Ahlem Eyewear’s new NoLIta location opened just two weeks before the Covid-19 shutdown. But, thankfully, the crisis was the first hurdle for the brand, shares founder Ahlem Manai-Platt.
“We know we are going to get out of this so strong. I am happy and lucky to say I haven’t had any [bumps in the road] in six years since creating Ahlem,” shares the Parisian-born, Los Angeles-based designer in Eyecare Business x Vision Expo’s recent virtual EYE2EYE Series with members of the edCFDA (eyewear designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America). “I take this as a resume of all of the bumps I could have had the last six years.”
And, she has a lot to be optimistic about: The NoLIta store recently won an NYCxDESIGN award from Interior Design magazine (see more in ICYMI).
Plus, Ahlem Eyewear is keeping busy. After the Covid-19 shutdown, 25% of its eyewear purchases went to the No Kid Hungry organization, and the company recently launched its Reframed Program, a sustainability initiative that puts money in customers’ pockets toward a new pair of glasses.
Here, we ask the cheerful luxury designer nine timely questions. —Kerri Ann Raimo
Your optical heroes?
The craftsmen and women who handcraft each pair of our glasses.
Best activity to find calm?
Most treasured eyewear style in your wardrobe?
Champ de Mars! This is my go-to frame.
Advice for fashion/eyewear designers following the Covid-19 crisis?
Constant communication is key. Believe and trust that you could move forward. As entrepreneurs, we have created things through the strength of ideas and passion. It is this extraordinary strength that will lead us to surpass ourselves and move beyond this crisis.
The song playing in the soundtrack to your life?
“Dance With Me” –Nouvelle Vague
Favorite upcoming eyewear trend?
Cat-eye style for women. Big and bold style for men.
Your most distinct characteristic?
What drew you to a career in eyewear?
I used to collect glasses when I was 5 years old, so it’s something that has been with me forever.
Greatest source of inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by the work of my favorite artists and architects.
TRENDING VIDEO EB x Vision Expo’s EYE2EYE Series
Ahlem Manai-Platt + three other designers took part in EB x Vision Expo’s EYE2EYE Series on the state of the luxury eyewear market amid Covid-19. Watch the panel, moderated by EB Editor-in-Chief Erinn Morgan, here.