Interviews | March 8, 2019

A chat with – Grant Krajecki

He has a fashion background and began focusing totally on eyewear with Grey Ant only seven years ago. The trademarks of this US-based brand? Originality in design and constantly looking for quality

words Enrico S. Benincasa

Why is designing eyewear so special for you?

I like designing eyewear because the style of a pair of glasses is the first thing people see when they meet each other. If you wearing them, they are probably the first thing another person will notice on your face. It allows me to be freer compared to when I designed fashion collections. Sometimes my collections were considered pretty extreme and this limited the number of my customers. Being original in eyewear design is probably more acceptable than in other fashion fields.

How many people are involved in the design department?

I design the Grey Ant collections entirely, every piece. It’s not hard, I prefer to control everything and do it on my own. Our studio is currently based in Woodstock, NY, while the show room is in New York City.

How long do you need to design a collection?

Generally I need a month to complete the job. It’s the time I need to concentrate my efforts in completing everything. I don’t start from scratch, because every day I take notes or sketches about ideas on my sketchbook.

Do you always start designing on paper?

Yes, generally, in most of the cases. Then I transfer to the computer to manipulate what I draw.

What are your favourite materials?

I may say that acetate is my favourite material over metal because of its flexibility, even though some of Grey Ant’s most popular styles such as Mesh or Megalast are in metal. I like the combination of both in a creative way if the frame doesn’t look too overdesigned. I like minimalism but I’m always detail-oriented.

What’s your opinion about the current moment in eyewear?

From what I’m seeing, since we started seven years ago there have been a lot of brands coming into the market offering products inspired by what’s already out there, but of lower quality. It’s like what happened fifteen to twenty years ago in the fashion industry. This makes things difficult for those who want to work at their best, especially if important stores open their doors to low quality products.

You continue to choose to work with some of the best partners in the market such as Divel and Zeiss, is that right?

When you are looking for good sunglasses, no matter what the frame really looks like, you want your eyes protected and a really good vision. I just want to work with the best lens companies available on the planet. And this helps with the awareness of your brand.

What inspires you?

I usually find inspiration in places like art museums and from movies, even the old ones. Arsenic, one of our new acetate styles is inspired by a late Sixties/early Seventies Dracula horror film. Sometimes when I watch a movie I just notice someone in the background wearing a particular frame. It’s not fundamental to be able to make exactly the same silhouette: a detail of it could inspire me to create something new.

Is this the only way to create a new silhouette?

No, sometimes it’s life that drives your inspiration. I have friends who weren’t able to wear sunglasses because the double nosepad hurt their noses and gave them headaches. I figured out how to solve this problem by mounting an adjustable single nosepad onto different silhouettes: Fait, Ministry and Chronical. They are perfect for this kind of solution and are very cool in our view. This new nosepad is called Float.

Arsenic and those single nosepad models are the new products you’re going to present at Mido. Are there any other models for the Milan-based trade show?

We have another style called Zoom, a Sixties inspired acetate silhouette, which is totally new for the European market. We want to do something useful but not too serious, it will come in really fun colours very soon.