What’s On My Desk: CFDA Darling Blake Kuwahara


Blake Kuwahara
Blake Kuwahara
If you’re looking for high-end, architecturally-inspired frames, eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara is your man. This CFDA member has collaborated extensively on eyewear collections for John Varvatos, Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarapfour, Hanae Mori, and Coach. He first gained international acclaim as the creator and designer of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand. Blake’s groundbreaking use of engineering and production techniques together with his highly curated eye reinvented the way eyewear design is approached today. For his sophomore unisex sunglasses and optical collection–that will launch in a limited number of stores this July—Blake expands on the “frame within a frame” technique. Inspired by architecture, each frame is named after an architect. All styles are made by hand in Japan. Each frame is individually crafted out of richly colored Italian and Japanese acetates. Says Kuwahara, “My desk is really my laptop these days. ‘Have laptop will travel.’ I still keep a desk in my bedroom as a vestige and a reminder of “work” that needs to be done.  I still use this desk to check e-mails and to write notes to people.  I have a large farm table in my studio that I actually use for designing and laying out projects.” Here, we offer you a preview of where this high-end eyewear designer makes his optical magic happen.


Blake Kuwahara's desk
Blake Kuwahara’s desk
Desk:  The desk itself is an antique pine table from Scotland to which I added a leaf for more space.  I prefer desks that don’t look too “office-y” especially if it’s in a bedroom- which this is.
Buddha:  The antique Buddha is from Thailand as are the prayer beads.  There is an amazing line up of antique vendors on the way to Chatuchat Weekend Market in Bangkok that sell religious artifacts and amulets. This is a reminder to be calm and take a deep breath.
Note:  It’s a sweet note and reminder of a very special friendship.  It always makes me smile when I read it.
Jewelry:  I’ve always got rings and bracelets on my table.  It’s a quick go-to when I get dressed in the morning.  My favorite piece is the silver frog that my grandmother bought in Bolivia when she and my grandfather were living there.
Picture:  The picture of my grandparents taken in the 60’s looking very dapper in front of the Taj Mahal is a reminder to always keep exploring.
Bags:  I’ve probably got more bags than eyeglasses!  My favorites are my HAC Hermes bags.  I found the vintage canvas one at the flea market at Porte de Vanves in Paris this past summer.
Rock & Glasses:  The rock is from a trip I took to Kona with a friend.  I love the simplicity of it.  It also acts as a paperweight (underneath is an invitation from March, one of my favorite stores in San Francisco).  On top of that is a pair of sterling silver frames with red coral that my friend and jewelry designer Vittorio Ceccarini of Clara Stones in Dubrovnik made for me for the launch of my eyewear line.
View:  In order for me to work, I need a view.  It’s a distraction but also a source of inspiration.
A preview of Blake's second collection
A preview of Blake’s second collection