Interviews | November 15, 2018

A chat with… Xavier Garcia

The Catalan brand renews its vision collection and presents a brand-new image at Silmo. We spoke about this with the founder and chief designer, Xavier Garcia

words Enrico S. Benincasa

How does your design department work? How many people are part of it?

There are three of us who design for Xavier Garcia. As well as myself – the Chief Designer, we’ve had two other people working on this for about a year: one comes from the fashion world while the other has a background in industrial design. This is their first experience in this field, but the fact that they come from different worlds has given us the opportunity to have fresh minds and ideas available to us. However, it is true that having a pair of eyes that have been trained in eyewear is just as important, because glasses are objects that are worn on the face and change how we’re perceived; often it’s a case of just a matter of millimetres.

How long does it take to design a collection?

We don’t offer a different collection every year and every season. We have about 60 active models at any one time and two or three times a year we decide to replace the older models, or those that have had their day, and introduce innovations. In essence, our collection feeds itself continuously and research shows that the life cycle for a particular model is about two years. To complete this renewal process takes two months, from the initial concept to its creation, up to the prototyping phase.

I know you have a strong bond with the artistic soul of your city, Barcelona, and with all the artists who have linked their name to the Catalan capital. Aside from them, which designers and artists do you love the most?

There are so many designers and artists who have done sensational things and who really catch my interest. Ingo Maurer is one such designer, but to be honest I’m also a fan of the Alessi collections and the designers who created them. Generally, I’m more attracted to architecture and design, especially design as related to furnishings and lighting, and less so to the fashion world.

Is there any material you prefer when it comes to designing a pair of glasses?

I love both metal and acetate. I appreciate the qualities linked to the structure of metal, I like acetate for its volume, the colours, the textures and the depth it can give.

What should we expect from the new vision collection?

We have focused on very light and flexible models, using combinations of acetate and steel. We tried to make them as thin as possible and thanks to the steel we gave them a technical, cold look, but also with a touch of colour provided by the acetate. For the models that are entirely made of acetate, we continue to play with mixing colours, textures and patterns; something that’s always made us distinctive. The collection will be presented at Silmo and we’ll try to bring some good news with us as far as the sun is concerned.

How has the world of eyewear changed since Xavier Garcia was created?

What has changed the most is the weight carried by brands and licensing. Ten years ago, big companies and licences carried a lot more weight. Today, smaller companies have gained interest because the public is looking for quality which smaller companies can supply. Also, when dealing with licensing there is a lot of emphasis on safety and not so much on innovation.

How important is communication for Xavier Garcia?

It’s something we need to invest in more. At Xavier Garcia, the “design-communication” pack has always been there, but now we want to improve on this point. We started from scratch, by restyling the logo and creating a new strategy for communication in all of our channels: digital, and commercial. We’ve recently changed our communication agency to rebrand our corporate identity and we’re currently working on the new image campaigns. We’ll debut this new image, which is coordinated and in line with our brand idea, at Silmo.