Last month, we were kindly invited to check out Gok’s gorgeous new range of retro glasses for Specsavers and meet the man (or in our book the legend!) himself.
We were a little nervous to meet Gok. As someone we love so much on screen, we were worried in the flesh he wouldn’t live up to our expectations, but as we say hello, we realise Gok is exactly as you imagine, cheeky, chatty and incredibly sincere and humble. He talks ALOT, but purely because he is so incredibly passionate about what he does. He is also very funny, and makes a good joke. Like the one he made mid photo…
What was your main inspiration behind the collection?
It was really the 1940’s, 1050’s and 1960’s, that’s where I started to feel the inspiration for them and in the end I designed four or five hundred pairs, trying to get them right. At first they told me I could only have 20 pairs but I bullied them so I could have 30 in the collection. Obviously this was a debut collection and Specsavers have the biggest market share of glasses wearers in the UK, so I really felt the pressure to offer something for everyone, so it’s a splatter of trend-led styles and vintage. Next season we’ll look at what sold well and update them and add in more up to date trends. I treated the whole process like designing a fashion collection, it took forever!
Of all the endorsements you must get offered, why did you choose Specsavers?
Well Specsavers came to me. It was over 4 years ago and they wanted me to be an ambassador for the brand. I love glasses, I always have and now that the celebs have started wearing them with pride, I’ve been able to incorporate them into my looks. When I was first on TV 7 years ago, I wore a pair of white glasses and they became quite synonymous with the brand and the way I looked, so it seems like the perfect match, they do great charity work, they’re afford able and I’m all about choice and not having to splash cash to look good. I don’t know anywhere else in the world where you can get two pairs of well made, ethically sourced stylish glasses for £100.
The range is unisex. Do you prefer designing for men or women?
Oh it’s really hard. When I first started I only did womenswear, I wasn’t very comfortable with menswear and after a period of styling for lots of bands and men’s mags, I kind of learned to design for men, it’s very disciplined, very different from designing for women. Until a year ago, I’d never even drawn a pair of glasses, and suddenly I’m drawing hundreds of pairs trying to work it out and I didn’t really think about gender or sexuality, it was just about what I thought looked attractive and the kind of styles I liked, but I think that’s going to change as my glasses develop more as a brand, but at the moment I’m kind of impartial. But designing glasses is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
How did you know the Gok brand was ready for glasses?
You know what I didn’t, not until today and I was really really worried about it. I’ve worked with lots of established brands where people want their glasses in every magazine one month and then the next no-one’s interested, so even with these kinds of brands you never know how people are going to respond to it. But I worry that people will look at it and think, does he have the knowledge, what gives him the credentials to design glasses, am I going to invest £100 of my money on something he’s designed, you just don’t know.
How did you start out with the technical drawings for the range?
I started by drawing an entire outfit, that’s why it took me so long. I’m a stylist by nature so I would draw the silhouette and then style the hair and draw the dress and then I’d add the glasses and that was the only way I could do it, because it’s been what I’d been comfortable with. But over the months as I got more confident, the drawing got better and I’d be able to draw them by themselves.
Do you think wearing glasses is really going to take off as a trend over the next few years?
Do you know I think so, glasses have been around for decades, hence why I took my inspiration for the past, but fashionistas will accept anything as an accessory, we’re like magpies and I think the tide has changed and we’re starting to see glasses as an accessory, at the moment if you open up any magazine the first 20 ad pages for designers, every campaign has glasses in it and I think that’s going to help glasses become more mainstream than they ever have before.
Are we going to see any of your glasses on Gok’s Clothes Roadshow next season?
You know I always say to the women I makeover who wear glasses, do you want me to source you some glasses to go with your look, but often the answer is that they want to wear their contact lenses. I’ve got a long way to go with convincing my girls to try glasses for eveningwear, but personally I never feel dressed without them, I’ve gone out without glasses before and I hate it, I lose my confidence and I can’t make eye contact with people.
What’s your favourite personal pair?
It’s a pair I found in my mum’s medicine cabinet when I was 16, and they belonged to my dad, they were square black and made of bone and back in the 1960’s my dad was a very stylish guy, he bought all his suits from Saville Row, he was dapper! And I used to wear them but the prescription was so strong I couldn’t see where I was going. And they’ll always be my favourite, because they were my dad’s.
If you could style any celeb and have them wear your range who would it be?
You know I’ve been lucky enough in my career that I’ve dressed most of the people that I set out to dress, and I suppose if there was one overall person I’d love to dress I guess it would have been Lauren Hutton, because she is incredible looking and is just one of the best models ever, so unique. And maybe SJP, and I told her as well, but I think she was like, ‘who the hell are you?’ but from a style point of view she’s fantastic in what she wears, so it would be a great challenge.
What’s your next creative challenge?
Oh my god! I’m always looking for the next challenge but right now who knows!
Finally, we had a customer at Benefit just yesterday who came in at 9am, first thing after she’d seen Gok’s Clothes Roadshow the evening before and told one of our Benebabes, ‘I need you to make me over! I’ve got make-up this morning, hair at lunch and this afternoon I’m going shopping for a new wardrobe, I’ve written down all Gok’s tips! ‘Is it stories like that keep you doing what you do?
Yeah, that was my mum! You know what I’m in a really lucky position, and I love what I do, I will stand up in a boxing ring against anyone who says style and appearance isn’t important because you should be able to feel good about yourself and I think what’s happened with How to Look good Naked and Fashion Fix is that it’s opened up these kind of things to people to make them feel included and now everyone has the option to be able to express themselves creatively with fashion and beauty.
At Benefit we know that for a glasses wearers eye make-up is oh so important! So our intern Hannah, grabbed her favourite pair of Gok’s glasses and we worked her up a gorgeous eye look to match the pair!
To give your make your eyes pop behind the frames, we concentrated on defining Hannah’s eyes and using eyeshadow colour that enhance her eye colour to make it pop from behind the lens.
To get the look, we used, Stay Dont Stray for extra wear, Birthday Suit Cream Shadow as a base colour, using Punk Royalty Lust Duster on the outer corners and in the eye socket. This combination helped Hannah’s green eyes to stand out. If you have brown eyes, try Like What You See Velvet Shadow, or for blue eyes try Big Daddy Lust Duster.
To give her definition we used Magic Ink to create a cat’s eye flick on the top lid and Bad Gal Waterproof Liner on the lower lash line. Finally we finished Hannah’s look with a coat of Bad Gal Lash and a touch of Erase Paste!
Gok Wan’s range for Specsavers is available now in 30 styles from all Specsaver stores and at www.specsavers.co.uk