Highlights for Eternity
It may seem strange to speak with an eyewear brand about its latest frame designs when this brand explicitly maintains that their designs will last for the next 50 years. And not just in terms of quality, but also regarding overall style. Then again, that’s exactly what SALT. is doing, both in terms of product quality and styling. Longevity is deeply engrained in the California eyewear brand’s DNA, so the letter “T” in the company name stands for ‘timelessness’.
Nevertheless, SALT. never rests on its laurels and keeps surprising with innovative products again and again as a truly premium eyewear brand. In our SPECTR interview, Design Director Benjamin Montoya and Product Line Manager Trevor Dylan Kelley provide insights into the creative approach behind heirloom eyewear.
Hey Ben and Trevor, please introduce yourselves to our readers.
Benjamin Montoya: We’ve each been in the space for many years, both at other major eyewear brands. We also owned retail, ran labs, and so on. We’re certified opticians, and we approach design with a deep knowledge of that world.
Trevor Dylan Kelley: The pursuit of superior optics with timeless styles is very important to us, and SALT. is a great fit in that regard.
Timelessness is a fundamental aspect of your eyewear designs. What is your approach?
B.M.: Well, there’s usually a bit of whiskey involved (laughs). We genuinely love the history of eyewear, so we’re always chatting about some aspect of it. The best part about doing this process with a partner is that if an idea really excites both of us, it’s a good sign that we’re onto something unique.
T.D.K.: Once we come up with an idea for a new design or new approach, the rest usually happens pretty fast. We sketch it out, make sure everything works to scale, do some photo-realistic drawings, and ultimately send it on to prototyping.
The model »Fuller« is inspired by the 1960s. But why exactly this decade?
T.D.K.: That was such a pure time for eyewear. There are a lot of basic concepts that they really got right during the mid-century. So understanding those concepts and then building on them is a necessity to driving the product forward.
What do you particularly like about this collection?
B.M.: We talk a lot about heirloom quality, items that can be passed down or rediscovered a couple of generations later. We wear frames that are going on 75 years old, and are still in great shape, and we’re using better processes and materials to make our eyewear now.
What is the result?
T.D.K.: These new pieces are easily going to last over a hundred years, and it’s important to us that we make eyewear that ages in style with the same effortlessness that it ages in quality. We don’t want to make anything that is disposable.
The »Fuller« frame is a unisex model. Which type of woman or man did you have in mind for these glasses?
B.M.: Anybody who wants to wear a pair of frames that look just as good 50 years from now as they do today. We want it to be a piece that lasts forever in both quality and style.
One last question that we have always wanted to ask: where do the names of your frames come from?
B.M.: Great question. SALT. takes its inspiration from nature, and each collection is based on a specific natural region or process, so the names come from that collection’s natural region.
And how about this new collection?
T.D.K.: The 2020 collection is based on endorheic basins around the world. These are places that naturally produce beautiful pink and orange colored lakes, and eventually become salt flats. Each 2020 release is named after a different endorheic basin around the world.