Karen Walker is fast becoming known for her innovative and thought-provoking eyewear campaigns. And her latest collection, entitled Visible, is no exception.
Visible is the result of a partnership between the highly regarded designer and the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, a body that aims to create work in community groups of micro-artisans located in urban and rural areas of Kenya. In the case of this partnership, every pair of Karen Walker Eyewear sunglasses sold from the new collection, comes with a minimalist, screen-printed calico pouch made by hand by these artisans in Kenya. More embellished versions will also be available for purchase separately.
There is also an associated series of photographs which takes this partnership’s idea one step further, putting the artisans front and centre. "The images bring visibility to this place, these people and the work of the Ethical Fashion Initiative," explains Walker. These images will now grace the pages of numerous advertising campaigns for the collection.
Shot by Derek Henderson and under the creative direction of Mikhail Gherman (an advertising creative and Walker’s husband), the series of images consists of intimate portraits depicting those who work within the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative network; from machinists, production managers and metal workers, to members of the Maasai known for their intricate beading work. Additionally, the models in the campaign were paid a talent fee, and the money has been put back into the community to assist overall infrastructure.
The collection remains true to Walker’s signature aesthetic of strong shapes, exaggerated scale and bold colours. The lenses used are slightly colour-tinted and translucent, set against frames of intense turquoise, lavender and tangerine as well as the brand’s best-selling tortoiseshell.
Karen Walker Eyewear’s Summer 2014 Visible collection launches in stores February 3.