Interviews | February 20, 2016

A chat with… Pedro Da Silva

When eyewear comes from music and art love… Meet Pedro Da Silva, founder of a new conceptual and visionary brand: VAVA

words  Antonella Reina

Hello Pedro. We would love to know more about VAVA: concept, inspiration, intent. Let’s start with the concept…

The brand’s concept is closely linked to the ‘post-industrial’ society in which we live, and the growing belief of belonging to a ‘post-human’ age. On a different note, we play around peoples imaginary and ‘science fiction’.

What about the inspiration?

We are very much inspired by science fiction movies, for example the cult movie Space Odyssey, that can be read as the ‘racing stand-still’ that is bound to result from an excessively one-sided belief in technological progress. On the other hand, I’m fond of the Bauhaus and Minimalism. Basic and simple shapes, like squares and rectangles, stimulate my vision in fashion.

And finally, your intent?

I wanted to make a label that could associate the highly conceptual language of machinery and the arts. The brand aims to achieve a contemporaneous basic look both conceptual and timeless. We seek to consolidate a project based on handmade products made with the best materials, as we avoid mass production.

You’ve been in the Fashion Industry since you graduated as a Textile Engineer. Why did you decide to launch your own eyewear brand?

I worked as a senior manager with companies such as Inditex (Zara), Hugo Boss and more recently for the LA brand 7 for all mankind. I always loved the glasses, and used them daily (for the view) but I couldn’t find in the market contemporaneous sunglasses that pleased me. The 80s design always fascinated me. The square, simple aesthetics of computers, the first drum machines and design in general. My idea was to start from there to create something new.

VAVA has links with music and art. Would you talk about it?

I have been long fascinated by the Detroit techno scene. VAVA has currently in the stores a model born in collaboration with Detroit music legend Juan Atkins. Juan is the forerunner of a genre that has deeply influenced the story of electronic music. His music is a form of experimentation that emphasizes the balance of man and machine, the same artistic basis of VAVA philosophy. For the thirtieth anniversary of the Juan Atkins record label, the Metroplex, we created a special eyewear model, in limited edition, with only 300 enumerated pieces.

You are based in Berlin but you produce your eyewear in Italy. Why?

In 2013, when I decided to create my own eyewear label I moved back to Germany. Berlin, like Detroit, is a post-industrial city with strong links to techno and with an emerging art scene: the perfect spot. In Italy we found the experience, knowledge and the art of the great masters of handmade eyewear. The strong cluster allows to find raw material of outstanding quality and at same develop locally components with high grade of complexity. This ensures freedom of creation and outstanding quality. The collection is handmade at a small family-owned Italian factory.

Who can be seen wearing eyewear by VAVA?

A person that is looking for a sophisticated product with high quality and unique. Someone that is sensitive to the use of noble materials, rich workmanship and at same sustainable. I’m very happy to obverse that a vaster audience than I could imagine is appreciating the minimalism and conceptualism of the brand. So, I guess that VAVA is for everyone.

What’s the hardest part about designing eyewear?

The hardest part is to align the conceptualism of the brand with the requested functionality and wearability. Reach this balance is extremely hard, but is a great exercise of creation.

What do you love about your work and what do you hate?

The most exciting is the exercise of creating a unique and innovative product with my team of designers. I have some problems to cope with the long lead-times for making product innovations.

Is there real interest in young eyewear designers?

Definitely. Italian powerhouses such as Luxottica, Marcolin and Safilo dominate the eyewear business, but independent brands are offering high-end, artisanal yet high-tech products making headway in the market. The segment is even starting to sprout its own specialized publications and trade-shows. The niche segment has increased its business over the past couple of years. The market is definitely looking for a different kind of eyeglasses.

What’s the must-have characteristic for a young and talented eyewear brand to survive in the eyewear world?

To be a creator (instead of just being a creative) in order to ‘create/invent’ a unique concept and style with a strong and real brand DNA.

What are we going to see at the Mido?

A new optical line of eyewear will be launched in MIDO along with new sun styles. The collection is about evolution, digging and deepening of the previous one. A work that will take the brand and its ethos to the next level. VAVA is proud to also announce a new exciting collaboration with Canadian fashion Designer Rad Hourani. Our collaboration with Rad Hourani, a pivotal name in Unisex Clothing, is the result of an indisputable bound between VAVA and a designer who has been pushing the boundaries of gender binary. This commitment is upheld by the creation of a limited edition of 3 colors series of just 200 consecutive pieces of eyewear.