BORN IN IRELAND
Pewpols is a luxury optical and sunglasses brand based on the South East Coast of Ireland. Made in limited quantities from the finest Italian acetate, our spectacles are produced to the highest standards of quality in Oyonnax, France. Pewpols was founded by Niall David O'Sullivan, a passionate eyewear designer based in Ireland.
For centuries, Ireland has been a center for the design and production of iconic items such Aran jumpers and handcrafted glassware, jewelry, fabrics, and blankets.
Ireland is deeply intertwined with Pewpols’ identity and products with many of our designs named after Irish icons and landmarks. Summing up our drive and mission, we are incredibly passionate about our products and we want to work with people both at home and overseas who share our vision for unparalled design and quality.
HANDCRAFTED IN FRANCE
Our atelier is a family run workshop based in a town called Oyonnax in the Jura Region of France. Generations of people in Oyonnax have made a living in manufacturing acetate products such as combs and spectacles, and the industry is truly intertwined with the history and identity of this small French town.
When it comes to eyewear production, in our opinion, the French seem to truly understand quality, design, and workmanship. This is evident in the finish of each frame, as their cutting, tumbling, and polishing techniques yield some of the most vibrant, unique frames in the world.
INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER
A CONVERSATION WITH PEWPOLS CREATIVE DIRECTOR NIALL DAVID O’SULLIVAN, DISCUSSING THE LATEST COLLECTION.
Tell us a little bit about collection two?
For collection two we introduce two new frames, Bastion and Roy. Bastion is a rectangular 70’s inspired design. It’s our boldest frame to date. The top half of the frame is bulky and oversized, while the bottom section is much more refined, much like a g-man style. During the production stage we softened this slightly, but the effect is still there.
Roy is inspired by Mr. Roy Halston Frowicks cat-eye frames from the 1960’s. Our design is a lot more bulbous than Halston’s, in-keeping with my love of vintage French eyewear design.
Both frames are part of a new collection called ‘Luxe Edition.’
Can you elaborate on what you have done differently with ‘Luxe Edition?
Along with introducing two new designs, we are also including Arinn and Meriner as part of this collection. The materials are slightly thicker and more exuberant than before. We have incorporated our new diamond point core wire on the temples, and used new custom cast metal rivets in gold and silver. ‘Luxe’ is all about volume and detailing.
Tell us about how and why you started Pewpols?
My professional interest in eyewear dates back to 2011, but it was 2015 before I started planning for Pewpols. I spent the first three years planning and doing research online at night. I had a lot more time back then. By early 2017 I was speaking with people in the industry and travelling to Italy and France with a notepad in my back pocket. At times it was daunting, but I loved every minute of it. You get turned away a lot in planning stages and there are many setbacks along the way, but you have to do things your own way. What I like about spectacles is that they are a very tactile accessory and quite sculptural. I could sit with someone and speak about a piece of eyewear for hours, where as I don’t think I would enjoy doing that with any other fashion item.
What is the most challenging thing about running an eyewear brand?
The manufacturing stage is quite challenging and takes a lot of time to learn. When you are producing internationally you can’t just drop by the factory for a chat. There are a lot of very detailed elements to our designs, in particular our 70mm wire core which requires specialist equipment to inject into the temples. Producing eyewear takes time and patience to get right.
How do you see Pewpols evolving in the medium to long term?
While I think it is important that there is a very clear and recognisable aesthetic for Pewpols, it is important for me to advance and expand on our style from one collection to the next.
Collection one was a history lesson in spectacle design, and a subtle nod to some of my favourite mid century eyewear. Collection two is a celebration of the two most important senses, touch and sight. I paid particular attention to the colours, textures and finishes used on this collection.
Moving forward I think it is important to showcase Pewpols as a forward thinking and innovative brand. I am constantly thinking about where we will be as a human race in ten, twenty, thirty years time. We live in strange, challenging times, but I am excited about the future. I feel like we are coming out of an era of adaptation into something new and exciting. Human beings are interested again in Space travel, ergonomics and new technologies. I want Pewpols to be a part of at least some of that.
Pewpols hails from Ireland. How has this influenced the brand?
One of the most interesting things about living in Ireland is the changing colours and seasons and how this influences the way we approach design. In the future I hope we can use a lot of Irish materials and design details in our retail spaces. I already have some far fetched ideas that come from living in Ireland and observing the landscape around me.
What influences you as Creative Director of Pewpols?
Around the time I started Pewpols I collected a lot of vintage Anglo American eyewear. Also, many collectors were uncovering unusual 8mm vintage acetate frames from France around this time. I thought it would be interesting to amalgamate both styles, and that was the original vision for Pewpols.
While I continue to reference vintage eyewear for inspiration, it’s no longer my primary focus. An idea can come at any time, and it usually happens organically. For ‘Luxe Edition’ I went back to an old idea of adding a simple engraving on our diamond pins. It was a shoot in the dark, but after seeing the finished prototype in gold and silver, I knew we had created something exceedingly good.
Why choose to manufacturer your products in France?
I was turned on to the idea of producing in France after a long search to find the correct maker for Pewpols. Admittedly, I had not considered France until I witnessed the quality of frames coming out of a beautiful town called Oyonnax in the Jura Mountains. There is a simplicity to the style in Oyonnax, each piece sculpted and polished to perfection. We work with a small atelier in the town. They allow us to experiment with colours and designs, without the need to repeat ourselves from one season to the next.
How do you choose colours for your collections?
This is probably the most challenging stage in the design process for me, as there is a lot of forward planning required. It is important to tick boxes with blacks and havanas, but the seasonal colours are more challenging. For collection two I picked colours that I liked instead of following any particular trend. I think we were a little bit braver this collection, and picked more unusual tones, particularly in our range of tortoiseshells.
Do you wear your own glasses, and do you have a favourite style?
Meriner is my go too frame from the first collection. I alternate between three colours, and pop my prescription in and out depending on my mood. I try not to get too carried away with my personal collection. I add a new frame once or twice a year.
JIMMY BUTLER 2020