New Orleans might be synonymous with Mardi Gras, but look beyond the French Quarter party scene and you’ll find a burgeoning fashion community. One of the brands leading the way is Krewe du Optic. After a few years of pursuing work as an artist, founder Stirling Barrett decided to expand his design interest into sunglasses.
“My artwork at the time revolved around line and perspective and how it interacted with the image,” Barrett explains. “It all just started with sketching and representing New Orleans through eyewear.” Crafted from Italian acetate and lightweight lenses, the handmade frames range from classic silhouettes, like the oversize cat-eye Julia, to more trendy shapes, like the rounded Bengal.
“The hardest part about being in New Orleans is not being in New York or LA and having to travel for meetings,” Barrett says. “But at the same time, the best part about being here is the fact that we’re really inspired by the city on a daily basis and its idea of personal style.” —Liza Darwin