William Morris London

George Eric Clarke

Words Alessandra Albarello


Same roots, new eye to the future. It wasn't difficult for the London-based British designer to immediately get in tune with the spirit of the brand, taking inspiration from the unmistakable mood of the English city...

Let’s talk about you and your background. When did you first ‘encounter’ glasses?
I successfully graduated from Bath Spa university in 2018, with a degree in BA Fashion Design. I began my journey within the fashion design industry, where I achieved finalist positions with British Fashion Council, Teatum Jones, Levi’s and Lenzing, before going on to win the Blunt Design Award at the ID International Emerging Designer Awards 2019 in New Zealand. Aside from this competition, I also was a finalist for the Lenzing Sustainable Denim Design Awards with Orta Denim. I was first introduced into eyewear in early 2019, working for Fabris Lane Ltd under the EssilorLuxottica Group, where I was designing across multiple high-street and large designer brands globally. here, I gained valuable experience and the knowledge
to be able to pursue my career further in eyewear. The combination of technical and fashion design really inspired me. It was from here that I realised how much passion and love I had working within eyewear. It’s such a small accessory, but one which transforms someone’s look and style.

William Morris London was founded in 1996 and you joined in early 2023. What elements of its heritage will you bring into your new collections to create continuity in the brand’s identity?
William Morris London is a strong and successful brand. So, when joining, I had the challenge of not only continuing to design amazing frames but also of maintaining the strong London DNA of the brand. When working on my first collection for William Morris, I wanted to understand the customer, the audience, and acquire the knowledge about the brand and its identity. I spent time and researched and filtered through popular archived frames which had been extremely successful, and from this, I was able to gain an understanding
of the brand and begin my design journey, developing and creating exciting new frames and sunglasses. 

And what new ideas have you introduced to make the difference for the future? Could you describe the main characteristics of your new collection?
As a designer, I already have lots of new ideas and visions for the brand. For the up and coming launches you will see some more clear direction between the London and Black Label frames, having a more fashion yet commercial approach. Being quite a fashion-driven designer ‘fashionista’, I am always aware of trends and styles on the market, so moving the brand forward, you will see more strong, elegant trend driven eyewear, more vibrant and pop colour elements and interesting concepts, and new and unique innovative designs. William Morris will also have more characteristics and elements of London culture, and not only in the designs and colours, the frames will also be named after locations within the city which reflect the style of the frame and the customer.

Finn and Freya models, Black Label

Finn and Freya models, Black Label

Optical frame model 50340

Optical frame model 50340

This brand has the same name as William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts & Crafts movement. Are there some cultural inspirations or sensibilities that you share with his philosophy?
When the golden opportunity first came about to license an eyewear collection and work with The William Morris gallery, we jumped at the chance. The opportunity to have access to all the iconic artwork was an amazing way to execute the beautiful prints with such history into the design of the gallery collection. William Morris himself had an amazing ethos and believed in sharing design and creativity, something I also believe in myself.

Where do you draw inspirations from?
As a designer, it’s in my blood to continuously acknowledge my surroundings for inspiration and as a way to express my creativity through my designs. I am always taking inspiration when traveling around. I get inspired from all walks of llife: through people, artists, locations, and fashion. London has an amazing culture and fashion scene, so I always take the time to visit exhibitions and galleries. A lot of my inspiration for the up-and-coming collections is coming from mainly UK based painters, sculptors, and artists. In this way, I can keep the heritage London influenced and maintain the DNA of the brand.

And about roots, what is your definition of contemporary Brit style?
It’s a luxury working with such a British brand because British culture spans so many ideas. The rich tapestry of British design, is so broad that this opens more opportunity in my creativity. From Savile Row, which is quintessentially British but still relevant, to the grungier edgier fringes of London’s fashion scene, there’s so much to draw from that it’s easy to interpret our wealth of culture into modern design.

Future projects and dreams?
My future projects are to invest my time and skills into William Morris and the two other brands I design for here in the UK for Design Eyewear group. My aim is to push the brands further with innovative designs and sustainability and to create a strong work family environment for all the team. The dream would have to be having my own eyewear brand in the industry under the Design Eyewear Group.

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