In these dark days, here in Sweden, just before the winter solstice, we search for glimmers of joy because honestly, the lack of daylight can be downright depressing, the word ‘cozy’ is thrown around like an old rag doll just to keep the PMA flowing. We dream of sunshine and breezing out of the house in our light clothes with our favourite sunnies on, and if the clouds decide to part on a winter’s day for even just 15 minutes, you’re damn right we’ll be slapping those sunnies on and chasing that dream.
Sunglasses are a staple in almost everybody’s life, we wear them on the most visible place of our bodies, our face, if we need to correct our vision, we opt for a frame or non-frame that will be part of our daily life. We look for something that is aesthetically pleasing and feels great, something we basically love. And to find a pair that is made by an truly admirable couple is a bonus. I had the chance to chat with Emelia and Erik Lindmark of EoE about their inspirational optical and sunglasses brand. This couple makes me believe in the universe, that the stars align just right and good fate exists and that’s a glimmer of joy, folks! They have a synergy that emanates out of every pair of sunglasses and specs they create. The design process from beginning to end, from the drawing board to your own face is well thought out, there is a story and a place behind each style. When you acquire a pair, you feel like you’re taken care of, mom and dad are right there, you’ve made a good decision and you feel proud. They’re made with love.
There is something to be said about the term made with love, it’s real. The other evening I made a giant pot of borsch, I was so relaxed and focused, feeling so grateful and happy, just chopping the ingredients into a pile of little matchstick sized pieces, it was a meditation of sorts. Slow cooked, no stress, it was made with love. My four and a half year old daughter told me while she was gobbling it up that it was so good that I should have a ‘borsch restaurant’. To the average grown up it was probably pretty decent, before Stockholm I lived in New York City for seven years and cooking was NEVER a hobby, pastime or even a necessity at any point during my stay. That's just a recent example of no matter what the situation is, if we are genuinely connected to what we practice everyday, the outcome is fulfillment. We eat food to stay alive, we put on a coat to go outside, and toss on a pair of shades if it’s bright out, and then join the daily grind. Imagine if all this was always done with genuine thought, dedication, patience and love? When these ideologies are poured into something, we will feel the connection.
People are craving experience over material items, decisions are becoming wiser, unless you’re The Scary Orange Monster, but that’s another story. Minimalism is becoming a lifestyle for a growing number of people, as we become more and more connected each day, as our “lives” unfolding on social media, we are always sending or receiving a message. We spend so much time akin to the world through the little screens in our pockets, taking in so much information, both good and bad, we are especially exposed to so much atrocious human behaviour, that we are intuitively attracted to things that involve love. We have the information, we can make educated decisions and move in the right direction towards a better world for everybody, even or especially with the algorithms. A couple like the Lindmarks of EoE are part of the driving force to a better world, and like others on this path, their story is unique and inspiring.
The idea of naming your glasses after towns and places in the North of Sweden and your sunglasses after Swedish beaches and resorts in Sweden is really cool, do you take a lot of inspirational trips when creating concepts for your collections?
Yes we do! We own a house up in a small village called Ammarnäs (where the road ends in Swedish Lapland). We go there several times a year just to listen to the silence and find inspiration. It can be the Northern Lights or just a color on a stone that makes us come up with ideas. During summertime we also try to travel to different small islands in the archipelago to find inspiration.
Are you both from the North of Sweden? Did you meet each other there?
Yes we are, we grew up not very far from one another, but we actually didn’t meet until we were studying at the Umeå University. We were both engaged in Social Entrepreneurship and found each other both as partners and business partners.
Ah, that is so sweet! It’s so bloody dark in the winter months, especially in the North, and in the summer months it’s basically constant sun. It seems that multiple pairs of sunglasses are a must for one who resides on such a high latitude. Have you both always been ‘sunglass junkies’?
