rag & bone CEO, Founder + Creative Director Marcus Wainwright sits down with EB to discuss his passion for eyewear plus his wildly popular brand’s new collection with Safilo

By Erinn Morgan

Marcus Wainwright.


Helmed today by British transplant Marcus Wainwright, the label was founded in 2002 with a laser focus on dedication to craftsmanship, innovation, and timeless style. In fact, when launching the brand, Wainwright spent 18 months in a jeans factory in Kentucky learning the craft.

This vision has earned the brand millions of fans, including celebrities and models around the globe—with goods from clothing and denim to footwear and fragrance sold in 38 rag & bone stores as well as boutiques and department stores in 53 countries.

Here, Wainwright chats with EB on everything from the new rag & bone eyewear collection with Safilo to his favorite specs look of the moment.

Read on for an inside look at the rag & bone world…

EYECARE BUSINESS: What is the heart + soul of rag & bone—and why is eyewear a natural progression?

MARCUS WAINWRIGHT: It’s an interesting world out there…I think the focus on authenticity and craftsmanship and quality is crucial. rag & bone represents a lifestyle that a lot of people can really relate to—it’s not about blaring logos.

We’re a brand that prides ourselves on having stores that you can go into and create a whole wardrobe—I think that eyewear is a key component of that.

EB: How is the soul of rag & bone evident in the eyewear collection?

MW: We wanted to focus, first and foremost, on the quality and the craftsmanship and the authenticity of the product. So, the hinge and the materialization was a huge focus, along with making sure that there were some iconic pieces. Also, we didn’t want ‘rag & bone’ all over everything. We wanted something subtle that didn’t scream ‘brand,’ but yet was recognizable.

I think the eyewear—it’s an industrial product. That kind of thing personally resonates with me.

EB: What drew you to work with Safilo for the rag + bone eyewear collection?

MW: We’d been exploring eyewear for a long time and we had a lot of offers, but Safilo was just the right one for us. When we met the designer and the team, they understood what we were trying to do with the eyewear. I think they went mega-monster in their approach to things. And, Safilo is big enough to have the weight and distribution of other companies, but not so big with so many brands that we wouldn’t feel important to them.

EB: Please tell us about the eyewear campaign with actress Kate Bosworth and her husband, director Michael Polish (images shown here).

MW: We just sent Kate and Michael a bag of glasses and a bag of clothes, and they could do literally whatever they wanted—it was all shot on Michael’s Leica by Michael and Kate. I think there’s an authenticity to the images there that you don’t normally see in eyewear advertising. We wanted to do something different. I didn’t want it to feel like another high-end brand product shot; as beautiful as they are, they’re all kind of the same. That was the approach to this, which I guess is relevant.

EB: If you had to pick a favorite child in the collection—is there anything that sort of stands out for you personally?

MW: One of my favorites is one of the optical frames—a retro square in thick [acetate]. [rag & bone style RNB 7006]

EB: Beyond the eyewear collection, what unique projects are on the horizon at rag & bone?

MW: We have a camera—I can’t say who it’s with—but we have a camera that is coming out, which is exciting.

Images from the rag & bone eyewear collection campaign