This week’s brand under the Men’s Fashion Magazine spotlight is Finlay and Co. British Eyewear creating iconic sunglasses inspired from a British heritage. Their designs try to capture their customers by creating something different. With the likes of David Gandy being seen in their glasses, and having won Accessory Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards we were keen to catch up with the team to find out where it all began…
Tell us a little about the brand and what your aim is.
We want to create products that people can get excited about. Our aim is to delight our customers at every stage of their journey with us – from discovery of our brand – perhaps through social media, to a seamless journey through our website, to a wonderful experience opening their packaging and then loving their new sunglasses for each of its many benefits including the unique grain of the wood and how light they are to wear.
Where do you get your inspiration? How did it all start?
Our friends were all wearing very similar sunglasses. Same shapes, same colours, same brands. And there was no go-to British sunglasses brand that we could get excited about. Around the same time, we found a number of small teams working on wooden sunglasses on the west coast of the USA. We loved the products but felt that they were a little too skater and could do with some refining to make them appealing to a more fashion-conscious customer. We played around with designs and branding for a year and then launched in the Summer of 2012.
How does the Finlay and Co collection differ from others?
All of our sunglasses are made from wood. We use a variety of techniques to make our collection including one solid piece or wood or several thinner layers bound together. We cut the frames using a 5-axis CNC machine and then go through a sixteen stage process to hand-finish each frame. Due to the natural grain of each piece of wood, every frame is unique and stands out.
What challenges have you been faced with if any?
Many challenges! Every day presents new challenges but in a funny sort of way, it doesn’t feel like work. We started with brand as found friends who had never set foot near the fashion industry. There has been a steep learning curve, but the real joy has been journeying together as a team and working out where our strengths lie.
What have been your biggest achievements?
We’ve been very fortunate to have a number of lovely moments to savour. Being stocked by Harvey Nichols has been a big highlight. We’ve received two re-orders from the department store in the 6 months since first working with them.
Winning Accessory Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards was momentous as it was special to be recognised by the industry. Having David Gandy appear at the inaugural London Collections: Men was also a lovely moment as the sun shone for three days and he didn’t take our Ledbury Ebony sunglasses off day or night.
If you could see anyone in your designs who would it be and why?
We heard a whisper that Tom Jones had picked up a couple of pairs from a stockist in London. Having David Gandy wear our sunglasses on multiple occasions has been really special and resonated as he is at the forefront of men’s fashion not only in the UK, but around the world.
What are your favourite pieces from your collection this season?
The Beaumont Ebony has been a real stand out piece. It works for both guys and girls and it’s been a real joy to walk down the street and see people who I don’t know wearing this pair.
Are there any exciting plans for the future at all?
We have big plans. There are a number of potential partnerships in the pipeline and we want to continue to make products that are loved. There is such an opportunity for us in eyewear at the moment and we are looking to bring through prescription frames in the coming weeks.