Kirk & Kirk Eyewear – A Beacon of light (and colour)
Kirk & Kirk is a British eyewear brand launched by Jason & Karen Kirk. Designed in England and handmade in France using specially developed acrylic with a combination of traditional and modern production techniques – the collections are bright, bold and iconic.
The Hugues met with Jason & Karen to discover how three generations later, inspired by their heritage they created Kirk & Kirk.
H. Passion for eyewear seems to run in your family genes. Tell us more!
The Kirk family have been pioneers in optics since Sidney and Percy Kirk opened their first London workshop in 1919. Three generations later, inspired by their heritage and twenty years of passion for eyewear, we launched Kirk & Kirk. We are incredibly passionate about the industry and have just celebrated our 25th year in optics (and in marriage!).
H. Kirk & Kirk’s style is…?
We love colour, and this is clearly reflected in our eyewear collections, but also through our personal style. Colour is a way through which to express your personality. When it comes to clothes, both Karen and myself will look for interesting prints, well-made pieces - clothes that say something, and we’re big believers of quality over quantity. I enjoy wearing suits and have a collection of 1960’s Trevira ties.
H. Who or what inspires your collections?
People! I know that seems like an obvious answer, but there are so many different faces out there and so many people wearing glasses and sunglasses that we are constantly inspired. We are also enormously inspired by other designers; from graphics to sculpture, furniture design, architecture… the list goes on. Shape, style and substance are our focus and in an industry that is literally saturated with reproductions of the same frame shapes, we hope to be a little beacon of light (and colour).
H. What would be next trend to hit in eyewear?
The way we manufacture our eyewear means we don’t follow trends. As you know, trends come and go in a flash and we’re not part of that fast fashion movement. We create our eyewear with the approach of longevity, our manufacturing process takes time and we want our eyewear to be worn for years not moments. We design what we love and what feels right. Occasionally there will be a parallel with our collections and a particular trend, but more often than not that is simply coincidence.
H. How important is too choose the right pair of glasses and what are the tricks?
Its enormously important! I always find it interesting to compare what people spend on their clothing to what they spend on their eyewear. I know it can be expensive, but good eyewear is a great investment. Your eyewear can say a lot about yourself and your personal style, not forgetting its medical importance. My advice would be to visit a great, independent optician, they should stock a variety of interesting brands opposed to your generic licensed products. They will also be able to advise you on what frames are best for your prescription and help fit your glasses, so your frames won’t slip down your nose or pinch behind the ears – they’ll adjust and fit that frame specially for you - you can’t get that kind of service online.
H. Materials, quality and design. What else makes a perfect pair of glasses?
Kirk & Kirk are the only eyewear brand in the world to manufacture in acrylic. After many years of working closely with our Italian manufacturer, we’ve developed a very special grade of acrylic that offers unique qualities such as colour, texture and durability which have become signature to our brand. Acrylic transmits colour beautifully which allows us to have a unique colour palette, it is also more lightweight than acetate and has a fabulous resilience and adaptability which is why we choose to work with it.
H. Who would look great with a pair of Kirk & Kirk?
H. Next upcoming project for Kirk & Kirk?
There is so much happening at Kirk & Kirk at the moment. We recently launched our artist collaboration series which allows us to work with wonderful designers; from our lens cloth collaboration with London based graphic designer Thomas Hedger, to our capsule T-Shirt collection with the knitwear legends John Smedley. So, next on the list is a collaboration with someone very exciting and very unexpected! Watch this space!
H. The corner (bar or restaurant) of your city you like most, your favourite holiday destination
There is a great pub/restaurant in Brighton called The Urchin which serves great fish but please don’t tell anyone as we don’t want it to get too busy.
Our favourite place in the world is Hiroshima (JP). There is a sense of renaissance and creativity.
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