Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Case in point? Corianna and Brianna Dotson (aka Coco and Breezy), the Minnesota-born designer sisters behind the iconic Third Eye sunglasses Prince wore during his 2014 SNL performance. Coco was kind enough to share the story behind the sunglasses — and how Prince changed the sisters' lives — with Racked.
They almost missed out on the chance to meet Prince
"Prince has always been known for scoping out and finding new talent. I don't know how he'd find someone, but he'd find them and end up working with them. We were really good friends with a girl who goes by Shameless Maya, and she's the one who shot the images on his album cover with the third eye.
So one day, someone from his team emailed us and was like, 'Hey, Prince is in Minnesota. He wants you guys to come to Paisley Park. Can you guys come to Paisley Park?' I didn't really think it was, like, Prince Prince. We didn't email him back because we didn't think it was really Prince.
A few months later, his manager at the time emailed us again and wrote, 'Hey, Prince has a show in New York, he wants you guys to stop by. But it looks like on your Facebook you guys are busy, you have a pop-up shop.' Again, we didn't email him back because we didn't think it was real.
Then finally, Maya called us and said, 'Hey, Prince has been trying to reach out to you guys for awhile. He really wants to work with you guys; he loves your story.'
I was like, 'What Prince are you talking about?' She's like, 'Purple Rain Prince.' I called his manager right away, and he was like, 'You know, Prince is trying to meet you guys, and usually when he wants to meet you, that he means he wants to work with you — but I don't know what it is.'
Their first meeting with Prince involved a very nerve-wracking dance routine
"So then, a week later — I want to say this was July of 2014 — someone from his team reached out to us and was like, 'Hey, we're from Prince. He found a video of you guys dancing online, and he wants to know if you guys can come to New Orleans and perform with one of his artists.' It's true, we did use to dance, but we hadn't performed onstage in about six years. But when Prince asks, you say yes!
The day before we were set to go to New Orleans, they finally told us, 'He wants you guys to perform onstage with him.' We'd never even been to a Prince concert — and now, our first experience at a Prince show was going to involve us dancing on stage in front of thousands and thousands of people.
So we arrived in New Orleans for rehearsal — and before long, Prince pulled up in his SUV and jumped out. He had his heels on, and his signature cane, looking too cool for school. He walked into the place where we were rehearsing, gave me and Breezy a hug, and said, 'Thank you guys for coming out here.' We were like, 'No, thank you.'
Originally he'd wanted the two of us to dance alongside his other main dancers. But as soon as we started the routine, he said, 'Wait, stop, stop. I don't want the other dancers — I only want Coco and Breezy.'
There we were, these two girls who haven't performed in forever. And you know what he did? He pulled up one of our old videos from five years ago and asked, 'Can you guys do this dance?'
I told him it had been so long that we might not remember it, and he said, 'I don't care, I love this dance. I want you guys to do this. This is awesome.' So we started practicing! At one point he said, 'You guys are going to make me famous.' I was like, 'No, Prince, I think it's the other way around. You're going to make us famous.'
They got to go to Paisley Park for an album listening party
We're from Minnesota, and when we went home to visit our mom, Prince said he wanted to meet our parents. He was like, 'You guys are such great girls, I want to meet your parents.' So when we went to Minnesota, we took our mom to his studio since he'd invited us to Paisley Park. My mom was too excited. She couldn't believe that we were friends with someone who was a legend in her eyes.
This was before his album came out — and during our visit, he said, 'I want you guys to hear my album. Let me know your feedback.' It was so cool.
How Prince ended up wearing Coco and Breezy's sunglasses
At one point, Prince told us, 'I would love for you guys to make us some glasses with three lenses. Can you have them ASAP?"
We came up with all these concepts, sat down with him, and showed him our ideas. He wanted to have the glasses the next day, so I had to explain that the design process can take some time.
Throughout the production process, Prince would come to New York, and we would all go to dinner together. It was so amazing to be around him — spending time together, soaking up all his knowledge and his creative energy. He showed us so much love. And every time we went to dinner, he'd ask about the glasses!
Finally, we finished the glasses, and the day they shipped out from our factory was the day he wore them on SNL. It was so crazy.
After that, demand went through the roof. All these Prince fans wanted the glasses, but we wanted to be sure that Prince's originals still felt, well, original. So we re-engineered the design and made the third lens removable, and wound up selling that model instead.
People still ask about those glasses all the time. Prince was so supportive, and so happy with what we created together. He really believed in us." — as told to Racked