Photo © Peggy Sirota
REESE WITHERSPOON is easily one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood. We’ve grown to love her on-and-off the big screen from her red carpet looks to her memorable roles in “Legally Blonde,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and her Oscar-winning performance in “Walk the Line.” Although she began her career as an actress, over the past few years Witherspoon has taken on various projects within the entertainment and fashion industries. Her media company Hello Sunshine focuses on projects that put women in the center of the story, with several projects in the works with A-list actresses on various television networks and film companies. Witherspoon recently released a book Whiskey in a Teacup, that focuses on her Southern heritage with personalized recipes and tips inspired by the American South. She also celebrates the allure of Southern living with her lifestyle brand Draper James, which embodies the style and aesthetic of its founder with contemporary and timeless flair. The brand is named after Witherspoon’s grandparents and consists of ready-to-wear apparel, home accents and accessories, including a new eyewear collection with Altair Eyewear. Witherspoon discusses with 20/20 her inspiration behind Draper James and the design elements included in the new optical collection.
20/20: What inspired you to start Draper James?
RW: I started Draper James to honor my Southern heritage and in particular my grandparents who were, and still are, the greatest influences in my life: my grandmother Dorothea Draper and my grandfather William James Witherspoon. I wanted to recapture and celebrate all that I love and remember about my grandparents and the South. That is why I created Draper James.
What are certain design elements from your Draper James collection that can be found in the new eyewear styles?
The Draper James eyewear collection reflects the pretty, classic style Draper James is known for. The styles include our signature stripe and magnolia prints, and it’s perfect for everyday wear. But as always, there’s a bit of fun and personality in the design—just like our clothes and accessories!
What prompted you to venture into the eyewear sector?
I love to wear glasses that are representative of my personal style—functional with a little flair. We know our customer wants to wear Draper James in her daily life, so creating an eyewear collection was completely natural. Plus, we love to play in new spaces, so we’re so excited to now offer eyewear with Altair.
How has the Draper James brand evolved over the years?
I am so proud of how the Draper James brand has evolved over the years—we started with clothing and accessories, and we have expanded into footwear, home and decor, and more. We listen to our customers, and we take their feedback to heart. I am excited to see how the brand continues to evolve and grow, and know that adding eyewear to our assortment is another step in the right direction for the brand.
What do you hope your customers take away from the new eyewear collection?
We want to make pretty easy. I hope that these glasses make the women who wear them feel inspired, strong and stylish.