Experiment with nature.
“We are an experimental brand,” Shwood Founder Eric Singer says. “We just happen to make sunglasses.” Born from the limb of a Madrone tree, a rusty pair of cabinet hinges, and lenses from the corner store, Shwood has been a curious endeavor from the beginning.
Through all that experimentation, Shwood has created a seamless manufacturing process that merges precision technology with classic skilled craftsmanship to create a timeless art form. From veneering and precision lens cutting to shaping and finishing, each step is conducted in their Portland-based workshop in order to promise an entirely handcrafted product. To top it off, material manipulation is kept to a minimum to showcase the wood’s natural and unique splendor.
A story in the making.
Shwood is focused on embracing the adventure — enjoying the time it takes to get from point A to point B. The sunglasses manufacturer regularly publishes image-rich how-to guides and personal stories, which they call Journeys. From learning to make a flask koozie by hand to reading about a monthlong adventure in Iceland, Journeys is a place for Shwood customers to learn, engage, and tell their stories.
As with any sunglasses, Shwood’s products are perfect for sunny weather, especially when out in nature. We sat down with Shwood Founder and Designer Eric Singer to ask him some questions about the summertime.
What styles are you excited about this summer?
Call me sentimental, but I’m still excited about our first style in the first material we ever started with, our walnut wood Canby. Maybe it’s because it shows the most progression from the early beginnings to today; that particular frame has gone through countless iterations of construction methods. It’s one of those things that you grow proud of over time. The Canby is still here not because I personally like it, but because our customers have always loved it. It’s a tested and true style that won’t be going anywhere. I also am excited about our new Hawthorne frame. It is pretty much the opposite from the wood Canby. It consists of multiple materials and lots of small details hidden throughout its design. This frame is not for everyone, but that’s sort of the allure of it… when it works, it works really good.
What is something you’re experimenting with right now?
We are just about to launch our 18th unique material into the sunglass marketplace, which is pretty exciting for our team and me. We’ve partnered with Shaper Studios out of California, who make surfboards. They have helped us develop sunglasses using real surfboard resin… the results are nothing short of spectacular. These come alive to the world this Thursday (6/8/17) and will be available in limited quantities due to the intense amount of work that goes into each pair.
What is it that inspires experimentation and artistic expression through Shwood products?
The idea that there is so much here for the taking. Until we hit the scene back in 2009, the world of eyewear was pretty much unified in material selection across the board. We challenged all that with our wooden frames, and have continued to do so over the years with stone, oxidized metals, newspaper, vinyl records, and whiskey barrels to name a few. What really drives these products is the experimentation process in itself. Doing something that has never been done before has its extreme challenges, which is really where our team shines the most. We do so much more than just design shapes… we literally develop the materials those shapes are made from, which sometimes takes more than a year. There have been nights I wake up in the middle of the night with what I think is the key to the current problem to a material process challenge we are facing. It’s a constant mental exercise around here.
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After speaking with Eric, Shwood Co-founder and Sales Director Dan Genco gave NetRush a tour of their factory in Portland, OR, shown below:
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