• Featured Brands: Quay

    If you’ve spent any time on Instagram lately (or any fashion blogger’s site), chances are you’ve seen a pair of Quay sunglasses, whether you realized it or not. The innovative brand started small in 2004, mainly being sold roadside at festivals. The quirky designs left their mark, though, and now the brand’s sunglasses are sold at over 2000 retailers nationwide and sell out consistently across the web.

    Earlier this month, we caught up with Allen, Linda, and Zak Hammond, the team (and family!) behind the brand, at their Melbourne office to talk design, their crazy popularity, and what’s next for the innovative company.
    Lead photo by Alyssa Amelia

    Photo via @quayaustralia

    You've been designing sunglasses since 2004. Can you tell us a little bit about the beginning of your company?
    Quay was started out of our passion for music; we simply headed to events and sold a small range of our sunnies for extra income, and to enjoy live bands.

    What was your production and design process like in the beginning vs. now?
    I guess in the beginning we just started designing from gut instinct. If we saw a vintage frame we would try to write notes beside them with things like “change this, add that, remove that.” [That's how it was] until Zak taught himself how to draw frames. He began to add them to illustrator and CAD and created a visual representation to produce original frames.

    Photos via @quayaustralia

    All of your designs are so unique. What does a typical design brainstorming session look like for you guys?
    The three family members [Allen, Linda and Zak] all play a part in the design process of each frame. Let me say we don’t always agree... just like any family of three. We have a policy that 2 outvotes 1 when we can’t agree on color/finishes. For inspiration, we pull from life experience/travel and the day-to-day scenes on the streets of Melbourne, and quite often our brainstorming sessions can happen in the strangest places.

    You guys have a crazy cult following! What kind of influence do you think social media had on that following?
    I would say it is a huge part of the Quay following, and what most people don’t know is that I [Linda] run the page myself and like/comment on posts that are shared on a daily basis. I run the page alone, and all post comments are from the heart! I chose to keep running the page, because I want to keep in touch with the reason we started Quay, and I want to see people smile no matter where they are in the world. I look and love each and every selfie that is shared, and I get such a buzz seeing where in the world Quay is being worn.

    Speaking of selfies, you also have a lot of celebrities who wear your glasses. Were there any people you’ve spotted in your sunglasses that totally surprised you?
    To be honest, every celebrity spotted in Quay is a surprise for us. We never imagined when we started that such high profile people would be spotted in our sunnies.

    Photo by Alyssa Amelia

    Photo via @quayaustralia

    When did you first realize that people were really starting to respond to your sunglasses?
    Funny story! We were in Tokyo back in 2008 and we had a guy walk past us in a large, leopard print style we had designed for girls. That’s when we knew people were taking notice of Quay.

    Are there any recent styles that sold out way quicker than you anticipated?
    There are actually quite a few that constantly sell out a lot quicker than we expect. For example, Fleur, My Girl, and our new design China Doll always sell out.

    What style or “look” is currently the most popular?
    I would definitely say the contrast of a solid frame with a mirrored lens is very popular right now as I think you can play it safe but be a little adventurous at the same time. My Girl is another popular style. With that one, we played with and pushed conventional cat eye with a high revo mirrored lens. It has such a following! Each time it's online our website crashes and our retail partners generally sell out within hours of putting it online.

    Photo via @quayaustralia

    Photo by Alyssa Amelia

    You now have offices in Australia and LA. What are your favorite parts about each city?
    Our favorite part of LA has to be the weather. Like, seriously, 364 days a year it's sunny and hot (minus the one day a year it rains). For Melbourne it would have to be the laid-back culture we have. Melbourne is quite artsy, and with the downtown LA resurgence, we feel quite at home. Street art and great coffee is very common around Melbourne, much like Downtown LA.

    Be honest: How many pairs of sunglasses does everyone in the office have and wear on a daily basis?
    This is a hard question to answer. It varies on a daily basis. I would have to say Megan from our Melbourne office is the Quay addict. She now has two display stands at home to house her growing collection. Last count she had 52!

    What’s next for Quay?
    Sky's the limit! We are currently working on a new collaboration for 2016, so stay tuned!

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