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Interviews | March 31, 2017

Theo

Designer Serge Bracké gets us into the creative world of theo, the Belgian eyewear brand led by just one mission: to offer extraordinary frames in order to make you happy

words  Antonella Reina

‘theo loves you’! This is the original slogan from theo, a brand which stands out for its colourful and surprising design. More than 20 years ago, it was the love for their clients that made Wim Somers and Patrick Hoet, opticians with their own store, decide to launch the first collection under the name of theo. Starting as a small family business, today the Belgian brand is a major player in the international optics market and has a wider design team. We met in-house designer Serge Bracké to understand how love can feed creativity and lead to the creation of very unconventional frames that appeal to everyone.

What is the best question we could ask you? The worst?

You can ask us anything, we are quite open-minded. But if I have to pick one annoying question, it would be ‘Where did you get inspiration?’. Like there’s a space where one goes and receives enlightened ideas. The best (and worst) ideas come at any time, triggered by the most trivial situations. The most important thing is to be open to new ideas, even if it turns out to be impossible or ridiculous in the end. So, no need to contemplate in complete seclusion on a Himalayan mountain top.

Theo is… ?

Love, colour, humour, crossing the line …

What is the concept behind the brand?

To make contemporary eyewear for the individualist, to examine the boundaries of what a frame should and can be. But most of all: to bring a smile to our customers’ faces.

What is innovative and what is traditional about it?

We’re innovative in trying to see things from another perspective, not taking things for granted. This can be in form as well as in technique. But we can’t forget traditional comfort and quality. This needs to improve and be endorsed at every new design.

How would you describe a theo frame ?

A feel-good frame that’s an expression of the wearers’ individuality.

You are unique because…

We don’t follow trends, we’re not scared to experiment, we stick our neck out and pioneer!

What are the features of the last collection and its inspiration?

theo presents a few ‘families’ per season; five or more frames that share the same inspiration, technique or aesthetic features which means we’re not stuck on one theme or approach. One family can highlight a new hinge system, while another series concentrates on a more graphic point of view.

How much has your brand changed over the years?

I think theo has enlarged its ‘fan base’, which means that there is a theo frame for everyone nowadays. You can find a theo frame with a simple ‘twist’ for the theo novice, and at the other end side of the range you have the distinct eye-catcher for daredevils. In the beginning, (before my time) I think there were only these very pronounced frames, making it more niche.

Achievements and things you are still striving for…

Personally, I would like to focus more on graphic approaches in the collection. I see a lot of nice things happening around, things that would work for eyewear as well.

What feeling do people get from wearing your frames?

Making people happy is our number one goal! For every theo frame we design, The ambition for every theo frame we design is to give a satisfied, yet not obvious feeling. The frame has to trigger discussion. It must be different, but still remain the right frame. And in the end, the wearer has to long for his next one.

How does the world look through a pair of theo glasses?

Probably the same as through a non-theo frame, and at the moment we cannot be very happy with that. The world needs love (sweet love), so when theo fans spontaneously start saluting each other, it’s a perfect first step in achieving this. The theo way is an optimistic way!