In the South we’re guaranteed sunshine 90 percent of the year, which means you need a killer pair of sunglasses on your person at all times to beat the rays. Enter KREWE du optic, the made-in-New Orleans line of shades all the cool kids are sporting in the Crescent City.
Founded this year by artist Stirling Barrett, KREWE offers 22 styles of trés-chic sunglasses in classic shapes and hues. Stirling gave us the skinny on his new line and the city he calls home.
What makes your shades so cool?
The lenses are the highest quality, imported from Carl Zeiss in Germany. The acetate is all Mazzucchelli from Italy—it’s a plant-based material so it’s really sturdy while still malleable enough to be heat-molded to your face. The frames are handmade in small batches, so you won’t get any “lemons,” and it’s not sitting in a warehouse with thousands of other frames.
Why did you create KREWE?
Because we live in the “Third Coast” and in the middle of the sun belt. There is a distinct fashion sense in New Orleans and a sense of style that resonates throughout the South, but people always look to L.A. or New York for the latest styles—I’m trying change that dynamic.
Is the name a nod to Mardi Gras?
There is a Mardi Gras connection, but it’s slight. A krewe in New Orleans culture are people that ride together in a parade to pass a good time together and bring joy to the parade-goers. I wanted to take that idea of “people coming together to have a good time and enjoy themselves” to help create the culture of KREWE, the company.
Who is wearing KREWE du Optic?
The KREWE customer is very casual in their character. They don’t look like one specific person, but rather someone that’s totally comfortable with their style and chooses KREWE because it compliments them and speaks to their personal aesthetic. They wear the frames, the frames don’t wear them.
What celeb (dead or alive) would you love to see in a pair of KREWEs?
I love Ellen DeGeneres! Her sense of humor is the best. And Marlon Brando as “Stanley” in A Streetcar Named Desire is so New Orleans, so classic. The raw energy he has in that character is tangible.
OK now tell us about NOLA, what do locals think is the best new restaurant in town?
Cane & Table in the French Quarter. The whole fish is incredible and they make a darn good cocktail.
Who are three local creatives whose work you admire?
Zack Smith, who is the official photographer for Jazz Fest. Ben Bullins—a sculpture artist that uses objects he’s found to create really unique and interesting pieces. The Generationals, because I love their music.
We’re giving away two pairs of KREWE’s unisex glasses: The Calli*ope in grey and The Toulouse in champagne. Tell us where you’ll be wearing your sunnies to this fall for a chance to win! Official rules here.