Believing that the most important component of any successful product is the culture it embodies, brothers Zack and Zoltan, founders of the new kitsch eyewear brand Vinylize, are all about recycling and culture. Admiring the legacy left behind with vinyl records, vinyl music is the heritage that these design gurus aim to preserve through their inventive vision for eyewear- recycling old vinyl records into creating funky eyewear. Producing the first series from communist vinyl salvaged from the Budapest’s flea markets, Vinylize went through years of testing to develop methods to transform one of the most long lasting plastics into wearable eyewear.
Based on a desire to make glasses of exceptional quality on a recyclable basis, the use of vinyl, in and of itself, gives this collection a distinctive and effortlessly stylish look. Think big, thick, rugged frames, with inimitable grooves serving an integral and signature aspect of the design aesthetic. Today, Vinylize is handmade in Budapest by Tipton Eyeworks, and is now available in Kuwait at the Eye Boutique. We interview Vinylize founder Zack Milaskey to give you the lowdown on how the highly coveted eye gear is developed.
When did you begin this brand?
We began Vinylize in 2001 when I was still living in Seattle, right before I moved to Budapest. Originally, we started the company Tipton Eyeworks where Vinylize was a concept brand. Today, it is our core business.
What inspired you to begin this project?
I wanted to make glasses from a material other than titanium. One day in the workshop, which at the time was the garage, I came upon my dad’s old LP collection. And a light bulb went off in my head, ‘why not just use old records to make glasses???’
Where do you draw inspiration for your line?
Like most music enthusiasts, I also collect vinyl records. So it is only natural that a big part of my inspiration comes from the music I listen to. For example, I just picked up this ancient Sonny and Cher vinyl in Saigon and I began to think, what sort of shape would this be represented by? Ironically, when I got back to Budapest and checked its contents, it turned out to be by Dave Brubeck. So I had to design a jazzy sort of frame instead.
What do you enjoy most about your line/ being a designer/ a crafts person?
As a designer, I enjoy the challenge. The collection appears to be very simple: the only color that we can work with is black and the rims have to be fat. Stupidly enough, we did a collection made from colored vinyl. Unsurprisingly it flopped. Because people associate vinyl with the color black, the rims are thick so the grooves could be seen. So the challenge has become designing wearable iconic shapes in black. As a crafts oriented person, I love the fusion of materials and creating a quality product from it. We pay attention to every detail, which I think is the essence of quality.
What is the biggest challenge right now?
The biggest challenge at the moment is production. This is a new concept and the methods of production are created by us. It’s not like we can go to an eyewear factory in China and place an order. They don’t even know what vinyl is. On top of that, we developed all the machines and methods to turn vinyl into eyewear and other products.
What’s happening next for your line? Where do you see it going in the future?
After some in-depth research, it turns out that the male demographic appreciates Vinylize the most. This seems logical because the biggest consumers of vinyl records are men. Consequently, our focus has indeed become men. No fruity colors, just simplicity, exceptional quality and the culture of music. For the brand, I plan on expanding the range to include luggage items for DJ’s. We also have a few concepts for other eyewear collections and we are currently in the process of realizing them.
Do you think that the Middle Eastern demand for your product will differ from the demand in Europe? If so, how will this change your focus in this market?
The Middle Eastern line will certainly differ from what we offer in Europe. We will try to accommodate the sun! UV protective lenses will be available with a scratch resistant coating for more models than we usually offer our European clients.
You can find Vinylize at the Eye Boutique, located in Mall 360. Please call 2530 9513 for more information.