiting new frames at Mido in 2024.
What purchasing behaviours have you identified from the consumers who look for independent brands?
Customers are actively seeking high quality and unique designs to stand out from the crowd. A lot of the eyewear industry plays it safe in terms of design. Independent brands are here to change that up a bit, which really draws customers to us. They want to be different and invest in pieces they love that are well made and have personality and style.