Dear sunchasers, at the beginning of the year we were introducing DITA and now we are continuing our Designer Series with a short interview with the designers of one of our favourite eyewear brands. Long time friends, Jeff Solorio and John Juniper, started DITA by introducing stylish eyewear inspired by vintage frames from the ’50 through the ’80.
With a constant interest for aesthetics and design, the brand has grown to be renowed for its beautiful bold design and alluring shapes. In September 2013, DITA Eyewear won Silmo d’Or in the Frame Category, at the Mondial de l’Optique (World Optical Fair), in Paris.
And if you ask yourself if there is any connection with the also famous pin-up model and burlesque queen, Dita Von Teese, you’re not far from the tree. The story behind it is that she met with JJ in 1993 and he asked her if they could name the brand DITA, which she accepted. It was Dita Von Teese who starred the shooting of the first prototypes and again this year, the AW2013 Lookbook, along with the legendary tattoo artist Mark Mahoney.
Get to know some more insights on DITA Eyewear and its creative duo from our Q&A below:
Sunchasers: You’ve known each other for a really long time, can you please tell us what triggered your decision to make sunglasses?
JS & JJ: We are friends since childhood and share the same interests. We are part of the Southern California surfing set and wanted to participate in the early sportswear show to meet other like minded people and beautiful girls who attend this show, so we designed a collection of sporty sunglasses that were immediately bought by the best concept store.
Sunchasers: How did the fascination for tattoos influence the design of your sunglasses, because, for example, your logo is so discreet as opposed to why people get tattoos?
JS & JJ: We wanted our glasses to stand out for their own design and quality not just be a brand.
Sunchasers: Why did you choose Japan for manufacture the sunglasses?
JS & JJ: All glasses we liked were manufactured in Japan, so we also went there to start manufacturing Dita. The quality is exceptional!
Sunchasers: Your latest campaign ‘Legends’ is starring two retro looking style icons – Mark Mahoney, tattoo legend, and Dita Von Teese, ‘Queen of Burlesque’. What is the concept behind it?
JS & JJ: These are very good friends who are also interesting people and icons so we loved collaborating with them.
Here is a short film that shows ‘A Converstion with Mark Mahoney’ Presented By Dita Eyewear.
Sunchasers: What do you consider to be the most important turning point for DITA Eyewear.
JS & JJ: When we started making optical, as then we became a fully acknowledged global brand.
Sunchasers: On a funny note, what DITA sunglasses would you recommend to Groucho Marx?
JS: I see him wearing a round frame so one of our pairs from the Thom Browne range.
Sunchasers: If you see someone put their sunglasses with their lens down, for example, unprotected, do you say or do something?
JS: Not at all, everybody is free to handle their frames as they prefer.
Sunchasers: Do you have any projects lined up for the future that you can share with our readers?
JS & JJ: Yes, next year sees the launch of a line of sunglasses we designed for Dita von Teese, and we are also relaunching the high end Lancier line, so it is very exciting for us.
Sunchasers: You also started a short-film series documenting the lives of those who inspire you. What is the motivation behind this?
JS: I have a background in film making and John in photography, so we try to combine our passions as much as we can within our busy lives. The people in the film are all interesting to me and I find them inspiring in different ways, so I wanted to portray that.
Sunchaser: You are both established in LA for some time, would you trade this place to anyone in the world to live from now on? Which one?
JS & JJ: We are real South Californians, this is for us not only a place to live but also a way of life we love. I could be tempted to spend some seasonal time in Bali, that I also love, but it would only be seasonal. I cannot imagine living full time anywhere else but California.
Shop our curated selection of DITA sunglasses here.