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Eyewear brand Ace & Tate on brand experience, London and Kurt Cobain

Ace & Tate

Eyewear brand Ace & Tate have disrupted the industry with high quality frames at transparent prices.

With prices starting at £98, Ace & Tate understand that the high visibility and the everyday use of eyewear creates a desire to own multiple pairs at an affordable price.

WGSN caught up with Ace & Tate founder Mark de Lange to discuss brand experience, the first Ace & Tate London store and key style influences.

 

What makes Ace & Tate stand out in an ever more crowded market?

Our mission is to change the way people not only perceive but also buy glasses. We are an online-first eyewear brand offering stylish, high quality glasses at a fair price. Providing the best experience for our customers is at the core of what we do. We strive to offer potential and existing customers the full brand experience, either online or offline, in one of our stores. We’re committed to combining and aligning both channels. Whether you purchase your glasses on our website or in-store, we want our encounter to run as smooth as possible.

Our 24 stores across Europe are an extension of our brand identity and online services. The design of a retail space is an essential part – it’s important that they don’t all look the same. Each of our stores has its own unique design, we experiment and collaborate with designers and creative agencies who are inspirational to us. Last but not least we find it very important that our store designs also inspire and surprise the store visitors. We strive to offer existing and potential customers the full brand experience.

 

It feels like styling (and therefore accessories) are becoming really important for menswear again – are you feeling those effects?

First and foremost we want to provide our customers with the possibility to match their frames with every occasion and all off their favourite styles. We consider our frames more than just a medical device, they’re lifestyle accessories. We’ve noticed that changing your look at anytime is important and men (as well as for women) want to wear and have different styles for every occasions. Nowadays, men seem to be more attracted to items that style their outfit, to highlight their characters and customise and top of their outfit / look with eyewear accessories. It has become more of a statement piece as well. We’ve noticed that men purchase more glasses than they would have 3 years ago. Since a selection of high-quality and affordable glasses emerged in the eyewear market, it became more convenient to update their eyewear collection and buy 2-3 items that are different in terms of style. Our Amsterdam-based team of designers make future classics, not short-term thrills.

  

What made you choose London for the peep store, and in particular, Covent Garden?

As Ace & Tate has grown and opened stores in European markets, we’ve always had our eye on the UK market. London is one of the most dynamic, diverse capital cities in Europe and in the world, and an exciting place for young creative brands. We’ve also deeply committed in supporting and working  with local creative communities and London is one of the most inspiring and influential one in our opinion. We found this great location for the peep store on Earlham Street, in the vibrant and dynamic neighbourhood of Seven Dials, which was the perfect place to enter offline into the British market. It is surrounded by independent stores that are great fits for Ace & Tate to feel right at home. Like all our stores, this space is also a great way to share creativity and artworks. Hayley Louisa Brown, the second artist of the Ace & Tate Creative Fund, displays a selection of her photographic project on Elvis Presley fans in youth culture. Also, we have partnered up with LAW magazine in order to celebrate the precious imperfections, everyday eccentricities and unique nature of identity.

 

The Frances frames are a great homage to Kurt Cobain. Who else would you like to pay tribute to via their eyewear and why?

In fact, the Frances frames is a direct reference to Kurt Cobain, they’re named after the Nirvana lead singer’s daughter. Many of the frames are indeed named after great inspiring individuals, creatives and artists. In our first collections, we mainly used musicians as inspiration. I’m a huge music fan, the Rolling Stones, Metallica and in particular, Guns N’ Roses. Two frames are named Saul and Hudson. Some other examples, the Wes frame is the American filmmaker Wes Anderson or the Teller frame is a direct reference to Juergen Teller, a German fashion photographer. This naming method is a great way to embrace and honour these talented individuals.

Ace & Tate stores always have a great environment. Do you think people will always want an IRL experience when it comes to buying eyewear?

Not necessarily. As an online-first brand, Ace & Tate has first grown by selling frames via the website with a particular focus in providing a stellar customer service. We have also offered services to make this online purchase as easy and efficient as possible, such as our Home Try-On service, which enables customers to try frames in the comfort of their home for 5 days for free.You can also return your frames within 30 days if you’re not happy with them or want to change them for an alternative style. When designing our retail spaces, we strive to create a special extension of our online services to align both channels. We’re committed to creating unique, inspiring spaces to take the store visitors into an artist’s world rather than a standardised optician store. I think in general it’s the preference of each individual and what they’re comfortable with.

 

Ace & Tate

WGSN Senior menswear editor Nick Paget in his Ace & Tate glasses.

 

 

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