Wesley Knight is a self-taught bespoke eyewear designer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Wesley was studying Philosophy through the Liberal Arts program at New College Franklin when he started designing his eponymous eyewear line in 2013. Taking inspiration from old-school, bespoke tailors, the idea was to offer eyewear clients something individually cut and molded to their face shape, needs and personal aesthetic. Oh, and did we mention Knight’s material of choice is water buffalo horn?
We recently spoke with Knight about his influences, design process, and future plans for to take water buffalo horn to the masses…
Describe your collection in five words or less.
Personas personified: timelessly, minimally, beautifully
What did you study in school? Is there any creative overlap that led you to design glasses?
I worked through Euclid’s Elements with hands on construction of his propositions. This trained my eye for proportion, line relationships, and ultimately designing. My designs are influenced by the totality of my education and how I was raised. One does not only create from the eye but also from what is in the heart.
What made you decide to start designing glasses?
I found my curiosity for making glasses after stumbling upon a pair of designer horn-rimmed glasses in GQ and finding a cow horn at the leather store. I thought, “I can make that.”
Does being based in Nashville influence your designs?
Undoubtedly! Nashville is urban and rural, both of which inspire me.
Where do you find inspiration for your frames?
Within nature, the city, and the human body. While in the woods, I am fascinated by the proportional relationship of veins on a leaf or the texture of varying tree barks. In the city, I intentionally absorb interesting or beautiful architecture, car design, and fashion. However, the greatest source of inspiration is my clients. I have the ability to accentuate or diminish features, to make the eyes less tired, or to create a frame that actually fits their face for once. The ability to do this inspires me.
What is the process for working with a client not based in Nashville?
I maintain a face-to-face fitting with all my clients, ultimately the same standards of a relational creation process that bespoke was founded on in the nineteenth century. I am able to connect with my clients for fittings in a city of their convenience.
Are there any other materials you want to work with, or have experimented with?
I love working with horn and precious metals. Currently, metal work inspires me by how it responds to heating, cooling, soldering, and shaping.
What is the price range for a pair of glasses?
$1,800 USD and up, depending on metals.
Tell us about the pair that you’re most proud of.
The most recent pair I made for myself was a culmination of high design and involved craft. I focused more on sculpture work – crafting the temples and face, playing with light and shadow by creating angles and contours with my files.
Do you plan to expand your business with ready to wear frames?
I would love to develop a capsule collection in the near future.
Ready to get your bespoke process started? Fill out a profile and find out more about Wesley Knight Bespoke Eyewear at wesley-knight.com.
eyewear: Yohji Yamamoto
notes: We spotted Cristina in Paris, wearing these amazing architectural sunglasses from Yohji Yamamoto’s spring/summer 2015 collection. Hand-crafted from pure acetate, these frames feature a unique, pentagonal-like shape, with built-in nose pads and a double, metallic bridge. We love the interplay between the starkness of the black frame, and the metallic silver arch. Monochrome lenses extend the Yamamoto signature: minimalist yet avant-garde.
notes: Kerin Rose Gold is the creative mind behind the New York-based eyewear line, A-Morir. With years of design experience behind her – Kerin’s worked regularly with everyone from Lady Gaga to Johnny Weir – Kerin’s now applying her signature rock-and-roll aesthetic to eyewear.
We spotted Kerin in these serious cat-eye frames from her luxurious A-Morir collection, made from premium Italian Mazzucchelli acetate by artisans in Turkey. These bold, dramatic frames draw inspiration from music and haute couture fashion, and wouldn’t look out of place in an editorial photoshoot or on-stage. The frames are entirely constructed by hand and finished with custom Swarovski crystals. Kerin told us she likes glasses that have an unique design aesthetic. Says the orange-haired designer: “I look for glasses that sparkle!”
eyewear: Garrett Leight
notes: We snapped Noe at a Garrett Leight party in Paris wearing the brand’s popular “Wilson” frame. This vintage-inspired look features a stainless steel metal frame and rounded lenses, with authentic windsor rims and contrast gold detailing. Noe chose a pair in matte black, with “matte, spotted tortoise” arms. It’s a delicate, lightweight silhouette that’s great for guys (or gals) with smaller face shapes or a longer face profile. “It wears the face,” is how Noe described this pair, which perfectly compliments not only Noe’s facial structure, but his cuffed shirt and shorts combo too.
Here’s a collaboration that’s got us feeling all warm and cozy: eyewear brand Shwood is teaming up with Pendleton on a limited-edition collection of glasses, featuring Shwood’s signature silhouettes decked out in Pendleton patterns. While Shwood is known for making wooden frames, the new collaboration uses durable Mazzucchelli acetates, with a polished black exterior. The look is slicker and more fashion-forward than Shwood’s original line, yet maintains a casualness that stays true to both companies’ Oregonian roots.
Shwood’s signature Canby model (photo above) is the first frame to get a makeover. This wayfarer-esque style that was the company’s first-ever design, and the new version incorporates Pendleton’s “Rancho Arroyo” pattern on the inside of the arms, along with brown polarized lenses.
Shwood’s “Francis” and “Prescott” models also feature new collaboration details. We love the “Francis,” with its rounded silhouette and classic keyhole bridge. A “Turquiose Serape” pattern adds texture to the otherwise simple, elegant design. The unisex frame feels New York-cool yet woodsy at the same time.
The “Prescott” is a chunkier frame with a raised browline and sweeping nose bridge. The new version also uses the “Rancho Arroyo” pattern on the inside of the frames. All the frames are finished with metal accents and include both the Shwood and Pendleton logos. Each pair comes in a custom branded box with a microfiber bag featuring a matching Pendleton pattern.
The Shwood Pendleton collection retails for $250 and is now available at Nordstrom retailers nationwide and online at www.shwoodshop.com.