Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Woody Allen, Roberta Smith, Karl Lagerfeld – a handful of bespectacled luminaries are identified by their distinctive eyewear, which often mirrors their eccentric personality and sense of style. But the rest of us tend to default to predictable and generic designs, typically what’s readily available en masse by a few household brands. Kajal London, the emerging luxury eyewear retailer, is out to change that, reshaping our frame of reference – literally – by offering unique, one-of-a-kind glasses and sunglasses that compliment the wearer’s individual character and career path.
A little over a year since teaming up with Selima Optique to launch Kajal London’s inaugural collection, a selection of 500 rare and vintage eyeglass frames dating from the 1970s-1990s, founder and CEO Kajal Sanghrajka is excited to unveil “Distinction,” a portrait series celebrating the artists, musicians, filmmakers, fashionistas, and athletes who embody the singular frames that she offers. Whitewall has teamed up with Kajal London to feature an exclusive preview of the exquisite frames and portraits, shot by Colombian photographer Lucas Alvarado Farrar, which will be shown for the first time at the Sohotel Art Space Gallery in Soho next Wednesday, August 28.
In what she hopes will become an ongoing annual series, Sanghrajka selected 10 NYC-based individuals over six weeks to highlight the fact that, like their notable and unique frames, these trendsetters are inspired by extraordinary passion and creativity.
No stranger to the industry (as a young girl she fondly recalls traveling to tradeshows around Italy, France, Austria, and Germany with her father, a dealer in the wholesale eyewear business) Sanghrajka was unsatisfied with the quality and dwindling range of styles offered in contemporary eyewear. But she also knew there would be logistical challenges in fulfilling a niche market. After taking the plunge to start her own retail outpost while finishing her MBA at Columbia, the London-born entrepreneur realized that her network-based clientele of industry creatives was the best resource to illustrate how an unordinary frame can enhance personal style, since most of the inventory is comprised of single pairs or orders of ten or less.
The individuals featured in “Distinction” are innovators like Tze Chun, founder of Uprise Art; Jaclyn Siu, blogger and founder of Wearhou.se; Sofia Maldonado, a Caribbean-American artist; and Kris Bowers, a Jazz pianist and composer. They are not conventional celebrities, though they are considered pioneers in their respective fields, bringing a widened scope on music, art, fashion, and sports to each community and sharing their personal journeys on Kajal London’s newly launched Editorial Blog.
The project brings a much-needed infusion of diversity to the fashion world with equal spotlight given to the impossibly chic frames and the notable initiatives being pursued by their wearers. Given Sanghrajka’s early success and growing international reputation, Kajal London seems to be well on the way to changing how we see fashion and art.