Workwear has long fascinated Heron Preston. He made uniform into high. fashion by collaborating with the New York Department of Sanitation in 2016, and says that real life construction workers make up part of his consumer base - trousers and jackets for A/W 21 even featured industrial fire-retardant fabric. It's no surprise then, that when faced with the designer, artist, and DJ's first collaboration with South Korean eyewear label Gentle Monster, the handy man's tool bag springs to mind.
The San Francisco born designer Preston has worked for Nike and Kanye West, is currently making magic at Calvin Klein, and has collaborated with Virgil Abloh, NASA and Carhatt. Turning his hand to sunglasses, Gentle Monster make a wise fit. Having teamed up with the likes of Xander Zhou, Marine Serre and Ambush in the past, the label's campaigns and products always challenge convention and are distinctly future-facing in their aesthetic. 'They understand how to connect through culture and arts in the most authentic ways and so working with them made me feel confident that they would be able to carry out my vision', Preston said in a statement.
Available in three different colourways, Preston's workwear-inspired design features a level in the acetate frame - it's exactly the sort of glass tube you'd expect to find in a piece of industrial tool kit, used to indicate whether a surface is horizontal. 'The level was first introduced in the collections as a heel on our women's boot. Given the success and excitement around that idea we challenged ourselves to think of other ways the level could be applied across different product categories. The shape and construction of sunglasses is the perfect platform for this idea. The horizontal line that creates the temple on the side of the glasses directly relates to the line of a level. It was the perfect fit', Preston explained of the unusual quirk.
The arms of the glasses are finished in the deep orange distinct to Preston's brand, together with their logo, and come packaged in a worker's yellow box, more suggestive of an industrial ruler than high fashion shades. Wearer's are warned to handle with care: this product plastered with clever logo placement, is authentic! Unveiled by two digitally rendered bionic models, fans better get to work if they fancy a pair. Heron Preston x Gentle Monster launches today, 29 July 2021.