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Interviews | October 18, 2016

Q&A – Jean-François Rey

Back to the ‘80s

words Antonella Reina

Jean-François Rey talks about the JF Rey origins and the exclusive anniversary line 1985, backing us into an exciting period that built and launched the brand and its style.

This year you are celebrating a special anniversary: 30 years of design. How do you feel about it?

Honoring 30 years of design is quite exiting and provides a little nostalgic spirit. You realize the work you’ve implement since the beginnings and which still seduces, with the same codes. Since the company BLI-DBP has been created in 1995, we still exist, with the same passion of design, the same creativity, the same excitation by taking new challenges, new technical and creative opportunities.

What do you remember of the beginnings? What was the hardest part?

Any hardest part at all, on the contrary! I remember a period that rocked the world: economic prosperity, creative freedom, liberated youth, frivolity, daring, crazy chic, etc. Not forgetting the legendary figures who revolutionized artistic creativity like Serge Gainsbourg, Madonna, Prince, David Bowie, Jean-Paul Goude, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, Edwige Belmore, David Lynch, Roman Polanski and so many more. In the 1980s, anything was possible. Every eccentricity was allowed. Nightlife and the legendary Parisian clubs like the Palace and the Bains Douches where I used to hang out electrified the creative world.

Which were the first important successes?

I was lucky to live during New Wave and the night-clubbing era. I always followed my instincts and passions for design, succeeding in imposing our style and brand on the international glasses scene. Moving away from the beaten track, daring to take risks, breaking down the codes to boost innovation, rejecting trends and fashion… These elements have always motivated my work. These values are the very DNA of the JF Rey brand and have broadly contributed to the global success.

You’re celebrating these 30 years with an exclusive line: 1985. Why did you choose the ‘80s?

In the eighties, we were among ten designers and we revolutionized the eyewear design, introducing style and fashion codes, a new way of thinking frames. It’s an important period for me and for the brand. Between Paris and Marseille, JF Rey’s style immediately earned its reputation by collaborating with major ready-to-wear famous labels such as Agnès B., Issey Miyaké, Marithé François-Girbaud. In the ‘80s we established the JF Rey style getting an immediate success with innovative, creative and modern collections.

Which are the main features of the collection?

We reissue the most emblematic prescription glasses and sunglasses of the 1980s, faithfully respecting the original designs. This limited edition of 25 frames recreates the vintage spirit of the eighties with a perfectly balanced touch of modernism. The models display a pioneering off-the wall style, which is still in evidence today and confirms the J Rey’s avant-garde spirit.

Today, which design elements are the signature features of JF Rey?

Even if we have evolved since the beginnings, using new materials, new technologies providing great creative and technical possibilities, our DNA is strictly the same. The stylistic boldness, creative design, large color charts and the inimitable work over the material make JF Rey a unique brand. I’d say our secret is our own artistic language, based on a strong and unique identity.

Any future project you would like to share with us?

We constantly work on our different brands, seeking for creativity, originality and innovation. In 2014 we have launched the line Jean-François Rey Au Masculin with leather frames that met a great success! We still explore this fabulous and luxury material with a new creative approach. You’ll discover new line at Silmo 2016… In the same time, we have developed new communication campaigns and the JF Rey’s community on social networks is growing up. Our customers post on Facebook or Instagram some beautiful pictures of our models, it’s a pleasure to share and discover this work. Don’t forget to follow us.

What will be the next biggest challenge?

The market is today difficult for different reasons. But we have the chance to maintain our position -and even growing up on specific export markets- but I’d say the biggest challenge is to face the situation we know. Providing surprise with creative models, initiating innovation on the eyewear market, being a leader is our everyday challenge, all the times. Our strength is here.