Consider it an antidote to the mass-produced ‘designer’ fashions of Target and Wal-Mart. CoLab, an eyewear accessory collaboration, hand selects talented ‘street artists’ from all over the world to become CoLab professors. These wisemen of design infuse their artistic aesthetic into the humble sunglass frame, creating a tantalizingly unique summer accessory.
CoLab is a brand-new venture out of Sydney with the aim of creating matchless art disguised as fashion. For the Spring/Summer 2007 season, CoLab invited Perks and Mini (PAM) of Australia, EBoy of Germany, Geoff McFetridge of the US, Rockin’ Jellybean of Japan, and Neasden Control Center of the UK into their ‘Colaboratory’ to create inspired eyewear. Each pair will be sold as a limited edition, with no more than 1000 pairs of each design sold. Come next season, CoLab will select an entirely different slew of artists.
Each artist has contributed anywhere from three to five designs, culminating in a CoLab portfolio of 20 sunglass designs. Despite the commerciality of fashioning art into sunglasses, the project is inherently appealing to the underground artist as CoLab dictates: ‘There is no constraint, no rules to follow, no target market to appease.’
The designs intimately reflect this freedom, from blue goggle-shaped ‘Eyes’ frames by PAM, to decal-ridden EBoy shades, to vintage inspired oglers by Rockin’ Jellybean.
The tragically hip lenses can be found through worldwide stockists,most notably, Paris’s Colette, which became CoLab’s first global stockist in January of this year.
In its distinctive pursuit, CoLab has created a brand without a brand —a welcome respite to those be leagured by the choice: Ray-Bans or absurdly-priced ‘designer’ shades. By L. Harper
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