Haha! Yes, your right, during winter we kind of never get any daylight at all…. And then during summer you cannot sleep without dark curtains. We both did love sunglasses since it’s a necessity up here, during spring when the snow still lays, you definitely need them for the strong reflection from the snow.
Did the idea of designing sunglasses come first or optical frames?
Optical came first! We have bad vision and we individually automatically bought glasses every time we went abroad without really discussing it, since the range was so limited where we lived. There was a definite market for it. We wanted glasses to be an accessory and not a constraint.
Individually, what is your favourite EoE sunglass style? And optical style? Why?
I love our Lovvikka frame! It is perfect both as sunglasses and optical I would say, bold but still so thin and rimless, like ice.
What sort of sustainable practices do you implement in your production?
We use cellulose acetate, a thermoplastic derived from wood pulp, it’s the material most often used in spectacles and toothbrushes. Phthalates are chemical substances used to soften plastic, some of them are so toxic that they are banned in all toys and childcare articles. If you remove phthalates and instead use a longer curing process, you get a plastic acetate that is just as strong, it’s the environmentally friendly kind we use in our organic collections.
Do you feel that consumers are catching on to the idea of making conscious decisions when shopping?
Yes, we can see a big change, some years ago it was only in food, like a fairtrade coffee or bananas. Today people wants to know how a brand is working when it comes to sustainability and CSR. And I think this is just the beginning, just look at Gucci, they stopped using fur during 2017, it’s great!
Which celebrity would you love to see wearing your designs? And which style could you see them in?
We actually got Alicia Keys wearing our Maxida collab frame! That was a milestone, she is amazing and with good values, which is important to us!
The Maxida Märak collab frame are a hit, love them, so cool that Alicia Keys has them, it’s like a perfect match! Maxida is such an amazing person, how was working with her and what did the design process entail?
She is truly genuine and great! She was very involved in the design, everything from how the temple would look like, to a nose ring that came with the frame that she drew herself to look like a hoof from the reindeer.
How inspiring! Where you drawn to work with Maxida because of her dedication to the Native People in the North of Sweden?
Yes she stands for good values and really work towards helping the Natives in Sweden, it felt important to us to work with someone that have the nature as close to heart as we do.
Do you have any plans in working with other gems like Maxida?
Yes, we just do collabs with people that also stands for working towards a better future, so there will be definitely more of these engagements to come.
How exciting, can’t wait to see. Working together as a couple sounds very fun, one must have a special bond to create in synergy, do you have any inspirational or special ‘tips’ for this process?
Yes it is, we always say that we know eachothers strengths and weaknesses so much that we don’t argue about small things like housekeeping at home, which is nice. We also really respect each others workload, which I think is important, and we have the same goals for us and our one year old son’s future. I believe working towards the same goal is important for this process.
If you could collaborate with a big fashion house or designer, which one would it be?
Yes, we have one that would be a dream collab… Stella McCartney! She is working with fashion in such an amazing way, high fashion with a story, at the same time as she makes good quality with a sustainability mindset and technological development.
Love Stella, I can imagine that would be an utterly cool collab, make it happen! What sort of time frame do each of your collections have? Do you have a certain number of collections a year?
Yes we do collections twice a year, often more optical during fall and sunglasses during spring. Each frame is handmade and it takes about 12 months from a drawing to the frames are in the stores.
Nice to have such care in the process. What are your carryover collections? And most popular styles?
Almost all glasses are carryovers, it’s important for us as a sustainable brand not to do frames that are out next season. We often makes small changes like colors or details in a new material. We work a lot with materials from the North, like birche or reindeer antlers. I would say our After-Ski and Renskär sunglasses are super popular. On optical, Nattviol is a classic frame and Liljekonvalj are favourable.
Where do you sell the most?
Scandinavia and Italy
The wise decision would be to invest in two pairs and call it a day, Ammarnäs Midnight Sun
for overcast and cloudy days and Nattviol Northern Black Matte for those sunny ass days when the sun won’t quit.
Check out the spread produced by Odalïsque featuring EoE here.