Sydney Hangs With Auór Founders Kristen And Claire

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 year ago | Features

Kristen Lindesay and Claire de Luca from auór, wearing The Daisy Dress in Red and The Daisy Dress in Navy

Ethical eyewear is incredibly hard to find, which is why we can’t get enough of auór’s minimal waste sunglasses. Designed locally in Australia and handmade in a transparent supply chain in Italy, these shades take inspiration from 90s silhouettes like the elongated cat eye. To find out a bit more about auór’s background and what makes this ethical eyewear brand so special, we caught up with founders Claire de Luca and Kristen Lindesay.

Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us a bit about how auór first came to be?
Claire de Luca and Kristen Lindesay: We both worked together in the fair trade textile industry, with one half leading product design and the other managing marketing, before we decided to take a leap and establish auór. It was a natural evolution. We both have a genuine love of slow fashion and quality handmade products. From the moment we met ideas started flowing, tossing around everything from clothing to jewellery design, but landed on designing and producing minimalistic handcrafted eyewear. We’ve been lucky to bring our shared aesthetic to life, we set out to make what we wanted for ourselves, for others, and so auór began. 

Kristen wearing the Large Hoops in Tort

Rosie: Who is involved with bringing a pair of auór sunglasses to life?
Claire and Kristen: It’s us and our incredible production team in Italy. We work through the initial conceptual and design phases here in Sydney to the point where we need to move to prototyping. For our Paloma frames, we went to Italy and worked directly with our makers to sign off on the prototypes. The team in Italy then handcrafts the final product, working through a 35-step process to bring auór eyewear to life. We’re working with a small factory, committed to quality, which is employing, training and passing on their skills and knowledge to the next generation. We are still pinching ourselves, the process feels natural and we both can’t wait to get back to Italy to see our friends and start working on new designs.

Rosie: Can you run us through the journey of your glasses, from concept to creation?
Claire and Kristen: Researching designs from both historical and contemporary sources kicks off the process. Then it is literally hand drawing, working up a design until we are at a point when we start collaborating with the production team in Italy. From there we choose the acetate and lenses, run prototypes, test and then create the final product. We’re working solely with Italian cellulose acetate producers Mazzuchelli, a family-run company from northern Italy, and LA/ES. And our lenses are also Italian, and the hinges made in Germany. Throughout the process, our focus is on striking the right balance between functionality and wearability, while keeping them interesting. 

Rosie: Why is it so important for you to work closely with your makers and to have transparency throughout the supply chain?Claire and Kristen: The design process is sacred to us. Working closely with our makers is fundamental to our own integrity, but also ensures that the product is produced the way we want it. We have found a supplier whose philosophy mirrors ours, with small runs of quality handcrafted eyewear. Trust is an important thing, for both production and supply chain transparency. Working closely with our the team in Italy allows us to know that our materials are ethically sourced, and our eyewear and accessories are produced in an environment that respects workers’ fundamental rights, free from gender inequality and discrimination.

Claire wears the Paloma Sunglasses in Black and the Large Hoops in Celery

Rosie: Can you tell us a bit about why ethical sunglasses are so hard to find?
Claire and Kristen: There isn’t a lot of transparency in the eyewear industry. Without transparency and traceability, we think that it is impossible to trust that a company’s ethics are legitimate. The move toward supply chain transparency in the global fashion industry has been on the rise over recent years, but in the eyewear world, many companies avoid disclosing their material sources, manufacturers and other suppliers. 

Rosie: What does ethical fashion mean to you and how does this carry through to auór eyewear?
Claire and Kristen: Ethical fashion for us, at its heart, is about people and rewiring patterns of consumption.  This means thinking about ethical practices in everything we do and buy. Choosing fewer, quality items that are made to last. For auór that’s extremely important to us. This extends through to labour rights and sustainability in production. We do short runs, and have worked with our makers to make use all of the offcuts from the eyewear production to make our  hoop earrings. We’re committed to supply chain transparency and fair practice, and we know our products are made with ethical sourcing and production.

Image: Kristen wears The Daisy Dress in Red and Claire wears The Daisy Dress in Navy

Rosie: How does the brand minimise waste through traditional handcrafting techniques?
Claire and Kristen: We have a simple philosophy – use every piece of acetate that we can. Turn the left over acetate from our eyewear production into something else. Currently it’s hoops, and we’re working on developing other products that use the waste material.

Rosie: And finally, where do you usually source inspiration for your styles?
Claire and Kristen: Mostly life: we are constantly sharing and bouncing ideas on a daily basis from all sorts of avenues. Film, theatre, art, historical research as well as travelling around, keeping an eye on what people are wearing and what’s evolving in different places. We both still work in creative industries, with Kristen in textile design, and Claire working in performing arts, while also completing a masters in fine arts. It allows us to surround ourselves with and draw inspiration from other creative people on a daily basis. We also source inspiration from creatives and brands like Ana Kras, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Yasmine Ganley, Kathleen Whittaker, Harry Were, Sophie Buhai, Batsheva and Paloma Wool.

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