Living in sunny SA, we all know the importance of a good pair of shades (even in winter!). So you can imagine what a design crush we have on Kraft Eyewear - handmade with reclaimed wood and a lot of love. The crafty Rhett Baker is the man behind Kraft, so we had a few questions for him.
- Hello Rhett! Tell us a little about yourself.
Kraft is me and my wife Kerry. I have a background in graphic design and finishing carpentry. At the beginning of 2013 I was in a job in sales, least suited to me, driving round endlessly looking for clientele which were driving me insane. I had been in the building/carpentry trade for the last 8 years, and was yearning to do something with my hands again. One day I went for a hair cut at Durban's finest barber (Ed. note: Hi Nev!) where the coffee shop owner from next door came in. I noticed he was wearing a pair of glasses made from bamboo, and that really got me thinking - I could make those out of wood! I immediately went home to Google if anyone had thought of that. To my surprise wooden sunglasses had been a trend in the US and Europe for quite a few years. I set out to make my first pair, and the rest is history.
- That's a great set of coincidences - Kraft got started because you were getting a haircut in the right place at the right time! Why the name "Kraft"?
The name Kraft speaks for itself. Each pair of sunglasses we put out has been individually handmade with care, using old techniques inspired by the craftsmen of the past. We aren't reinventing the wheel, just trying to put out a truly handcrafted product.
- What inspires your designs?
We are inspired by our surroundings, all the thought and love that goes into the creation around us, as well as the amazing bespoke manmade creations we find. Anything bespoke and natural.
- We're living in a great time for design. Can you tell us a little more about your amazing sunnies?
Our products are made from quality natural products. Wood is salvaged from unused offcuts from local furniture manufactures and repurposed, rather than buying new products. Recycling in this way reduces the wastage of our earth's resources.
Every part of the making process is done by hand using small hand-oriented machinery as opposed to the large scale CNC milling or laser cutting done by most companies.
Every pair is hand cut on a scroll saw, something that takes a lot of patience and coordination, but makes the outcome is a truly hand crafted product. The cutting process also ensures that each piece is unique and easily customisable.
We use the highest quality hinges available as well as quality polarized lenses - all come standard with your pair of Krafts.
- And is there a story behind the style names?
As a Durbanite, born and bred, I really love this underrated city. There is so much talent coming out of this place. All our models are named after old street names and landmarks, as a homage to this wonderful and colourful city . With my product I hope to lend to the pool of talent coming out of this awesome place.