While you may not be familiar with the name Velvet Canyon, chances are you've caught a glimpse of their fashionable eyewear adorning the faces of renowned celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and Emily Ratajkowski. Established in 2017 by the trio of Bec Nolan, Cass Moase, and photographer Ali Mitton, Velvet Canyon is dedicated to designing eyewear that effortlessly embodies classic style. In light of the current revival of timeless fashion, we had the opportunity to sit down with Bec Nolan to delve into the brand's origins, creative influences, and core principles.
How did the idea to start Velvet Canyon come about?
At the time, I was a designer for a clothing brand while producing and styling their photoshoots. I couldn't find the type of eyewear I was searching for — the new brands were all too bright, too modern, or too boring. The vintage styles were always just a little off, the tones weren't quite right, or the lenses were too curved. I used a collection of vintage sunglasses as the base of our first collection, updating and modernizing the shapes and creating them in our signature color palette of creamy tortoise shells and peach tones. When I saw the finished collection for the first time, I knew we had created something really special. There was really no offering like ours at the time.
What principles and values did you build the brand off of?
When we launched in late 2017, the most important thing for us was diversity within our campaigns and content, a super high-quality product, and stunning imagery. It was also very important that we were not wasteful, which meant no single-use plastics in our office or our packaging, and being very conscious of every element of our label and how we move within the world. As animal lovers, we must never include animal products; our pouches are made from luxe vegan (and biodegradable) leather.
What obstacles did you encounter when laying the foundation for the brand?
It took some time to find the right manufacturer. Our first samples were a disaster! I can't even explain how bad they were, hilariously bad, so bad that I had to laugh or I would cry. And they took seven months. I was naive and didn't think to sample with other manufacturers at the same time.
Could you describe the Velvet Canyon brand in just three words?
Timeless, indulgent, considered.
How do you define timeless eyewear designs?
I like to focus on classic shapes in neutral, soft tones rather than incorporating what I feel will be fleeting trends. At times this can feel like we're missing opportunities, but ultimately it's more important to me that our designs will be worn for years rather than falling out of style and being left in a drawer somewhere.
How do you want your customers to feel when they wear your eyewear?
I hope our sunglasses feel really special, the way luxury items should feel. I have customers who say they get complimented every time they wear them, and I love that so much.
What are your top three best sellers?
Our best seller and golden child is 'Zou Bisou,' and then the next is in a tie, so impossible to say just two: 'L'Homme,' 'Velvetines,' 'Fortune Favored,' and 'La Petite.'