Marc Battipaglia (above, left) and Andres Beker (above, right) sunglasses line, Wild Soul, brings together two of the designers' passions: fashion and philanthropy.
Wild Soul sunglasses are named after enchanting, untamed animals: the lion, the owl, the elephant and the rhino. And keeping in tune with the essence of nature, each pair is available in earthy colors like sand, tortoise, emerald, and more. Wild Soul was created on the premise that there are causes greater than our own that can and must be supported, which is why when you buy a pair of Wild Soul sunglasses, a portion of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice (charities are listed on thewildsoul.com and range from organizations that support health, education, and environmental issues).
Style and philanthropy? Now that's a way to celebrate National Sunglasses Day. Read on for a full Q&A with Andres Beker of Wild Soul.
What made you decide to launch an eyewear line?
An incredible force from within that evolved progressively; initially a passion that grew quickly into an obsession.
What inspires your designs?
Since I can remember, I have been a fan of nature. I have always debated that humans, as an integral part of nature, should embrace their wild side and get in touch with the world around them. I have done my best to stay close to my own beliefs; through travel and adventure I have been fortunate to see more than most, and yet, the more I see the more I realize how little I have experienced. So the way I give homage to nature is by taking the details from what I have seen and including them into my designs.
What is the most important thing you think about when designing a pair of sunglasses?
Because our designs are all based on animals, we go through a pretty crazy design process. The first step is to sketch the animal at least 10 to 15 times before we even go into the designing of the frames. We try to look for specific details in those sketches that can translate into details on the frames. We also make sure to bring a new feature to the sunglasses world, instead of the basic stereotypical frames.
The concept alludes to the bond between two very eminent qualities of human beings; one being the instinctive and untamed, and the other being the emotional and spiritual. The ultimate challenge is to be able to find balance between the two and link both sides.
What was the inspiration behind deciding to donate a portion of proceeds to charity?
Giving, and simply giving, is not a sustainable design for any organization. We had always looked at the multiple corporations that have “one for one” programs and for-profit companies that give back in different ways, and said to ourselves: “this is just not enough.” We wanted to give our customers the freedom of choice, giving them the ability to support the causes they cared about the most. We also focused our charitable efforts ensuring we donate something tangible rather than just money.
What has been the most exciting part of your adventure since launching Wild Soul?
The life of an entrepreneur is a roller coaster of emotion, but if I had to choose, I’d say that whenever we get pilots for new models I get a perfect mix of goose bumps, tingles, jitters, euphoria and heart attacks. It’s always an incredible feeling to see something come to life after you designed it on paper—it's almost paternal. It is very rewarding to see the finished product after having put so much time and emotion into the process.