JU: KREWE IS BASED AND FOUNDED IN NEW ORLEANS. HOW DOES THE VIBE OR FEELING OF SUCH A VIBRANT CITY FIND ITS WAY INTO YOUR DESIGNS?
SB: KREWE was born out of the culture and energy of New Orleans—it has a very playful sensibility, and we continue to use the city as inspiration when creating our designs whether by incorporating rich pops of color or shapes pulled from traditional French architecture. In our second collection, we introduced a pair that was inspired by the wrought-iron balconies in the French Quarter, and it has been a top seller ever since.
YOUR FRAMES HAVE A VERY DISTINCT AND RECOGNIZABLE DESIGN, ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE FRAME FRONT AND TOP BAR. WILL THIS ALWAYS BE A DESIGN STAPLE OR DO YOU PLAN ON MOVING FRAMES IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION FOR FUTURE PIECES?
I think part of KREWE’s success comes from being built on authenticity and honest design. The shapes, colors and materials are unique while still being approachable to the average consumer. As we continue to develop new designs and collections, we want to maintain that authenticity and nod back to New Orleans while creating silhouettes that our customers love to wear and align with current trends. The St. Louis, which is inspired by New Orleans architecture, is still a best seller and will remain a core style for the brand.
AS SOMEONE WITH A BACKGROUND IN PHOTOGRAPHY, WHAT ROLE DOES IT PLAY IN YOUR AD CAMPAIGNS AND TELLING YOUR BRAND’S STORY?
My work as a photographer has helped give me a holistic understanding of design and provided a foundation to build KREWE upon. Focusing on line, silhouette and an appreciation for color has really been central to the brand’s aesthetic.
ON THAT SAME NOTE, HOW DO YOU USE INSTAGRAM AS A VESSEL TO PROMOTE YOUR BRAND?
It’s important to look at Instagram as not only a marketing tool, but a true extension of the brand. We make sure that the content we publish on our channel is cohesive and tells a narrative.
A LOT OF CELEBRITIES AND INFLUENCERS HAVE BEEN PHOTOGRAPHED WEARING KREWE. HOW IMPORTANT HAS THIS BEEN FOR YOU AS AN INDEPENDENT BRAND?
It’s been incredible to have such a variety of recognizable talent wearing KREWE—it’s played a huge role in helping put KREWE on the map. It’s also a testament to our designs and product integrity. We strive to be a brand that consumers gravitate toward and having celebrities, who likely have multiple fashion brands at their hands, choose our designs—it’s humbling.
YOU RECENTLY COLLABORATED WITH GARY BLACK OF BLACK OPTICAL TO CREATE A SIGNATURE COLLECTION. HOW WAS THIS EXPERIENCE AND DO YOU HOPE TO COLLABORATE WITH DIFFERENT DESIGNERS IN THE FUTURE?
I had been a fan of Gary’s long before we became friends so that made this collection particularly special. Gary actually originally rejected the KREWE line from being carried at Black Optical but since then we’ve developed a unique friendship around a shared appreciation for design, culture and eyewear. We had a blast designing the collection together, and I think a large part of the success had to do with a mutual respect for each other. In my opinion, collaborations are strongest when there’s a story to tell, and that will be something we look for as KREWE partners with other designers or brands in the future.