Going one-on-one with designer Niki Takesh.
If you’ve spent any time on Instagram this summer, you will no doubt have stumbled across the sunglasses of the season: Takesh eyewear, founded by 25-year-old artist-cum-designer Niki Takesh.
The kitschy-but-cute Lolita-esque sunglasses—which come in five different shades from baby blue and red to rose-tinted lenses—are like a modern reinterpretation of the classic cat-eye lens, (something that’s been a signature of Takesh’s for years). “I’ve always had a thing for sunglasses,” says Takesh, who’s put her frames on the faces of all her BFF’s already (Paloma Elsesser, Ruby and Lily Aldridge, and Atlanta de Cadanet Taylor), “I just really wanted sunglasses that were unattainable or nonexistent.”
After years spent mulling over the idea of starting a sunglasses brand—but not wanting to depend on third-party investors—Takesh worked “an insane amount of odd jobs” and put the sunglasses on the backburner, choosing to carve out the concept properly during her spare time. A critical move that she says, in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise, “I just think thank god I waited until I was responsible enough to handle a business.”
Having launched the brand quietly on July 27, with no big campaign in place and just an Instagram page and an e-shop, Takesh eyewear has become an overnight social media sensation. “It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t hard. It just naturally kind of flowed and trickled onto social media before I was even really ready,” she says, “doing this all on my own has been the only challenge. I’m juggling six different positions but that’s how it is when you start a company.” And the hard work paid off. Within less than a month, with no real wholesale plans, Takesh eyewear has already been picked up by Opening Ceremony, ” I honestly didn’t care about having retailers and figured that I’d deal with that part later on, but when I envisioned this brand, Opening Ceremony was the fantasy. I met with them on Wednesday and they were in the store by Friday.”
They often say ‘turn your passion into profit’, and with Takesh, her obsession has always been sunglasses. With a personal collection that’s in the hundreds, Takesh has long-been an avid collector of ’50s cat-eye glasses. “I’m trying to think back as to why I love that shape so much. For literally 10 years I wore cat-eye wing tip liquid eyeliner so maybe that has something to do with it? But regardless, I just never felt right in other shapes. Most of the ones I’ve collected are totally un-wearable and used as display. I’ve even got some in their original packaging with a ’98 Cents’ price tag.”
Having worked with several different artistic mediums—from styling to creative direction—Takesh says she considers sunglasses to be more than a fashion object. “I like to look at the sunglasses as pieces of art or a medium of some sort. I want to collaborate with friends and artists to make their dream pair of sunglasses,” she says before stipulating that she isn’t just talking about brands or traditional fashion collaborations. “I want to collaborate with Amanda Bynes on a comedic short so I’m just going to put that out there.”
For more information or to order a pair visit takesheyewear.com.