Q & A with Jeff Press of Morgenthal Frederics.
Morgenthal Frederics buffalo horn frames are handcrafted in Germany from multiple layers of genuine Asian water buffalo horn. Each horn displays unique natural colorations, which allows Morgenthal Frederics to create frames that are truly one of a kind. These distinctively natural striations and the material’s lightweight quality make horn frames both exceptionally beautiful and comfortable to wear.
How long have you been working in the eyewear business?
I began in the industry in 1996, as a sales associate, became a licensed optician, then the buyer for Morgenthal Frederics, and in 2003, began assisting Mr. Morgenthal with the design of the collection, in 2006, I became the lead designer, when Mr. Morgenthal retired.
What drew you to the industry?
I moved to NYC, to pursue music, and knew I wanted to be in a creative place. Eyewear gave me the ability to pair fashion with functionality in a medium that has real opportunity to be specialized. I love the fact that eyewear is small, and the precision workmanship can be done at such a high level.
What is so special about Buffalo Horn as a material for eyewear?
For me, the perfect eyewear, is eyewear that is not only the most beautiful, but also the most comfortable. The lightness and elegance of buffalo horn, makes this ideal a reality. In addition, horn is truly a one of a kind experience, because the material is natural, creating something this unique is truly my pleasure.
How long does it take to make one pair of Buffalo Horn glasses?
Each pair takes approximately 4 months to produce, handled by artisans in Germany. Most designs take a year or more from concept to sales floor.
Where does the horn come from?
Asian water buffalo is what is utilized, and then it is milled in Germany in the finest factory in the world.
How many pairs of glasses do you have?
Not exactly sure, but a few, as I believe eyewear is the most wardrobe transforming accessory there is. I probably rotate 30 or 40 different pairs, imagine if I had a prescription (I don’t, they are all clear)
Do you have an icon when it comes to glasses/sunglasses- perhaps who wore them best?
Dylan in his Wayfarers, 1965, huge hair and epic coolness. My favorite sunglass shot in history.
What's the value of "hand crafted/ Hand made" in today's commercial landscape?
The quality and comfort of real handcrafted product is so special. With the market flooded with people selling product on the cheap and pretending it is the same, the key is putting them on your face, the difference is obvious. It seems amazing to me, that when I was a kid, glasses were perhaps the biggest chore, but today there is beautiful product that looks great and feels great and makes people love their eyewear, if it isn’t handcrafted and comfortable, then the look becomes less cool.
How many sunglasses do you take with you on holiday?
It’s funny, I went away for 2 days last week, and had 8 eyeglass cases, plus what I was wearing, but I think maybe this was excessive, hmm., maybe not.
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