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An eye for perfection

The best materials and best production available has brought value-based high-end eyewear brand Oscar Magnuson to the top of their game.

Words Johan Magnusson
Photography Felix Swensson

The fact that Oscar Magnuson grew up in a home rich on contemporary art, color, and design, he says triggered his early interest for the creative arts. 

— In my early twenties I left Sweden for Italy to follow my interest in design. I ended up staying there for five years and came back with a bachelor in Industrial design and a newly discovered passion for eyewear design.

He founded his eponymous eyewear label in 2006 together with his old friend and art director Patrik Segerström, who remains his business partner.

— After a couple of years of experimenting we had a clear idea that we wanted to combine our passion for art, music and design with the unique Scandinavian values; simplicity, equality and sustainability. We brought it all together under our own umbrella and decided to expand, launching the brand across Europe in 2013.

To be able to sell their concept to the best boutique opticians in Europe, they set up a bunch of ”rules” that they had to follow. They included a very simple temple profile and six monochrome colours.

— Simplicity and monochrome became our signature style and still is, Magnuson explains. I think the modern view on gender here in Scandinavia gave us a special look that differed from our competitors. We started to mix shapes with colors, creating a modern look of classical styles. Our style is always contemporary, balanced and wearable but never boring and we try to keep out of classical male or female shapes.

After a few years of pushing the design boundaries, the brand was open to create stronger concepts — yet within the design ”rules” — and launched the first line of sunglasses. With so many brands on the market, Oscar Magnuson comes back to the Scandinavian values when I ask how the company stands out.

— We reflect them in all our choices, all the way from how we design and communicate, to the materials we work with and where we choose to produce. These things together have created a niche for us in the market. We are the Scandinavian high-end choice for the modern person. We feel that young people in Europe see these values clearly in our design and they love it. For them, we represent something modern and pure. They love our simplicity and appreciate the high level of production, Magnuson says.

When it comes to production he is all about perfection, only working with the best materials and the best producers. That includes the highest level of Italian acetate available, which is also the only one being completely oil free and biodegradable. And after Oscar’s years of studying in Italy the choice of production country was natural.

— As the frames are handmade, a good relationship with the artisans is key to reach the high level of perfection I am striving for. I speak Italian and travel to the factory very often to speak to the people involved in the many steps of the production. If the people producing your frames do not care about you they do not care about the final product. The Italians are passionate people with a great sensibility for quality and design. If you show them that you care about their work they will give everything back.

The mentioned list of rules apparently worked out well, as Oscar Magnuson is now working with the best boutique opticians across Europe, in cities like Berlin, Paris, and Vienna.

— We think it is important that our retailers have a high level of knowledge of not only frames but also lens technology. The only fashion retailer we are working with is Antonioli in Milan. That is simply because they have a very strong sense of avant-garde design and we are extremely proud to be part of their offering.

What are the highlights in this spring collection?

— All our sunglasses are fitted with monochrome lenses of high precision optical glass. The key styles all have a very graphical dark look, tone in tone, lenses and color of acetate. This is our signature style. This season we have taken our design cues from the post punk era of 80s and 90s with its low and sleek but sharp profiles. They all have a futuristic look and to push the design and concept even further this year, we also decided to express our simplicity in a new way: as a homage to this cool time era, we’re releasing all our new styles in a ”Storm White” colour offering.

Eyewear designer Oscar Magnuson in the company warehouse.
Model Sid in colour Urban Green from the new line of sunglasses.
Model Deckard in Toga Red.