Beverly Suliteanu, VP Product Development and Creative Director of WestGroupe, has been part of the eyewear manufacturer’s team for 25 years and has been designing many of its collections for more than 15 years.
We asked the Montrealer about her creative thinking and experience as a frame designer for WestGroupe’s brands, which include Evatik, Kliik Denmark, Fysh, Superflex, Izumi and Bertelli.
After all these years as a designer for WestGroupe, what keeps your passion alive?
“While I began my career with WestGroupe in 1994, I started designing our collections in 2003. Growing up in this business and seeing our company and the industry evolve over time is exciting and I think, keeps me passionate about what I do. There have been so many changes in our industry over the last 5-10 years! I look back to when we first developed and launched Kliik Denmark in 2004 and am very proud that Kliik, as well as Fysh and Evatik are still relevant and most important, still growing 15 years later.”
What is the base of a good design?
“I believe that a good design is balanced, well-proportioned and technically sound so that the optician can properly adjust and fit patients. While eyewear is now viewed as a fashion accessory, its main function is as a vessel to carry lenses that help people see better. With that said, we all want to look good while seeing better.
The consumer is always paramount when we are developing new styles in that it is important to us that our designs are interesting and different but at the same time flattering and easy to wear.”
What is your creation process to design eyewear?
“Before we start to design each season’s collection my team does a lot of research into the upcoming fashion, jewelry and interior design trends. We look at key colours that are emerging, as well as patterns and detailing that we can use in our designs. As eyewear is now viewed as a fashion accessory it is important that our designs are relevant and on-trend. Once we have a strong mood board that outlines the fashion trends of the season, we begin to build our eyewear ‘story’. We look at the eye shapes we want to highlight, the mix of materials we want to incorporate and some concept designs from other categories that we feel can be used as inspiration for our eyewear designs.”
What makes WestGroup’s collections different?
While WestGroupe brands are eyewear brands rather than licensed fashion brands, this allows Beverly and her team to be more creative in the designs that they put forward.
“Because it is our designs that speak to the consumer rather than the logo on the temple, it is imperative that our styling catches the consumer’s attention while at the same time, maintaining brand positioning for the retailer. I think we have done an excellent job of defining the DNA of each of our key brands (Kliik, Fysh, Evatik and Superflex) and staying true to it. With this focus, we have been able to evolve the look of the brands based on current trends, but not lose the focus of what the brand stands for.”
What do you think is the future of eyewear design?
“I think that technology will continue to drive design, but I am not sure how far and how fast. While 3D technology has come a long way, there is still many limitations for this technology in our category. I think sustainable materials and products will play a very important role in our category over the next few years as consumers demand more environmentally friendly products.”
What is your favourite trend this fall?
“My favourite trend this season is the move towards irregular eye shapes. The new geometric shapes are so interesting yet easy to wear, particularly when done in fine metal. I also like the new color palettes that combine shiny metal colors with accents of bright hues and soft pastels both in shiny and matte finishes.”
Can you tell us about a project you are working on right now? What can we expect from the WestGroupe 2020 collections?
“2020 is going to be an exciting year for WestGroupe. While I cannot go into any more detail, Opto-Réseau can look forward to at least two new collections from WestGroupe that are to be launched for Spring 2020. In respect to our existing collections, we are introducing some new “millennial” styling into the Superflex collection as well as continuing to revamp the designs for Izumi and Bertelli.”
You can find the WestGroupe brands in many Opto-Réseau clinics. The collections offer frames for every family member including Superflex Kids for active children, Fysh for the ambitious and stylish woman as well as Kliik Denmark with its clean designs that are perfect for the narrow fit consumer.