By Jillian Urcelay
JU: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE EYEWEAR INDUSTRY, AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DESIGNING FOR YOUR NEWEST VENTURE, DE RIGO REM?
TD: My career began shortly after I finished my degree in Industrial Design, when I made the move from Brazil to Treviso, Italy for a venture in furniture design. As much as I loved this role, furniture became very static and over time, I found myself craving something a bit more dynamic. I started taking the short train ride to Belluno and was completely immersed into the world of fashion eyewear—the city’s biggest industry. Not only did eyewear offer me a platform to use my technical skills, it gave me the freedom to be more creative and see my collections come to life every season. I was hooked. That’s when I started my journey with Marchon in 2006 and Safilo in 2008, where I worked for many years in Italy before moving to America to head up the U.S. design team.
In 2018, I took another leap by moving to Los Angeles to oversee the creative and design direction for De Rigo Rem. In the short period of time with the company, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most iconic American brands—from Converse to John Varvatos, which are (FINALLY!) launching this fall as well as in the spring.
IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU SEEN EYEWEAR AND THE INDUSTRY EVOLVE OVER THIS TIME?
Over the years, I have seen eyewear transform from a medical device to a powerful fashion accessory. It has become a form of self-expression and has grown to become an essential style staple—which many consumers are now interchanging like they do their designer bags or shoes.
As technology and innovation have become stronger over time, it has allowed us to push the envelope on design and deliver statement styles while not having to compromise on quality or comfort. It is definitely an exciting time for eyewear!
WHICH OF THE NEW DE RIGO REM COLLECTIONS LAUNCHING IN 2020 HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE TO WORK ON AND WHY?
As a designer, I get to wear a lot of hats and work with a lot of different brands which I really enjoy. While each offer me a new challenge, the collection I am most excited about is John Varvatos. I have developed a very strong relationship with John Varvatos and work very closely with him to develop each concept in line with his main collection every season.
For spring, you will see a lot of this detail come to life from the skull decorations that originated on the jewelry to the color palette and patterns taken from the clothing, creating a more cohesive narrative throughout.
WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU MOST WHEN DESIGNING EYEWEAR FOR THAT BRAND?
Being a music enthusiast myself, I was very drawn to the rock ’n’ roll attitude and effortlessly cool energy that is at the core of the brand. I also love that the price positioning of the brand gives me a lot of opportunity to experiment with different techniques and innovative materials while infusing the rich storytelling into each facet of the collection.
SPEAKING OF JOHN VARVATOS, CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOUR VISION CAME TO LIFE FOR THE NEW ARTISAN COLLECTION THAT LAUNCHED THIS FALL 2019?
This limited edition capsule collection was my first big project for the brand and something that John has been very passionate about. After a number of intimate product meetings with him in N.Y., and a viewing into his private electric guitar catalog, I was taken back by the magnificence and artistry of each handcrafted instrument and knew it had to be the inspiration for our debut luxury collection.
Each style in the Artisan collection brings together Varvatos’ love for both music and craftsmanship, and fuses premium details such as exotic woods and titanium accents with intricate rock-inspired elements such as a guitar headstock hinge, a coiled metal guitar string top bar, a guitar pick temple-tip endcap, among others that celebrate innovation and creativity. We wanted these frames to be a true collector’s item so we will only be releasing 300 pieces of each SKU, which come with an ultra-luxurious leather display case.
FINALLY, WHICH SPECIFIC EYEWEAR TRENDS DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE MOST THROUGHOUT 2020?
We are seeing a lot of extended geometric shapes as well as an evolution of the ’90s being carried through 2020. The ’70s are also making a strong comeback on the women’s segment with oversized sun silhouettes, transparent and gradient profiles, as well as natural color palettes. ■