By Eyewear Architect Wyatt.
My father was a trim carpenter in the Mid-South for more than three decades. I remember when he would show me around the site of houses he would trim, and one example always stuck with me: the spiral staircase. If you are unfamiliar, spiral staircases typically have banisters made of a seemingly uncompromising piece of wood. With painstaking effort, this wood is bent little by little and allowed to rest to avoid unnecessary stress. The finished project is a marvel to behold, and makes anyone who understands the process thankful for the artisans willing to share their skills.
Enter: RIGARDS. My first interaction with this collection left me awestruck at the attention to detail. As RIGARDS founder and designer Ti Kwa eloquently puts it, “I want to make things that will outlive me, heirloom pieces that you can pass on to the next generation.” The line is grounded in a passionate commitment to highlighting the unconventional beauty of natural materials: buffalo horn, copper, 925 sterling silver, aluminum-magnesium alloy, and solid wood.
If you’re looking for a frame with dramatic flair, but you’re worried about the weight of a thicker frame, the RIGARDS Genuine Horn frames can be a great choice! This horn is sustainably sourced, and each frame is unique, based on the differences between separate pieces of horn.
We started with buffalo horn in our first year in Paris. Back then, we were more fashion-focused, and the frames were more chunky and more raw in terms of finishing. We were really into the material then, and we wanted to show as much as possible.
As we went on, we wanted to offer something, because not everybody wants to wear a pair of heavy glasses. So we started pairing horn with beta titanium and aluminum-magnesium alloy, both being extremely light and durable. -Ti Kwa
One of the most eye-catching parts of the RIGARDS collection is their use of copper. Each copper frame, like the horn, has a one-of-a-kind finish. Holding a pair feels like holding a piece of art made specifically for you.
Working with copper is different from working with aluminum or stainless steel. Copper has its own properties, patina and melting points; you don’t solder sterling silver the way you solder copper. You’ve got to use a different soldering thread and a different heat – everything is different. The beauty of copper is that it is all natural, you don’t have to colour or do any additional process to it, and yet it looks amazing. Plus, it is lighter than silver. -Ti Kwa
925 Sterling Silver
With a simultaneously rustic yet modern presentation, the RIGARDS 925 sterling silver frames have a distinctive cut-diamond aesthetic. If you are in need of a frame with character for your next black-tie event, this is the frame for you!
You don’t really see 100% 925 silver frames as they would be very heavy, so I started experimenting with sterling silver. It was a very expensive experiment, and we kept losing silver when we made the frames, but we managed to master the process after some time. Using silver is completely different from using aluminum, as it is much softer and allows hammering and texturing by hand. But we use a special machine to compress it and make it hard enough to create a pair of glasses. -Ti Kwa
Have a tendency of being “rough” on your frames? The RIGARDS aluminum-magnesium alloy frames could be a solution! These are incredibly light frames that still have the hand-made touch.
Aluminum-Magnesium alloy permits the construction of frames that are ultralight and strong at the same time, augmented by exclusive flex-hinge and lens opening. Specially developed imprinting and anodizing techniques further create intriguing finishes that take their cue from Mother Nature.
Remember my story about my father, the trim carpenter? Well, obviously such a well-crafted line wouldn’t be complete without beautiful wood frames. Each wood frame is made from specially picked wood based on grain, color, and density. This design was nominated for a SILMO Award.
This was one of those things that I wanted to show people. There is a built-in hinge and a steel rod, designed to minimise stress on the wooden frame, that goes all the way inside for support and this is customised specifically for this frame. -Ti Kwa
We are excited at Eclectic Eye to introduce a line as individualistic and outstanding as RIGARDS. I’d love to have the chance to explore its possibilities with you, and to help you find the frame that will help you express your own instantly recognizable style. Book a consultation today!