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Why eyewear?

I started at Boots opticians as a ‘Saturday boy’ at 16, having thought “well this is an alright career”. Back in the day the Optometrists had a right old time - they drove Mercedes, they planned their own diaries, decided when they were going into work and I thought “I want to go down that route”.... and then it all changed!

My favourite part was the customer interaction and communicating with people, as opposed to sitting in an office. I am actually a qualified Dispensing Optician and I’m a qualified Optometrist, so that’s where my career path started. I left Boots, having developed myself through Boots Careers and that’s when I opened my first store.

In 2014, Peter and Jeremy, the original owners of Booth and Bruce were looking to sell and as we sold their products it just happened really naturally. I never would have thought this was something I would see myself doing, and I would have happily been an Optometrist all my life, but then life presents you with these opportunities and then you get put on a massive learning curve!

Which Booth & Bruce frames are your favourite and why?

It’s always the next one to come out. When the frames arrive from the factory it’s like Christmas, and we unbox everything, unwrap them all, and try them on.

Something you saw today that inspired you?

Commuters on the underground. Going up and down the escalators and sitting on the tube at rush hour you literally have got hundreds of people washing past you. You can take in what they’re wearing, what they’re like, their styles and trends, and you can see things developing and changing over time. Just literally open your eyes and see what is going on around you.

 

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What words would describe your creative process?

Random. Sleep-based. Reminiscing. Things that I design remind me of something.

What’s your best way to get creative unstuck?

Write things down. I always have a pad of paper and a pencil and am always doodling, or drawing or writing.

What fictional character would you like to see wearing Booth & Bruce and why?

I guess I should say someone quintessentially English like James Bond, but I’m not going to. (sic. We decided to put this in anyway) I’d say Wilhelmina Slater from Ugly Betty. Because she is a fashion ICON. In her own right. In her own programme. I love her.

What’s your favourite place in London?

Green Park in the summer.

What’s the inspiration behind your new collection?

For the opticals I’d say nature and Scandinavian vibes but still keeping a Booth and Bruce slant on things with colours and textures. With the sunglasses the inspiration comes from characters that I can see in my head that I want to design sunglasses for. So “Farrah”, 1970s, film-star, big hair etc. “Flawless” - the girl who always looks perfect. “Explorer”, I wanted to design a pair of sunglasses based around the sort of goggles that North-Pole explorers would have worn - like Scott of the Antarctic.

 

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What career advice would you give your 18 year-old self?

Don’t worry about the A-Levels. I flunked them. I got a D, 2 E’s and Nil. That meant I couldn’t go straight to optometry school. It’s one of the reasons I went round the back way and became a DO etc. and it did not hold me back.

Describe 100% Optical in 3 words.

Bigger every year!

What can we expect to see from Booth & Bruce this year in 3 words.

More fashionable eyewear.

What’s the last photo on your phone?

8 year old me, with my family in short shorts.

 

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Who is your favourite eyewear designer that's not you?

Modo. Simple design, clean and elegant, commercial.

Who is your eyewear fashion role model?

Iris Apfel. I know it’s an obvious one but she is just embracing eyewear and running with it.

What’s the most inspirational place you’ve ever been?

I spent my 40th birthday night in the outback of Australia having a guided tour of the solar system. It was literally pitch black, no lights whatsoever no light pollution and you could see three galaxies beyond our own. It was phenomenal. It makes you feel like a little spec. It gives you some life perspective.