Theo eyewear: Loves You
What began as a memo... on an order form has developed into the slogan for the most headstrong Belgian brand of spectacles: 'theo loves you'. Originally theo only addressed the avant-garde, later the glasses began to appeal to a wider audience. But theo always had a soft spot for the individualist. So in order to generate interest among trendsetters again, 'Eye-witness' was launched in May 1995. These spectacles were apparently unfinished and asymmetrical. Eye-witness wearers are often men and women who are kindred spirits. The Eye-witness line still exists today and every year new models are launched. 20 Years later, this family run business has developed into a major eyewear brand with an eclectic style!
The Hugues met Toon Somers to discover more about the family secrets!
H. Toon, Theo is a family business right?
In 1987 my father Wim Somers and his friend Patrick Hoet had the idea to make their own glasses for their own shops. 2 years later the first model was a fact. At first, they didn’t want to start a ‘brand’. They just wanted to have different eyewear than the ones they were selling at that time. Word spread fast and apparently there were more opticians out there looking for different eyewear. One model became two and other countries came in sight. Belgium is very small you know! ;-) Now, almost 30 years later, Wim has retired and my 2 brothers and myself have taken over the company. Although we still feel Wim’s keeping an eye on the ‘hood! ;-)
H. How would you define your style?
Every year we bring out 50 new models, each one in 8 different colours: from easy-going to classic and from avant-garde to extravagant. Theo’s frames are eclectic thanks to the variety of colours: you can wear a classic frame in a funky colour or an extravagant frame in a classic colour. Theo’s style reflects a bit my personality, I would say: with a total black look – which happens a lot – I wear a colourful frame. All eyes on the frame, you might say! But when I’m wearing a (preferably Comme des Garçons) shirt with a print, I rather choose to wear my golden frame.
H. Who or what inspires your collections?
Daily life. As we travel around the world to see our customers you come across so many things. People, stories, objects, cars, airports, windows, hotels, restaurants, … If you open your eyes and you look at what’s really around you, you will be surprised. What I love the most is visiting small boutiques and boutique hotels. They know they have to fight against the multiple shop businesses so they do everything to be different. There you see how and why they make a difference.
H. How important is too choose the right pair of glasses and what are the tricks?
It’s super important. But choosing the right frame depends of the sales person who’s assisting you. A frame really has to suit you! And of course I mean it has to look good on you, but it also has to suit your identity. It has to be you! For example, a while ago I had a theo event in Sydney, Australia. A sportive looking customer walked in. Apparently he was a barrister that just went for a run and passed by. He was looking for a frame that he could wear to work. So it had to be serious enough but with a funny twist. He wanted to add a bit of fun to his frame! It’s all about exploring who is in front of you. So it’s important you try to find out who that person is and what he/she is looking for.
H. Materials, quality and design. What else makes a perfect pair of glasses?
Very true, it’s a combination of all three. If our designers make a drawing on paper we discuss in what material the frame will come out the best. But fourthly, without a doubt: the wearer. Seriously, what makes a frame if it’s not being worn? Maybe the best accessory to a pair of theo’s is a smile.
H. Who would you like see wearing your glasses?
2 years ago I was in Milan for the optical trade show. While I was walking around in the city I passed by a very handsome man. He was dressed the Italian way: slim fit suit made of a beautiful fabric in an amazing colour and all details where just perfect. The watch, the scarf, … impeccable! And he was wearing a pink theo, model James 3 that looked just amazing on him! It even matched his socks! The fun thing is, when we made this frame I never thought somebody would actually wear it. It’s an eye-catcher. But the man was wearing it so stylishly and I was so impressed! I still regret not having given him a compliment! In short, I’m not impressed when a famous person wears our frames. It’s always nice, but I’m more impressed when I’m on a plane seeing somebody wearing our frames and looking beautiful with it.
H. The corner (bar or restaurant) of your city you like most, your favourite holiday destination
We have a nice restaurant just around the corner where I live, with a complete outside bar where you can drink a perfect Belgian beer in summer and winter. Every Thursday evening and Sunday morning we go riding with our theo cycling team and after the long ride we drink a beer together. It’s like a dream come true. And in summer having dinner there is superb! A big yard so children can play outside and we still can drink one last one drink …