Designer Interview: Jason Wu and His New Eyewear Collection

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Most of you may know Jason Wu as the designer of First Lady Michelle Obama’s gorgeously diaphanous Inauguration gown. But for those of you tuned into to the fashion industry, you simply know him as Jason Wu, the Manhattan-based designer whose star is rising. After a few seasons showing his namesake womenswear collections at Bryant Park, Wu has catapulted into the fashion stratosphere and is fast becoming one of the most desirable and well-known American fashion designers on the market.

Of course many have attributed his fast success to Mrs. Obama’s choice of wardrobe for the historic 2009 Presidential Inauguration, but without his modern and diverse approach to dressing women he wouldn’t continue to receive such grand acclamation for his designs. And this year Wu is proving his versatility with the debut of an eyewear collection, Modo for Jason Wu Collection. Last week we gave you a peek at the designer’s party at Ilori to celebrate the new collection, as well as the launch of his eyewear collection in the luxury eyewear store—the first-ever optical collection ever available at this shady boutique. Haute Living caught up with the young (in age, that is. Certainly not in experience.) designer and asked him a little bit about the process of designing his first accessories collection.

You have a very diverse background as a designer. How have your past experiences shaped your approach to sunglasses? I’ve lived in many different cities—Taipei, Vancouver, Paris, and New York. I feel that one thing people have in common across the board is that sunglasses are a universal object of style.

How was this process different from designing your fashion collection? The biggest difference is that I’m working with plastics and metals versus fabrics. It’s all about using these new mediums in a way that reflects and stays true to my aesthetic.

When did you decide you wanted to design a range of sunglasses?
I wanted to branch into accessories this year, and sunglasses—which instantly convey a message of chic and are a seasonless, classic item—seemed like the perfect place to begin.

What was the inspiration behind the line? Each pair? I started out thinking about strong women with standout personal style and fascinating life stories. Mia Farrow, Jean Seberg, Amelia Earhart, and Joan Jett were the perfect muses for each of my four styles.

Do you have a single muse? So many chic women have served as inspirations of mine, so it’s hard to pick just one. However, Jean Seberg is one of my all-time favorites.

Who do you see rocking these shades in everyday life? The best part about the collection is that these styles work on so many different personalities. I’m definitely hoping to spot the unisex frames on a few guys, too.

Was the partnership with Modo a natural choice? I love working with Modo because they make a beautiful, high-quality product. Their refined vision was a natural fit for me.

What interested you about partnering with ILORI for the launch of your new collections? Ilori is one of the best eyewear resources in Manhattan, and I appreciated their innovative ideas regarding product promotion, placement, and display. It’s great to have them on board, and to have provided them with their first-ever collection of designer optical frames.

What’s next? Do you plan on any more collaborations? Yes. Stay tuned!

To learn more about Jason Wu visit his website at

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