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September 19, 2014

PORTRAIT Eyewear: A Fair-Trade Design Brand. 100% Handmade in Italy

By Neharika Padala

BoxWhile still on an early stage, Portrait Eyewear already offers a design novelty, other than a coherent business model to the market, setting the basis for a solid product launch.

Using Indiegogo as their crowd-funding platform, Gabriel and Valentina Hernández, brother and sister, have created a brand that innovates –within the eyewear market– with a beautiful design-savvy product, ready to compete in terms of price, high quality and materials, while following the principles of a socially-aware and sustainable business.

A project that becomes a true reflection of your uniqueness. Portrait Eyewear’s tagline “Frames the Artist in You” puts the brand on the position of the observer, a company that recognizes that standing for our own “being” is an artwork, a freedom statement and an inherent right. Something that deserves to be “framed”, emphasized and accented, instead of hidden.

And what is it that the co-founders and creators reflect through their product and corporate identity? The result of a mixed background in photography and design, the unique formula of a half Spanish, half Venezuelan team, with multicultural experiences living in different countries; currently settled between Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.  The love and profound admiration for emerging artists that justify their choice for spokespeople, a campaign that strives to promote their work and unique image beyond their immediate network, highlighting the artists’ talent and courage.

“Using models is a convention that happens to be very appealing but rarely promote real people with real beauty standards; campaign pictures are commonly too retouched, the lifestyle they try to reflect might not be reachable to many and the values they embrace confirm aggressive mass-market rules” says Gabriel Hernández, designer and co-founder.  “We want to face the challenge of contradicting such rules and creating our own”.

Nowadays, finding projects that pursue the right values, that create networks instead of classic pyramids and carefully monitor the whole supply-chain (guaranteeing an eco-friendly impact and a slavery-free production), should be supported for the risk it poses in the entrepreneurial arena and the modern society.

If the product prices happen to be fair, considering that a luxury eyewear like this would cost at least twice as much, the project and its policies end up convincing the market and promising a fair-trade competitive value.

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The crowd-funding campaign is still live and transparently explains the whole business model, the investments scenarios (according to the fundraising possibilities) as well as the product features.

The eyewear has been carefully studied, its shapes take inspiration from the visual arts and revisit the vintage genre through a contemporary minimalistic design; frames are flat, edges are sharper and inserts are made out of acetate instead of metal. Material combinations are beautiful and innovative, not to mention some of the finishes and upper rim outlines.

Besides, with a collection comprised of 17 models, the brand has made it possible to have a recognizable identity. You can easily see the different shapes as part of the same family, even when there’s no logo presence, another example of the project’s policies and reverse-trend good taste.

“We know that selling through Internet can be a huge challenge; people usually prefer to try the product on before buying it” confirms Valentina Hernández, the other half of the team.

“Our project includes an online-try-on feature that allows users to check the product’s fit on their faces with the webcam. We are sure it will improve the users’ experience”.

(Source: Portrait Eyewear)

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