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PARED EYEWEAR 10 YEARS

Sam sat down with her friend and media Guru Claudia Hackworth to discuss all things Pared over the 10 years.

Written by Pared Eyewear / 23 June 2023

Congratulations on making the 10 year milestone! Looking back in the last decade, when did you realise you wanted to become a designer and what made you launch Pared Eyewear 10 years ago?

Thank you!! It's so exciting to be celebrating 10 years of pared. When we began we had no idea where it would take us and it's been an amazing ride with some lows but so many happy and proud moments. 

I studied design at COFA in Sydney and I always wanted to either design accessories or  work in magazines and be a stylist, so I was at a bit of a crossroads in terms of the path I wanted to take. My work experience at fashion brand Ksubi in the mid noughties- which feels like a lifetime ago now. It  took me to the eyewear department and my accessories design  thirst was quenched! I was lucky to work in a dynamic, creative and exciting workplace for so long and really learn about eyewear. I am so grateful that I had that experience. 

 I then felt like I had a voice of my own and wanted to explore that, so ‘pared’ was born from this desire and we took the leap! I have my husband and co-founder Ed to thank for really giving me the push I needed to believe in myself and my designs. We have such a great support network around us since the beginning so we feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to launch our own brand..

 

How has your approach to design changed over the past decade, and what do you believe has been the key to your continued success?

I have always looked at what I felt like was a good range of shapes to suit our customer and what's missing. Trends will play an important role too, but not guide everything we do. Vintage frames are a great source of inspiration, but you have to modernise the idea and make it true to your brand. Many different things inspire me and a range, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how it all comes together!

We have some great tools available now to test frames before we produce them  like 3D printing, but for me it's the drawing and redrawing on paper and at my computer that refines the design. I love when I am in design mode, solving the puzzle on how to make the best shape for what I am imagining in my head is the best feeling!

I think the key to survival is evolving the brand, being aware of trends but also being true to your brand. Understanding what your customer wants from you is the key and this evolves too. You can’t afford to be stagnant in this industry, you need to keep it fresh! 

 

Can you talk about some of your proudest moments or accomplishments during your career so far?

I think my proudest moments are when I see pared out in the wild on someone I don't know. It still makes my day. Someone has chosen to purchase my design and that makes me really proud.

Our fashion week show was so much fun and a milestone, I couldn't believe that after all those years growing up watching shows and reading magazines  that I was actually in that spot. 
I'm so proud of my team - Ed, Michelle and Tyla. We work hard everyday to make this happen.

What do you consider to be your signature style or aesthetic, and what are your top 5 Pared styles in the last 10 years?

When I started pared I really wanted to be known for my attention to the small details. Obviously making great quality sunglasses that fit properly and last for more than a season both physically and aesthetically was a big goal. My style is quite feminine and wearable, but I do love to push the boundaries on some styles and stand out. I also love bold use of colour and this has been a huge part of the brand from the beginning.

It was about the notch details and the deco corners and making the eyewear feel special that was important to me. These details have evolved over the past 10 years but it is what I consider when designing each frame. How can I put a little magic into the design of these? When someone picks them up can they see that time and effort has gone into these? 

 The deco corner is definitely my signature detail. We are evolving it slightly for 2023 so watch this space!

My top 5 would have to be Puss & Boots, Sonny & Cher, Sun & Shade, Charlie & the Angels and Sole & Mare. I love a cat eye. It will always feature in some form in the collection as it is feminine and flattering. I am always a 70s/80s gal at heart so there will be some kind of oversized frame in there too. 


 

Can you talk about any challenges or obstacles you have faced over the past 10 years, and how you have overcome them?

There have been really tough moments, disappointments and stressful times, this is the nature of running a small business. We have had partnerships not go the way we planned and of course we have made mistakes along the way. It has brought us to where we are today so I don't like to  dwell on the past. We just have to learn from these moments and try to move forward in the best possible way. Covid was a really tricky time but it made us pivot as well so there is always a silver lining. The times I have been most disappointed are when I feel a decision is wrong in my gut but I don't follow it and then it doesn't work out. You need to listen to that inside voice.

You and your husband, Ed, work so closely together, what is the best thing about working so close and do you ever have any disagreements? How do you navigate through that?

We have had our moments but we honestly do work well together and bring different facets to the business as we are the exact opposite. I'm creative and he is a business brain. We have heated conversations, but it means we land on the best thing for the brand as we really see both sides of the problem and argue our case! 

The best part of it is that we have gotten to do this together, celebrate the wins, travel the world and have some flexibility in our home and work life. I'm so proud of what we have done together.


 

As your brand has grown in the last ten years, your life has also evolved and you now have a gorgeous family. How do you balance Pared with your personal life? What advice would you give people who are in a similar situation?

 

It's a constant juggle. I have said this before and I will say it always. You just simply cannot do it all at once so be kind to yourself. There is too much pressure on women to be everything to everyone, you have to take some time for yourself too.  Sometimes work needs me and I have to be focused on that or travel and then other times my children have to take the first priority if they are sick or need extra attention. It helps that Ed and I are flexible in our career and we can help each other. I feel very lucky to do what I do and the flexibility it allows me but I would be lying if I said it was easy working full time and raising a family.
 

How has the fashion industry evolved since you first started, and what do you think the future holds for designers like yourself?

When we launched pared in 2012 we had the traditional model of sales appointments, a PR agency and the best way to have your brand viewed was through magazine placements.

We were just on the cusp of the instagram boom when we launched pared in 2012 and it really changed the way that brands could be accessed and viewed.

 Instagram as a shopping and image focussed platform really changed it all.

Over the last 10 years this has completely changed and even now instagram has evolved to be so different from what it originally started out to be. Tiktok, AI and Virtual reality will  and have changed how we view design and brands too.

Our digital strategy is ever evolving with ongoing investment in content creation, our ecommerce website, AR  Try on filters as well as our major brand and influencer collaboration.

We are still very focussed on our major wholesale partners around the world. We are very proud to be stocked in David Jones as their premiere Australian Eyewear brand as well as the representation we have in 100+ boutiques world in over 15 countries. Customers still love seeing our product in store and we feel our quality stands out amongst our competitors.

The tools and way to market your product will always change but I think the key is to deliver a consistent product and be able to evolve with your customer and the market.


 

What advice would you give to aspiring designers who are just starting out in the industry?

If you don't try you will never know. So many people were dubious about me starting another sunglass label especially with the dominance that luxury brands have in this industry. 

Be true to yourself and the brand you are creating. Yes it is hard and you need to be willing to work, but it's a lot of fun. Invest in people for your business that have a skill that you don't, you need to balance the creative with someone who understands money and business. 

 

Looking ahead, what is planned for the next 10 years? What are your goals and aspirations for the future of Pared and your career in the fashion industry?

Looking forward it would be so incredible to celebrate 20 years in the industry. The goal is always to offer a great, innovative product that lasts. I am excited about the biodegradable and recycled acetate offerings available. I can't wait to collaborate with exciting people and brands to bring our customers unique eyewear!

We have some very exciting collaborations coming up for Summer 2023 with brands like Soleil Soleil 

We are also loving our current partnerships with Spell, Tahnee and Jordan which we will be expanding on over the next 12 months.

The look back through the last 10 years has inspired us to continue to reboot some of our favorite classics that our customers love. 

We also have some very exciting new shapes and design details in the pipeline for our core range that will be releasing over the next few months as part of our collection “In the Fields”

 

 

The world looks better through pared

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