By Jillian Urcelay

JU: How would you describe Article One to someone unfamiliar with your brand?
WS: Article One is an independent eyewear brand on a mission to create heirloom eyewear to last a lifetime. With a focus on every detail, the customer knows that every step in the design and production matters. Because it does. We want the consumer to feel an authentic sense of connection to us, the designers, the craftsman in Italy, as well as the independent practices serving them. We do this not only through our commitment to handcrafted eyewear, but also by shining a light on the hands that craft our frames. 

Why do you believe consumers should purchase products from independent eyewear companies like yours?
I believe modern consumers value emotional connections with their local retailers and with independent brands over price and convenience. The same consumer that shops at their local brick-and-mortar retailer versus a big box store also cares more about supporting independent brands over big name licensed brands. It is the same reason you would be willing to pay more for an item of clothing if you met the artisan who created the item. The human connection truly matters.

Following off that, why did Article One decide to join The Optical Foundry earlier this year?
The mission and tagline for The Optical Foundry says it all—Independence for Independents. I feel incredibly lucky to be working alongside the team at OGI Eyewear and l.a.Eyeworks. I have long respected the leaders at both brands and now get to learn from them. By joining The Optical Foundry, Article One has the opportunity to work with a world class sales, customer service and operations team, while staying true to our creative vision.

In addition to your main optical and sunwear styles, you also have an active collection. How did you make the decision to venture into that side of the market?
I have been a runner and cyclist my whole life (and just did my first Ironman), but prior to creating our Active collection, I could never find athletic eyewear that was my style. A few years back we finally made the leap into athletic sunglasses, and it has been such a fun project. After creating our first style, I found out that I was far from the only person looking for something different in the athletic eyewear market. We have since been expanding the collection with the goal of creating beautifully designed lifestyle sunglasses that have the technical capabilities to go for a run or a ride.

You recently collaborated on a frame with Mission Workshop. What do you enjoy most about working with other independent brands, and do you have any more exciting partnerships on the horizon that you can share?
I love working with independent brands outside the eyewear industry because they allow us to experiment with our designs while also introducing our brand to many new consumers. We have done some really fun collabs in the past including Monocle magazine, Tracksmith, Ciele Athletics and Ghostly International. We will be releasing another collab in our Active collection next spring, but I will have to keep that a secret for now! ■