Olow is Waiting For The Sun
No more hail showers, spring is coming and along with it the result of a fruitful collaboration full of meaning. Olow and Waiting For The Sun have made entirely out of oak: 3 Blum, St Ho and Repu eyewear models. A binding of characters for two strong entities sharing the same taste in nature, escape and well being. On the occasion of this private viewing which took place last Wednesday at WAIT, we were able to find out a bit more about the pioneers of wooden glasses and the history of this collaboration…
One evening during the holidays you decided to create wooden glasses. What gave you the urge to do so?
Antoine :To be more precise it was the evening when we had got back from our holidays, we were in a bar (Laughs). What motivated us was our desire to create, whether we’re talking about Julien who used to work in the fashion industry or about me. I used to work in research and development. With regards to the glasses, a lot of things had already been done. Bringing creative skills to the group, that’s the complicated part. We were interested in raw materials, particularly wood. The idea seemed a bit much at first but over time, it became a challenge. Back in the day wooden glasses didn’t really exist. A few brand names had released their own wooden glasses but in an untrustworthy manner. Our aim was to offer a fashion accessory. We needed to get people talking.
Julien : We wanted to make something that we liked, something that you can’t find anywhere else and within our budget. Wooden glasses cost 2000 Euros and the aim was to make wooden glasses for less than 150 Euros…
Antoine : At the time we were going through post petrol debates. I don’t know if you have ever had this feeling but when you want to buy something for your kid, you enter the shop and it’s full of plastic. You could practically come out in a rash. Today, more and more people are buying wooden toys at relatively high prices. They want to move on to something different. With glasses it’s the same thing. They’re all made out of plastic. Why you might ask? I have no idea. Because plastic is long-lasting. This is true. I just don’t get why people can’t try other high quality renewable raw materials… It was a real challenge for us to make wooden glasses. I’m not going lie to you, we did struggle at first. The first hurdle was to actually find people that didn’t laugh in our faces when we explained our project to them and who actually wanted to work with us. Here, I’m referring to the manufacturers. Next we had to find the right designs for the glasses. We had problems concerning the quality of the glasses. I think we were able to get everything sorted out in 5 years. They were an instant success. This enabled us to get a spot in the fanciest concept stores, in Opening Ceromony in New York, in Mercier in Paris and others in Japan.
Julien : To begin with there was more than the aim of creating a business; we also wanted to have fun. The first years that are dedicated to research and development and the conceptualization of the product, you don’t feel as if you’re creating a brand. To begin with it was something we used to do to keep ourselves busy… then all of a sudden we took a giant leap and decided to make our own business.
I imagine that you all had other things going on at the beginning?
Julien :We were both flat mates to begin with. At the time it had been ten years since we’d known each other. We ended up in Paris at the same time. We each had a job and in the evenings we would meet up to discuss the project. It was like that for two years. We would do a session and we would then send the texts. We spent our time receiving and modifying. There’s a fun side to it really. We were able to start the business when the prototypes were ready. We had three shapes in two different colors. I had planned to move to Australia and that’s when Antoine asked me: “What do we do now?” “Shall we wait for you to return before launching the business?” “Or do we do this now? That’s when we decided to do it straight away. Things started to look up within six months. We collaborated with some friends who had helped us to get our business off the ground. At first, we didn’t really think of it as a business, even today. Yes, we’ve got other responsibilities now; we each have a family, employees, a place, and set charges to pay so yes the whole business side definitely does exist. Once again, we do this because we enjoy doing it.
You started off by aiming for the Australian market; I imagine this has something to do with Julien’s trip?
Julien : We started off with Australia and France. It’s true that Australia took off a little quicker. The Australian market reacts quicker than the French market. Come on, we’re talking about sun glasses here. Over there the weather can reach everyday temperatures as high as 45° degrees. Of course they loved our idea. The idea was also a hit in the USA, Japan and France. We were surprised that it did so well because we launched our company without any real pressure…
How did you come up with the brand name Waiting For The Sun?
Julien :We brainstormed. To find the DNA we wanted to define. Paris, the music we used to listen to. We listened to the Doors a lot. So we thought Waiting For The Sun sounded pretty cool. We came up with the quiet quickly.
