Eyewear for the Creative Class

02_Saba Babas-ZadehThe mainstream eye-wear market is both mind boggling and pricey: a roster of luxury brands dominate the industry through opaque but far-reaching licensing deals and mass manufacturing, while retail is dispersed across individual and chain vendors. This leads to a particularly inaccessible system for emerging brands, as well as steep price points for consumers (a pair of frames usually falling around the €400 benchmark). Luckily, in recent years a number of young brands have found ways to circumvent this dissatisfying set-up, and one of the brightest shining stars in this generation is Amsterdam-based Ace & Tate. Known for their hip take on classic frame design, the young brand skip license-holders and retail by selling exclusively online and in their stores in Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, and Copenhagen (to name but a few locations). This results in frames offered at the neat price of €98 – quite a no-brainer! Keeping in the spirit of their hipster roots, their most recent campaign – called Come as You Are, echoing the infamous Nirvana anthem – sees Ace & Tate’s creative team take a closer look at the creative class of their Dutch home town, highlighting the work and stories of selected designers, artists, and other creatives. We caught up with Anoma Whittaker, Head of Creative at Ace & Tate, to discuss eyewear design and the future of the rapidly growing brand.

Eyewear design is an unusual design category in that it negotiates trendiness with the timeless. How do you approach longevity at Ace & Tate?
Having a deep-rooted understanding of non-trend based classics gives us the foundation and confidence to innovate and have fun with textures, shapes, materials and colours. In doing so, we hope to encourage our customers to join the ride and feel empowered to experiment with new, sometimes more unconventional styles.
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What was the initiative behind Come as You Are?
We’ve embarked on a new creative direction that’s all about humanising our brand. It was important for us to start this journey off in our hometown, by focusing the lens on unique creatives from Amsterdam who are not used to being in the limelight, and giving them a safe platform to share their inspiring stories, in a way that felt personal, approachable and special.
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How has Ace & Tate developed in the last years? What are your goals for the near future?
The last few years have been a force of growth for Ace & Tate. The focus has been on establishing our brand and finding the best ways to produce a great quality and premium-designed, classic product — it’s been non-stop and exciting. Moving on from now, our thoughts on growth are also very much inclined towards celebrating self-expression and individuality, by experimenting further with styles. We really want to encourage our audience to reveal themselves in unique ways, and invite them to share their stories. After all, these are the faces who make our glasses really shine.
03_Piet Langeveld
For more information, see Ace & Tate