Brand Feature: KIRK & KIRK

2017 has kicked off with a tremendous bang for British eyewear brand, KIRK & KIRK with new collection releases, unique collaborations and a 25th anniversary presence in optics.

The world of optics is in brand co-founder Jason Kirk’s blood. His Grandfather and Grandfather’s brother (Sidney and Percy Kirk) established Kirk Brothers in 1919, a company that was instrumental in the growth of the British optical industry. Jason’s father, and much of his family worked as opticians, and from the age of three Jason spent every Saturday perched on the reception desk at his father’s practice in Kingsbury listening, learning and exploring.

After years of narrowly missing each other, Jason and Karen finally met by coincidence in 1992. They fell in love, and Jason’s passion for the eyewear industry was instantly transferred to Karen. She quit her job in graphic design shortly afterwards and they launched their first optical company together in 1992, a year before they married. Twenty-five years later, and they are still thriving, in both business and marriage – an astonishing achievement.

We have a great understanding of what the other one is thinking. Our skills complement each other and we share the same aesthetic appreciation – Karen

Career achievements include winning the Silmo D’Or Award in 2003, London Design Award and the Hall of Frames Newcomer Award. Their frames have graced many a famous face; from Stevie Wonder, Oasis, U2 and Julia Roberts. They hope that during the next 25 years they can have a positive influence on the industry and help it face up to the challenges that lie ahead.

To celebrate this anniversary, they have launched ‘Kaleidoscope – Quartz-Edition’; a collection of specially commissioned acrylics that twinkle and sparkle.  Available in four new colour ways; Onyx, Amber, Sapphire and Ruby – these glimmering glasses are simply show stoppers.

Kirk & Kirk are the only eyewear brand in the world to manufacture their frames in acrylic, and after many years of working closely with their Italian manufacturer, they have developed a special grade of acrylic which offers unique qualities such as colour, texture and durability, and it is these qualities that have become signature to the brand.

The properties of acrylic enable it to transmit colour in an incredibly vibrant way, allowing for a broad and exciting colour palette. There is also a delicate transparency to the material, which gives the frame a new dimension – seen beautifully in the Kaleidoscope & QUARTZ edition collection.

Fit and comfort are of upmost importance and as acrylic weighs less than acetate, this specialist material allows the frames to have substance, yet be incredibly lightweight to wear and of course wonderfully comfortable. Acrylic has resilience and adaptability, and with specialist training opticians are taught how to work with it.

Once a frame has been adjusted, it is set in cold water, resulting in a frame that will not stretch, twist or change shape – which is a huge attribute. Continuously inspired by emerging artists, fashion and design – this husband and wife design duo also launched their ‘Artist Partnership Series’, an enterprise that allows them to collaborate with artists or designers they share an affinity with.

The first release in this series is a selection of giant lens cloths by acclaimed illustrator Thomas Hedger.  The three giant lens cloths feature his bright, dynamic and intriguing artwork and make wonderful gifts. With new collaborations on the horizon and such a special anniversary to celebrate, the future looks bright (and sparkly) for this passionate duo.

Article by Zoe Cosby

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