I heard that the address of the place where we are now was more or less Julien’s place at one point?
Julien : It wasn’t my flat. Let’s say that I lived in the shop for a whole year. That’s how we made the shop. We wanted to make it feel as if you were in a flat. I lived in the store room. There was a shower. The office part was in the kitchen.
Antoine :The kitchen where we put our offices was a real kitchen! With all the grotty dishes everywhere. However, there was a real living room. It was a real living area and that’s just what we wanted. It was our headquarters. This is where we celebrate birthdays, even weddings…
Julien :We celebrate Christmas here and New Year’s. It’s our living space, our space. It’s our home. The road is ours. The day of music, the sofas are put outside and our friends come over and party.
I hear you go to Normandy and go surfing, what’s it like?
Antoine : We had several trips. We go off with the people from the store and we take our boards. Some people contact us on Facebook and come with us. Then it’s off to Normandy for a small surf session. This is where it is the closest. We go to Etretat. There aren’t any big waves but you can still have fun and above all we have the beach to ourselves. We enjoy being outdoors and drinking and chilling with our mates.
Once upon a time OLOW is Waiting For The Sun. What is the history of this collaboration?
Mathieu (Olow) : It’s been quite some time since Valentin and I wanted to do a collaboration for sun glasses. It’s been 3 years since we’ve wanted to do this. Especially for wooden glasses because we discovered them at a fair about 4 years ago. We said that the day we had to work on a brand for wooden glasses, that we would do it with the precursors and the best. Some have already asked if we would collaborate with them but we’ve always refused. Valentin had already contacted Waiting for the Sun entity on the famous firstname.lastname@example.org about two years ago. There had been no response. So I decided to do a technique that I use quite often when I want to get in touch with people. I add them on Facebook. (Laughs) Hop hop hop. I begin to talk to Antoine via Facebook.I was in luck as he had the time to reply to me. We met up got together! We were very happy that they accepted!
Julien : We all have common origins. We’re a Parisian brand today, but Antoine is from the West, and Valentin lives in Nantes.
Antoine : What we liked was the moment where we said: “Well we’ll do something with OLOW” it was at the time when the universe of the brand and all the visual that they used revolved around the theme of nature. There were huts. A whole story about a lake.
Mathieu : It’s the Journey collection from last summer.
Antoine : Well we very much enjoyed it because it was all to do with things that we liked. We thought it would be nice to work with OLOW..
How did the choice of models, and species for this collaboration?
Mathieu : There were four of us when we chose the three styles of glasses, the colors for the frames and the lenses. Valentin, Julien, Antoine and me. The only thing we brought to the group that was validated is the engraving that we wanted to put on the temples. A summer themed etching with a small pineapple twist to it.
Antoine : Indeed, we did a dainty all over engraving. It needed to be quiet defined and not be too small. We work with lasers. We get good accuracy but you can’t do small drawings. Getting back to the matter, the essence of the collaboration is a variety of oak wood; it is very technical and provides good robustness while being light. This is the essence that works the most and gives great satisfaction.
If you were to give a poetic name for this collaboration how would you call it?
Antoine : Personally, I would want to use the theme of Breakaway because I think it’s a great name. I would have liked for our products to have a name like that. Especially since we like this topic so much, even if I liked the others that followed, including Saint-Nazaire.
Finally, Waiting what are future projects for this year?
Antoine : We’ve got so much coming up. We have our new collection Slash that is not made from wood but from acetone. This is a technical high-end collection, but on better placed prices our first season with our Slash collection has been a real success. We will also celebrate our 5 year anniversary this year. We have to mark the occasion. It is very important to us! We also have plans to resume all wood collection models which for us have been more or less badly created or that have become obsolete over time. We will redo a certain number of pairs of glasses. We will sharpen the designs and give them a little more pizzazz! It would be nice to revamp these models for our 5 year anniversary. But beware there will be all kinds of new frames … A lot of surprises for going back to school Most of all there ill be a huge collaboration that’s going to get everyone talking…
Find all the news of Waiting For The Sun HERE
Thanks to all the team of WAIT for the varnishing!