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Interviews | May 8, 2017

Dave Allison

Live in the moment, be yourself, do what makes you happy. Be spontaneous and never take life too seriously. Welcome to the state of mind of Sunday Somewhere

words Antonella Reina

To ‘Treat every day as if it’s a Sunday’ is possible. If you don’t know how to do it, learn from the words of Dave Allison, the founder of Sunday Somewhere; one of the most modernist independent eyewear brands, which not only offers beautiful frames but also suggests a unique, confident and distinctive lifestyle.

Hello Dave, we’d like to know something more about the beginnings. How did you originally get into eyewear?

I have designed sunglasses on-and-off for more than 17 years for various companies. I worked with Mondottica to design some frames for an iconic Australian surf company where I was instantly taken by the seemingly limitless category of eyewear design.

When and why did you decide to found your company?

I vividly remember launching Sunday Somewhere into the market place in September 2011. It was at Silmo, where we were then the new kids on an incredibly big independent brand block. Our booth was modest, but I felt so much joy just being there. I founded my own brand as at the time, I felt independent eyewear brands were not pushing the boundaries of design and manufacture as far as they could –I wanted to take the chance to explore these possibilities.

What do you remember of the beginnings?

From my previous work and experiences, I had a small Asian distribution network ready to go and back my new venture. They had faith in me and in my brand, which was beneficial in building the brand’s global status so fast. This success, in turn, resulted in many challenges; the main one being the huge difference in both design and fit between the East and the West. I could tell early on that generally Asian customers were more willing to buy into trends, whereas the European and American customers wanted more of a classic-with-a-twist frame. The sunglasses had to be different but still somewhat classic. Without blowing the early collections out to 100 skus this made it difficult to build markets globally. Slow and steady Dave… so focusing upon key accounts in Europe and the States was important whilst Asia was on fire.

What important changes has the brand seen since you started?

First and foremost, I think that today, Sunday Somewhere is a brand. At its launch the focus was purely on product. However, building a tight, young, energetic, hard-working and like-minded team has ensured consistent communication, where a ‘Treat every day as if it’s a Sunday’ philosophy is both necessary and possible. Sharing a common love of travel, most of the team is now based in London, which helps us be in a more, let’s say ‘universally friendly time-zone’ to communicate with the rest of the world.

Today, what is the brand philosophy behind Sunday Somewhere?

Sunday Somewhere is a state of mind. It’s about living in the moment, being yourself, doing what makes you happy. We embrace individuality, curiosity and the desire to express yourself through personal style, experiences and attitudes. Being spontaneous, being yourself and never taking life too seriously.

Which design elements are the signature features of Sunday Somewhere?

We are known for our round sunglasses where designs feature clean lines with a very modernist ideal in mind. We offer a unique, confident and distinctive perspective on the world around us. Sunday Somewhere aims to challenge the traditional and disrupt the unexpected. We are all about presenting a fresh and directional perspective on what is a beautiful and timeless eyewear collection.

Which countries love your frames the most? And which country do you love the most?

Sunday Somewhere is synonymous with Asia. Our focus for the last twelve months has been Europe and for the next twelve months it will be The United States. I have travelled a lot – creatively I feel connected and inspired when I’m in Japan. Like everyone, I also enjoy (and need) a little R&R time, so anywhere tropical with sun, sand and salt water is just perfect.

What is your personal idea of a perfect lifestyle?

The balance of work and play is so important. Having something like a trip or holiday to look forward to, for me is a necessity. I am obsessed by travel. Meeting new people and visiting exciting foreign cities to get ‘off-the-beaten’ track is essential. This love is definitely something that has translated into all Sunday Somewhere campaigns and is the main ethos of the brand.

Where do you get your personal inspirations?

Travelling and observing is when and where I get inspired. I still keep a visual diary for sketching and writing notes in – kind of like a visual-verbal scrapbook if you like.

How does your environment influence your work?

Greatly. Having a clean, un-cluttered and well-organized workspace is so important. A clean work environment definitely assists in keeping a focused mind.

What do you like most about your work?

The travel is what I most enjoy. Meeting like-minded creatives helps to stay inspired and ensure I am always pushing boundaries and ensuring freshness in my work.

How do you spend your days off?

Relaxing at home with my family, going on day trips and living the Sunday Somewhere state of mind.

What will be your next biggest challenge?

Taking the brand to the next level is always challenging. A plan is set in place, so watch this space…