This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with winners of the Accessories Council's 2021 Design Excellence Awards (DEA). Students are enrolled in the College's Introduction to the Fashion Business classes.
On October 18th, we had the opportunity to sit down with the founder and CEO of the eyewear company, Swin Huang, to learn more about what makes these products unique and how she began her journey in the fashion accessory business.
What led you to designing eyewear?
After working in the graphic design industry for ten years, Swin needed a change. She told us, "I wanted to solve problems; so, I leaned into eyewear because I’ve worn glasses since I was a kid and I know all the pain points, “they’re so heavy,” “they hurt my ears,” “they keep sliding down my nose,” and “I broke many pairs of my glasses.” I noticed that not many brands address these problems, and that’s why I started designing eyewear.”
Can you tell us more about the screwless design and lightweight materials?
“The whole idea is "Minimalist design with maximum durability and comfort." The glasses are made of Japanese stainless steel which is extremely thin and lightweight… the thickness is thinner than a credit card, and at the same time very durable.” Huang then began to bend the glasses, nearly in half, without breaking them and stated, “there’s not lots of eyewear where you can do this.”
“In terms of the no-screw design, we cut out unnecessary components that traditional glasses have, such as barrel hinges and screws. For traditional glasses, after half a year of wearing them, the temple arms start to swing, and that's because the hinge screws get loose over time, and it can end up missing screws. When it comes to eyewear, other brands focus on the look, but not necessarily on the user experience. Great user experience is our foundation when we develop The No. 2 frames. Glasses can be comfortable and still look good and be fashionable.”
What was your reaction to winning this year’s Design Excellence Award?
“I was actually very, very surprised because lots of internationally-known brands often win Accessories Council awards. My company just launched in February and is pretty new. I’m honored and surprised to be able to compete with so many great companies and brands.”
What is your vision for the future?
“My vision is to create an easy and enjoyable experience when it comes to shopping for glasses," Huang told us. "Right now, purchasing glasses is a hassle. You have to go to the optometrist for your prescription first, go to opticians for the lens replacement, and wait a week to get your glasses. I want these things to happen under one roof within 30 mins, and while customers are waiting for their glasses to be done, they can relax and chill in our cafe area. Convenience is one of the foundations of designing eyewear, and I want it to be like that when purchasing glasses in the future. It should be an enjoyable experience from buying to wearing.”
Are you planning on introducing any new or updated designs?
“Recently, we launched two new styles, the square and aviator; and we will keep developing new designs in the future. Right now, we have the metal material and I hope to incorporate more plastic with the metal, but the goal will always be to stay screwless and super lightweight, comfortable, and durable.”
Can you offer any advice to students hoping to make it in the fashion or accessory industry?
“When you have an idea, you have to execute it. So many people worry about if they’re ready or not and they just think for years without executing anything, which means nothing. You have to take the first step when a problem comes up, you will start figuring out ways to solve it.”
Swin went on to say, “Be persistent. Being in business is really hard and you have to be mentally prepared. You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Our experience interviewing Swin Huang was not only educational, but exciting as well. Alongside answering all our questions and sharing the story behind The No.2 Eyewear, she allowed us to try on the award-winning glasses, showed off the brand’s interactive Instagram filter (@theno2eyewear), and indulged us as we took loads of pictures and selfies. We cannot wait to watch this amazing brand grow, continue to solve problems, and excite customers with their innovative designs in the future.