Glasgow based design duo Jamie and Lucy, have found a way to put the designing process in your hands to help you create the perfect pair of glasses. With over 250 different components, you decide how you want your frame to look. As one of the few eyewear manufacturers in Britain, and the only eyewear designer to create a leather earpiece, they are attracting a lot of interest worldwide.
They use the finest quality materials: genuine leather earpieces, machined titanium temples, paired with highest-grade aluminium, acetate or smoked oak frames. I met up with Jamie to find out more about the glasses and how Banton Frames was born.
SO, TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOURSELF AND LUCY AND WHERE THE IDEA FOR BANTON FRAMES CAME FROM?
Lucy and I both studied product design in Caledonian Glasgow together. The idea for Banton Frameworks came around from Lucy’s final year project. Now, we make the glasses in a workshop in Lucy’s parents grounds and spend days on end in the workshop developing our frames.
TELL US SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING THE PERFECT PAIR OF GLASSES.
Eyewear is all about contrast, which a lot of people get wrong. So people with paler skin should wear darker colours, and the same goes for shapes. For the five different face shapes you should also contrast this with the shape of the frame in your glasses. So people with a more angular face shape you should wear a softer frame, which is why the wayfarer by ray ban was so successful and the Aviator because they bridge the gap between men and women, they suit both.
YOUR NEWEST RANGE IS REALLY INTERESTING, YOU ARE ALLOWING PEOPLE TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN COMPONENTS, WHERE DID THIS IDEA COME FROM?
Our initial range was wood and leather; we’ve now expanded from that. When we first started, we set out to make wooden frames, wooden temples and leather earpieces. All of which are natural materials which was and still is a huge talking point for the company.
What has emerged over the last seven months is what is been covered by a designer called Ross Lovegrove, and many others, but is mass individualism. This is what inspired us to push the initial collection further. We now make 7 classic frame designs which you choose from. You can then choose from 5 different materials, 3 different temple colours and tips. So instead of paying someone a £1000 to make you a bespoke pair of glasses you can buy a more reasonably priced pair of glasses that are unique to you because of the combination of materials chosen to create them.
So the material is what makes the item individual. So when consistency ( the frames and shape) meet something inconsistent ( the material ) meet, you come across something very interesting.
TELL ME ABOUT THE LEATHER EAR PIECE?
Lucy came up with this idea, because she wear glasses herself, she has a slightly different view to me. When you buy a product and it can be changed and the consumer wants it changed, that forces you to go back to wherever you bought it which will also cost you. When you buy a pair of glasses, everyone’s head shape is different, you might need the earpiece (the bit that hooks over your ear) manipulated as they might be too tight, you might need to straighten them out a bit. Prolonged pressure behind the ear can actually cause migraines so the theory behind the leather earpiece is that it’s adjustable, its got a soft core that is bendable which is unlike acetate frames etc. So you don’t have to go in and get your optician to heat it up and bend it. With our temples you can do it yourself. We have overcome this with our wooden frame as well; we no longer make completely wooden temples we now have a leather earpiece on the end.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE THE LEATHER?
All the leather is sourced in the UK and we’ve been developing this design for the past 25 months now and have tried over 1000 different designs, what we’ve come up with is similar to what’s already done with acetate frames, we’ve copied the language and made it a bit different.
I think our glasses are really exciting for people who rely on their eyewear as it’s something new to the market. Not everyone looks for something new but when they do, we’ve got it for them.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU COME UP AGAINST?
There are very few objects in the world that are 100% functional but also 100% aesthetic. For example a tap has a function, if it doesn’t allow water to run out of it then it is just completely useless. However with glasses they have to function by aiding your sight, but also need to look aesthetically pleasing which is a very difficult balance to achieve because you’re dealing with so much criteria at once there is absolutely no room to hide.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS TO MAKE THE GLASSES?
First we cut the frames out of a sheet of material, wood for us. Then, we cut out all of the components and they need to be brought together which is done by hand. You heat up the frame to bend it and then add the lenses, which pop into a wee groove in the side of the glasses, and you pop the lens in.