Fleye Serves Smørrebrød
A Blend of Danish Flavors
Danish eyewear label FLEYE is drawing inspiration from one of Denmark’s greatest national dishes: Smørrebrød. Although the connection between tasty morsels of sliced bread and eyewear design may appear a bit far-fetched at first sight, the parallels are actually quite striking. Smørrebrød consists of several layers of ingredients, piled high in a variety of colors. So it’s very much like in eyewear, as there’s flavor in carefully chosen combinations. FLEYE went all the way in designing a series of glasses – featuring a layered structure of different-colored materials inspired by Smørrebrød – and even enlisted a prominent chef as well as a famous food photographer. For this issue’s Campaign Insight, we spoke to FLEYE founder and designer Annette Saust Estø about the tasty collaboration.
Annette, looking at the new collection we get the impression that FLEYE is becoming more fashionable. True or false?
Your new campaign is based on a typical Danish heritage icon: Smørrebrød. How come?
We were looking for inspiration from a local perspective and wanted to make a strong connection to Danish culture. Smørrebrød is an important part of Danish heritage and reflects the Danish state of mind when it comes to art, design and lifestyle. We actually wonder why nobody used it before (laughs).
Maybe no one feels as committed to smørrebrød as you do. Why do you like it so much?
Smørrebrød reflects the Nordic way of thinking of food in a visual way. In fact, it has become a lifestyle phenomenon, and a playground for chefs to try out different but powerful colors, textures, and flavor combinations.
So let us ask, what does your new collection have in common with smørrebrød?
Smørrebrød and FLEYE eyewear share a layered approach to construction. They are built in a similar way, with a variety of colors and textures placed on top of each other.
And how does that affect the new collection?
Focusing on smørrebrød as our inspiration allows us to play with these layers, mixing solid and transparent acetate and creating delicate color combinations. Smørrebrød also offers a lot of graphical elements we were referencing in order to create new shapes that are modern and sophisticated.
Is sophistication also the overall idea behind this new collection?
Our intention was to create small art pieces inspired by these traditional open-faced sandwiches – some obvious in their inspiration and others much more abstract. We wanted to create a collection that stands out, with roots in our heritage but also injected with young fashion.
Your brand name stands for “Fine Looking Eye,” but the campaign images sure feature some fine-looking smørrebrød. Who prepared these tasty creations?
Actually, we have asked Danish Smørrebrød champion and food stylist, Rasmus Kjær, to work with us and he said “yes”. We are very excited about working with him, since Rasmus has earned quite a number of awards throughout his career and is regarded an expert on Danish Smørrebrød.
How many pieces did he create for FLEYE?
He created four different pieces of smørrebrød, two for every season.
Seeing it all together, the parallels between the pieces of smørrebrød and your designs are really obvious. Who took the photos?
The pictures were taken by Columbus Leth, who has a proven track in food art photography. Columbus had already been working with chef Rasmus Kjaer for years, putting his creations into the spotlight.
What were your criteria for selecting the ingredients?
None at all. Rasmus selected the ingredients for the seasonal smørrebrød. We separated the single elements in order to define our seasonal colors. We then chose solid and transparent acetate colors and started creating shapes and color combinations by layering.
Speaking of layering, which materials did you use for the frames?
Carbon with colored wood, sheet and block titanium, and acetate in layers.
In how far did Rasmus’ smørrebrød influence your usage of these materials?
For our acetate frames, we have already been layering different acetates and mixing solid and transparent colors. The smørrebrød inspired us to play with geometric shapes just like the layers in smørrebrød, where something sticks out, for example like salad under meat. We have worked with circles, squares and triangles by “cutting an edge” of a semi-round pair of frames and adding an acetate layer to develop new shapes.
How many pieces will the new collection encompass?
The Signature Collection will have 24 model in four colors, so 96 pieces total, and in the Classics Collection we introduce 15 models in four colors for a total of 60 pieces.
How will you be using the campaign images in your communication?
Since we documented the entire process from the single ingredients to the completed smørrebrød, we will start by launching our first campaign storybook. This is a new way to tell our story about the inspiration for this season’s collection and to illustrate the creative process. We have also created story foldings with seasonal cloths for different purposes, some more technical, others more fashion-related. Because Columbus Leth took pictures of every ingredient and layering, we have created a stop-motion video as well as limited edition of art prints. We have also produced acetate sandwiches for the POS.
Acetate sandwiches… what’s that?
The acetate sandwiches were one of the steps within the creative process to find the best color combinations for our frames. Solid and transparent acetate plates in different colors were cut in smaller pieces and assembled like sandwich layers. We liked the idea so much that we decided to produce them in bigger numbers and sizes in order to offer them to our opticians for their shop window.
We’re sure it will whet consumers’ appetites. Thanks for the inspiring insights, Annette.