Reunion Frames, in color ‘Black’

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Reunion of Style: State Optical Wins “Best Eyewear” in Design Excellence Awards

This year, State Optical was awarded Best Eyewear at the Design Excellence Awards. The winning frames are part of a limited-time collaboration, “Reunion,” with Neo-Soul recording artist, Maxwell; and includes the blending of “soft and sharp lines” and “harmonizing shape and color.”

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 November 1st, we had the opportunity to interview Nico Roseillier, the creative director from the eyewear brand, to learn more about the special collaboration and what makes State Optical differ from other luxury eyewear companies.

What was your reaction to winning the Design Excellence Award for Best Eyewear?

After waiting until last minute to submit the frames into the competition, Roseillier states, “I was already very happy when we got nominated. It was a great surprise as so many companies entered and were up for the award. Winning, I was not expecting. In the recording you can even hear me screaming in the back.” 

What inspired the design for the “Reunion” Optical?

“We wanted to do something that was gender neutral and has a timeless sense. There’s no 

pinpoint to a particular era, genre, or style. The glasses have their own design; but they are definitely inspired by music."”

Can you tell us how you met Maxwell and what it was like working together?

“I met him through a friend. I got a phone call and she kept referring to her friend Max. So, at some point at I had to ask, “Who is Max?”” Roseillier goes onto explain how his friend set them up to get lunch and then states, “It was one of those relationships that just felt very normal.”

When Maxwell and Roseillier finally decided to do a project together, he says “we knew we wanted to do something special, and we wanted to give back to the community. During the pandemic, we took time to keep designing and dreaming until eventually the perfect pair of glasses just came out.”

What makes State Optical unique?

“We are the first luxury eyewear brand that manufactures in the U.S., which is something that makes us special. Also, the way we run the factory is not about mass producing. It is about making the right product with the right quality.”

Can you tell us about the materials used in State glasses?

“The material is cellulose acetate, and it can be formed in many different ways. We buy the acetate from Italy, and it is shipped to the U.S. in big sheets. Then, we cut and process the material into our frames.” Nico then began to show us the different styles and samples of cellulose acetate and explained that “you can get this in any color and pattern.”

How did you become the creative director at State Optical?

After working in the industry doing licensing for years, Nico was offered a position at State Optical. He wanted to branch away from licensed products and explained that “The process is much different now. At State, I have a lot more creative freedom.”

What is your vision for the brand in the future?

“The hope is to only grow more. Also, more collaborations. We are working on more partnerships to come for the future, which really helps make connections and friends.” 

Can you offer any advice to students hoping to make it in the fashion industry?

Roseillier starts off by describing how nobody taught him how to go out and find a job. He then states, “you need to know how to present yourself and make yourself different, especially in the fashion business. There are so many people looking for the same job. I think the main thing is that you have to be passionate about what you do and that will go a long way.”

He continues to say, “Always cultivate every relationship. It doesn’t matter if it is somebody at the top, middle, or bottom of the ladder. It is a very small industry, but also a very small world. You never know when you might need that connection.”

Interviewing Roseillier was both an educational and inspiring experience. He graciously answered all our questions and never failed to make us laugh during the process. After the interview, Roseillier mentioned that if we ever made our way to Chicago, he would be willing to take us on a tour around the eyewear factory. We look forward to watching all the new, exciting, styles and collaborations State Optical has in store for the future… and if we ever make it to the Windy City, we’ll be looking forward to our tour!

Nico Roseillier showing off the cellulose acetate samples that are made into State Optical Frames.