REFASH: How was Peep born? How did the idea of this brand come to you?
Jo: Peep was born from the love for vintage and a passion for good quality eyewear. I've always shopped vintage and couldn't bear the thought of all these fantastic frames going to waste. I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the craftsmanship, quality and design of these pieces from the past and I wanted to showcase the best within a curated collection.
R: What is the design process at Peep? Where do you source the vintage glasses from?
J: We scour the country for our frames, at fairs and auctions, and through our friends in the Optical world, until we find pairs that speak to us. Once I get my hands on them, I look at what restoration they need - some are 'new old stock' meaning they've never been worn. If they do need work they get a nice clean, we replace any lost screws or parts, tighten and oil, remove the old lenses on our frame heater, before finishing with a professional polish. Then we might pop on the site as a Frame Only pair or the fun begins if we decide to turn them into sunnies. I look at frames that fit with current trends and seasons, alongside the classic beauties, and then choose tint shades, colours, and graduations I think suit that frame. Then I'll name them and they're reborn.
R: What's your upcycling count?
J: I think we're in the hundreds now - we can't get enough!
R: What's your favourite piece?
J: My current fave is a pair called 'Songbird' a 1960s dusky pink and crystal ombre design made in England. These unique reading glasses have lenses in just the bottom half of the frame, so you'd have your reading prescription in there, whilst being able to touch up your eye make-up up top! Think I'm turning these into reading glasses for me!
(Above: Songbird Vintage glasses from Peep Eyewear)
R: One thing you'd like the world to know about your brand?
J: We are modern vintage - we love the past, but live in the present and care about the future.
R: What does sustainability mean to you and your brand?
J: To us it means giving not just taking - so we knew when we started we wanted to do no harm, to both people and planet. We knew we didn't want to add to the mass produced and the current plastic crisis. It's at the heart of Peep, now every decision we make we think, how can we make this better? We knew we wanted to give something back, so we joined forces with Trees for Cities and plant a tree for every pair sold.
R: What are some of the key challenges that you have faced as a sustainable fashion brand?
J: Packaging is a biggy for us - we're in the process of making all ours sustainable, but it's far from easy to find quality eco friendly packaging (we like to keep it minimal) and in the optical world, like many other industries, there's a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging flying around and not a lot of people questioning that... YET.
R: One misconception about being a sustainable fashion brand?
J: We're all about the tie dye... nope we're all out there creating fantastic products, but also we kind of want to save the world.. peace out.
R: If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would that be?
J: I'd like to slow it down. Everything moves way too fast, I think the (silk) worm is turning though and we're seeing a move back to the vintage eras of slow fashion, with growing interest in quality and artisan products.
R: Has your relationship with fashion and clothing changed as you delve into the world of sustainable fashion?
J: Completely. I've always loved vintage fashion, but since launching the biz my eyes have been well and truly opened and once you know, you can't go back. Now I buy less, shop with intent and intend to only shop vintage or sustainable from here on out.
R: What is your vision for the brand?
J: My vision is for us to become a hub for unique and sustainable eyewear and accessories. With a focus on quality pieces and restoration - we encourage our customers to buy well and maintain their pieces with our polishing and reglazing service.
Browse through Peep Eyewear's website here.
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Images Courtesy Peep Eyewear.