Monday, 27 May 2013

Colin Eyes the Prize ! - Interview With Eyewear Designer, Colin Leslie (Part 2)

(Here's Part 2 of Divasdelite's exclusive interview with Colin Leslie)

DD - You're a member of the Ethical Fashion Fellowship 500. Can you tell us more about the Fellowship?

CL - The Fellowship 500 is a collective of ethical, eco and sustainable based companies and brands, who support the well-being of the planet. We all care about how and where products are made. We've elected to  make an ethical stand, by not supporting things like slave labour and mass wastage.
Being Ethical has changed so much over the years. It used to be viewed as faddy, a little hippy, but thankful things have changed. Being Ethical is fabulous just like CL glasses.

The Eco Unit.T range is made from recycled acetate frames, injected into new moulds. Sourced bamboo and drawstring dual-purpose eyewear pouches made from ...would you believe plastic drinking water bottles; that are soft enough to clean your lenses as well.

DD - What have been the toughest challenges you've faced running the business in the midst of a recession?

CL What recession ?? CL sunglasses and fashion frames have been selling like hot cakes !! Bamboo eyewear is the latest craze to hit the UK this Spring/Summer 2013. What’s cool is seeing so many celebs wearing CL #bamboo #shades and fashion frames.

We’re definitely on the rise and our biggest challenge is keeping up with the demand. Our most popular styles are the Eco Unit.T Retro ranges as seen recently on Twitter worn by UK actress Elana Di Troya.

DD - What promotional advice would you give to up and coming fashion/accessory moguls?

CL - Mogul? I’m hardly one of those yet ! I’d say I’m a guy who loves what he does at work. Advice, well I’d say I’ve used the skills of my building trade to promote my brand and I'd sum it up like this:

1. Firstly lay down the foundations.
2. Have a vision of how and where you want the brand to go.
3. Follow your ideas paths and tweak it along the way.

Pretty much the same way to building a house.

DD - Where do you see CLE in 5 years time?

CL - Hopefully CLE will become an iconic eyewear brand like Ray Bans, Oakley, Gucci and D&G. Not just because they are ethical but because they’re cool. I’ll know I’ve really done well, when I can look around and see copies of my glasses, when I’m on holiday.

DD - You have a fabulous array of celebrities wearing your eyewear and I read a great endorsement of your glasses from Alicia Silverstone on her ‘The Kind Life’ blog. For all of those up and coming designers out there, how did you manage to snag them?

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that Alicia Silverstone had mentioned me on her “The Kind Life” blog. I have always been a big fan of Alicia's since Clueless. It felt amazing to get a thumbs up from her.

It’s so exciting watching CL grow and encouraging to see how it’s been embraced by celebrities, who of course are such a great way to promote the brand.

Social networks have made it a lot easier to contact celebrities, so I tend to try and go direct to the celebrity or their management. I’m passionate about CLE and it’s great to see that being picked up by customers and celebrities alike.

DD - What's been the biggest break in your designer career so far?

Luckily for CLE there’s been quite a few. Being approached by “Dragons Den” in the early days of CLE. Reaching the semi final in the Barclays Bank “Take One Small Step” 2010 for a chance to win £50,000 out of 3000 companies across the UK.

I loved showcasing CLE at LFW2011 and landing our first celeb “Olly Murs” , who wore our glasses at Heart FM. There’s nothing quite like the buzz I get from seeing a customer or celebrity in our bamboo sunglasses!

But CLE’s biggest break, that has to getting into the Brits Awards 2013 gift bags. That was massive for us in terms of exposure and working with such a high profile event.

CL was named as an official gift bag sponsor. This led to the brand receiving global exposure on various news reports, blogs and media including the likes of GQ , Hello and OK. We even contributed to website reports in China, Thailand and Indonesia. It was crazy, but a lot of fun.

DD - Name 3 websites that you can’t get through the day or week without looking at?

CL- I use Facebook and Twitter daily, to checkout news, trends, up and coming actors, music artists and of course celebrities who I think would look great in CL. My last website definitely has to be “Ethical fashion Forum”

If you’re an ethical brand or a designer looking to get noticed, or just grow your brand, then this is an essential site for you. They have endless lists of members, from product photographers, media, bloggers, retailers and other industry contacts.

DD - Name the most remote place in the world, someone has placed an order for your glasses from?

CL - Good question. The most remote place I have sent my glasses to is Brazil. They was the Gunsmoke silver Aviators – they’re very smart looking glasses :0) It’s quite satisfying knowing that the CL website has now reached almost 23K visitors, including Brazil :0)

DD - What’s next for CL?

CL - We want to keep growing the business and continue to make our customers happy.  Also I’d love to work with the Brits again after such a great experience this year; and then maybe BAFTA, the Grammys and the Oscars.
Buy It: Colin Leslie glasses at :
Follow: Twitter - @Colinleslie01 / Facebook - :

As well as granting me an exclusive interview, Colin has very kindly provided me with a pair of his gorgeous designer sunglasses, as the prize for an exclusive Twitter competition.

Before your designer hearts burst with excitement, the good stuff doesn’t just stop there, oh yes there’s more ! Colin will also put you on his facebook banner AND the the front of his website for a whole month. Now if that isn't a great competition prize, then I don't know what is :0)

What do you have to do - On Saturday 1st June (not before) head on over to Twitter @Colinleslie01 and @divasdelite and RT the competiton tweet to win. Colin will be picking the lucky winer on Friday 7th June.

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