As part of my initiative to showcase the diversity of local brands, I invite you to discover BonLook, an affordable eyewear label proposing numerous styles including four limited edition frames designed in their Montreal studio and produced by Fellow Earthlings Eyewear of Prince Edward Island.
—By Andrew McNally
BonLook by Sophie Boulanger, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder.
What is the story behind your brand? During my master’s degree in fashion and design at SDA Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, I had the idea for BonLook. There I did a project on Luxottica, the largest eyewear company in the world. Frames are often sold at very high prices compared to their manufacturing cost. I discovered that there are a lot of middlemen, and that surprised me. I figured there must be something I could do to offer the customer another option. A year after the company was founded, my brother Louis-Félix joined me to create what is today’s BonLook.
What is your creative process?We have a fabulous product development team who are the real pros behind our beautiful collections. Our design and purchasing team analyses major trends through travel, specialized international trade fairs and also takes into account the comments of our in-store staff who are in direct contact with the customer. Our customers are also a great source of inspiration; our agility allows us to release new collections quickly!
What has inspired your latest collection? We have grouped our collections under five trends:
1.Oversized, retro square frames (Think disco era). An elegant staple of 70s style, designers are updating it with youthful wire structures and gradient lenses. Go bold with Fab.
2.Butterfly frames (Think Elton John at the Golden Globes). Overly ornate, statement-making frames in thick acetate will be turning heads this year, but their more quiet, wire-outlined counterparts are also staking a claim on the advancing fashion landscape. Whether you’re going for a literal or figurative interpretation of the butterfly shape, this trend lets you fly in the face of convention with style. Slip on our Scene.
3.Cat-eye frames. There are so many wild trends out there this year, like luxury visor frames or detachable eyewear chains that are predicted to be a mainstay on the festival circuit (remember when those were for elderly librarians?!), but there’s nothing wrong with a classic. The cat-eye has been around since the 1930s, and its many iterations have always remained crowd-pleasers. Bewitch with Gossamer.
4.Aviator with top-bar. The aviator is the style that keeps on giving. It’s always a safe bet, yet it’s a pretty bold look. They’ve been worn by every cool person on earth and adapted to every passing trend. This year, indulge in a dashing look that says – well, whatever confident people say. The top-bar look can be found on polished metallic designs and on more playful, thick acetate frames. Get ready for take-off with Drift.
5.The Bejewelled – a story of unapologetic glamour. Jewellerification knows no boundaries and we must admit that we’re not immune to its charms. It can manifest itself as over-the-top adornment but also appear in the form of a delicate twinkle, if applied sparingly. What we’re saying is, flicker or blaze, you get to choose your shine. Sparkle with Keiko.
What is your signature piece?In the last year, I would say it is the Sonia frame designed in collaboration with our muse Maripier Morin. This frame really fits all face types, it is delicate and versatile while keeping a strong personality!
What is your fondest fashion memory? In my twenties, I worked at Christian Dior Couture in Paris in the John Galliano era. It was fabulous to see and participate backstage at the fashion shows!
How are you coping with COVID? Our priority from the beginning has been the health and safety of our employees. We had to make the decision to close our 34 stores as of March 16. It has been very difficult for the entire BonLook family, but we are pulling together and preparing for the relaunch! Our position as Canada’s most digitized optical retailer has served us well since the beginning of this crisis. At least we have our sales online and it is an expertise that we have been developing since the very beginning of the company 9 years ago. Prescription eyewear is an essential service and we are there to serve communities across Canada for their prescription eyewear needs.
On a different note…which book is on your nightstand at the moment? I just finished “She Said” which was written by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the two “New York Times” journalists who conducted the investigation that unmasked Harvey Weinstein and essentially started the #MeToo movement. It’s fascinating and it gives hope that a citizen’s movement can be created when a group of people come together to expose the truth.
Which song are you listening to over and over? “Carry Me Away” by John Mayer.
Which television series are you binge watching? “Fleabag” by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
What is your favorite recipe of the moment? Banana bread. It’s comforting, always good and appreciated by all!
Which movie inspires you? The movie “Joy” directed by David O. Russell. It’s five years old but it’s an example of female entrepreneurship and determination!
PROMO: The first collection made in Canada that retails for $149 instead of $225: four limited edition frames designed in the Montreal studio and made by fellowearthlings eyewear. Proudly Canadian, just like us, this Prince Edward Island company is known for its expertise in small production runs and sustainable source materials.
To discover more Canadian brands, click here.