In the early days of Lanehouse I met Dienastie’s cohort, Shagi Defoe. His passion towards his eyewear brand was infectious, and I was quickly turned into a fan of Dienastie’s “Play Hard, Die Nastie” attitude and sleek futuristic sunglasses…
Editor’s Note: Win a pair of sunglasses from Dienastie Eyewear. Look for the contest box at the end of this article!
It seems this staunch ideal has been a part of the brand from the start, with Shagi telling me of the night the concept was born… “We were partying in Beijing and a bunch of well-off mainland hotties were enjoying our presence, hopping from debaucherous club to debaucherous club. Out of nowhere we were kidnapped by long legged females and taken in Merc’s to the outskirts of the Jing. When we woke the following day we escaped their glamorous clutches but were greeted by a disastrously bright, super UV’ed, sun outside – we needed sunglasses!”
And so a business was born, and I wanted to know more. “After our crazy adventure we already had sunnies on the mind and thought there was still room to grow an amazing eyewear brand in Asia – as opposed to importing brands from other countries. Sunnies are step one of the Dienastie imprint and we are hoping to develop a series of essentials for the “New Dienastie” – our generation that tends to do things a just a lil’ differently.”
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Everywhere really – HORIZON frames were designed out of inspiration gained on a company retreat (*booze fest) to Thailand. EVERYDAYS were from the legendary wayfarer design but tooled for the Asian face.
What materials do you work with?
We experiment with everything (polycarbonates, gun metal, teflon, acetate, etc)! As a new company we are still playing it fairly safe for now but we have MAD designs being developed in the lab. We try to put out at least one mad concoction with every season.
How much time goes into creating a new collection?
The amount varies from season to season based on demand and market growth, but since inception in 2012 we have grown significantly every year. Creating a collection takes about 2 months of design and rework, then a month of sampling – and a full collection takes about 90 days to turn around.
Who do you sell to primarily?
Our core market is Asia. So far we have a presence in a few 1st-tier cities in China and in Hong Kong, with more growth in South East Asia and beyond in the coming years.
What are your future plans for Dienastie?
MORE GROWTH. We want to spread into all major Asian markets, and launch jewellery and music divisions in the next year.
What are you most proud of at this point?
We have had some great partnerships along the way and being wholly-owned by us – no outside cash or investment.
Lastly, what is the top selling/most popular piece?
Horizon and Stealth frames through Superlights are very loved and this year we started our more fashion forward line DIENASTIE ACE which has been having an amazing reception in beloved Shanghai when we launched sales with ALTER in Xintiandi.
Here’s your chance to win an exclusive pair of Dienastie sunglasses from their SS2016 collection (launching late-February 2016)! One lucky reader will be selected on November 26th, 2015. Good luck!
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