The Sneaker Freaker crew rolled deep at the Australian launch of new sunglasses brand IVI (pronounced 'eye-vee') Vision last night, sucking down plenty of yeasty sherbets, losing all portion control on trays of hors d'oeuvres and shoveling a few artistic display macarons down the hatch. We had fun trying on the new range of sun specs that will be hitting our shores this summer too – the brand shows a lot of promise and we'll be following their rise closely. One key part of IVI's vision (pun) is using respected and talented famous folk to not only hawk the goods, but help create them. The first to sign up was none other than Keith Hufnagel, the godfather of weed leaf socks and a star shredder. We stole a plate of chicken tacos from a waitress and lured the man in for a quick chat about his involvement with IVI...
SF: Hey Chief Keith, you enjoying soaking up the rain rays here in grey skied Melbourne?
Werd berd. Let's talk turkey, and by turkey I mean sunglasses. IVI have been working with a team of ambassadors to get things kicking early, it's an interesting tactic to put people at the front of the product rather than babin' models straight off the bat. How did you get involved with this whole thang?
Rob Dyrdek is behind it, and we used to be on the same skate team together. His office is three blocks from mine, so we see each other a lot. I think he really likes what I've been doing with HUF, so he proposed that I be an ambassador for IVI. I'm on the tail end with my skateboarding career, I'm not performing like I used to. It's cool for me to do other stuff. I liked the way IVI were going about it, they're not making cheap shit. There's multiple styles in the line too. I created the classic chill guy one, called 'The Standard'. I'm not a flashy guy, I want the mellow stuff, so this is perfect.
True. You run a successful brand yourself, did you think about just making sunglasses yourself with HUF?
At the moment I just can't do it. We're focusing on so many other elements of the brand, I don't want to saturate what we're doing. Sunglasses may be something we do down the line, but right now we're focussed on apparel and footwear. If we're gonna do sunglasses, we're gonna do it right, so we just want to be involved with something cool right now. Maybe IVI will help HUF do something later on, who knows?
The model you created is called 'The Standard', it recalls the Wayfarer somewhat, but there's obvious differences. How did you come up with this design?
I had these sunglasses, they weren't Wayfarers, they were another style. I came in and said, 'This is what I want, but a little wider and a little different. Me and the designer, Jerome, worked on it and he brought it to life.
I saw the 'Rasperstripe' and 'Amberstripe' HUF colab models you released. The patterns on them are pretty crazy, I heard there's a pretty mad story behind the acetates used...
Dude, that shit's insane. It's all vintage. That stuff will never be around again, and we're using up what we can and putting it into the glasses. Some of the big, big high end brands use that stuff. This acetate is from the 70s and 80s, it's all deadstock. It's really cool, if you saw the stuff and understood the quality you'd think, 'Damn this is amazing'. We put the product out to market and it did decent, then over time it did really well. We're at a higher price point, so selling online is hard – people got really interested in it when they could touch and feel it and see how good it is.
Comfy. You got anything more planned with IVI in the future?
Definitely. I'm opening a HUF retail store in February. We shut all our stores down but we're reopening in LA, and we'll have special glasses in store in the first few months of opening.