Los Angeles, California
Recognized as one of the preeminent designers in eyewear today, Blake Kuwahara founded Los Angeles-based FOCUS GROUP WEST (FGW) in 2009. In Spring 2015, Kuwahara debuted his eponymous eyewear collection expressing his own distinctive aesthetic sensibilities and “artful but wearable” design ethos. The fusing of two distinctive silhouettes through a proprietary lamination process creates a deliberate design tension and have already become a signature look. After an academic career that included a Doctorate of Optometry degree with High Honors from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Psychobiology with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude distinctions from UCLA, Kuwahara went on to first work as an optometrist in a private practice in Manhattan Beach, CA. Kuwahara’s bold experimentation has gained him a following in the fashion media and has been profiled in Vogue, ELLE, Bazaar, GQ and the Wall Street Journal, and has been seen on E!, MTV, and CNN. Buzz magazine voted Kuwahara one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles” and Detour magazine called him, “a gifted talent, blessed with savvy and unmistakable sense of style.” Shortly after founding FGW, Kuwahara was named by Brilliant Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important People in the Eyewear Industry”.
Kuwahara is also a longstanding member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and is on the Executive Board of the Eyewear Designers of the CFDA.
A celebrity favorite, Kuwahara’s designs are worn by Brad Pitt, Elton John,Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Zac Efron, Kate Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson among many others.
The creation of a single frame is a laborious process and a feat of engineering. The inner and outer silhouettes are milled as separate pieces and go through an arduous two month lamination process. Then, another six months to make the frame. Every frame goes through a complex series of cuts and polishing steps to give the outer contours nuance and dimension. It’s not just how it looks but how it feels in the hand. Each frame has a unique inner silhouette encased in an unexpectedly fresh outer shape. The output is a distillation and highly curated collection of eyewear that reflects a soulful, tactile, and artisanal sensibility. It’s artful but wearable.
Blake Kuwahara take part at the exhibition “Material and Immaterial Design” at Palazzo Grimani Museum.