Every time we’re alerted to a new Karen Walker eyewear collection, we can’t help but get excited. The New Zealand designer is known for choosing unusual campaign stars, with past models including an eclectic bunch of 65-92 year olds, and an adorable bunch of toddlers.
This time around, Walker’s story is even more special: she’s partnered with the United Nations to produce a series of sunglass pouches that will come free with every pair sold worldwide. And the best part is, the Kenyan models in the campaign are the very craftspeople who helped make these amazing designs.
As Walker tells marie claire below, the project has given her the chance to really make a positive difference and bring visibility to life in Kenya.
Why did you decide to partner with the UN for this project?
Our brand continues to enjoy popularity all around the world and this has given us an opportunity to really make a positive difference. Working with the United Nations’ ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative we're able to make a real, immediate and measurable difference in Kenya and help bring visibility to this place, these people and the work of the Initiative.
This is the first time a company has made its craftspeople the subject of a campaign: what made you decide to do this?
We wanted to expand on the project by presenting not only the pouches created for us, but also something more intimate. Karen Walker Eyewear has always been about standing out from the crowd. The campaign captures our innate optimism, our love of maximum-impact in the images themselves and also directs attention to Kenya in a positive way.
How did the craftspeople respond to being photographed for the campaign?
Everyone had a lot of fun during the shoot and it was always a collaborative experience and so everyone in the community was excited about being part of it.
What eyewear trends can we look forward to seeing this season?
For us we're amplifying our classic shapes and introducing soft colour lenses against black and gold. We're also using a lot of reflective gold lenses and expanding on our filigree detail that we first developed four seasons ago.