Lover of negronis, Patek chronograph obsessive, patron saint of sausage dogs… Wei Koh has had a lot of sobriquets over the years. To that, the well-heeled founder of Revolution Media can now add “eyewear designer” to the list following his collaboration with Kirk Originals – an independently owned, London-based maker of premium optical and sunglasses.
Together, the two have just launched The Bandit: throwback-inspired aviators that plumb the universe of The Rake, old Paul Newman photographs, and the alpine eyewear industry for their inspiration. I have to say, personally, I’m pretty into the results.
Named (in typically sardonic fashion) after Koh’s pet dachshund, the Bandit is Kirk Originals’ riff on the ubiquitous aviator sunglass – a style we’re all bound to see an egregious number of in the months leading up to summer. Discernibly different from the cookie cutter iterations manufactured by Luxottica, the proportions of these frames are bold and exaggerated: totally befitting the sort of globetrotting, fast-driving hedonist whose bloodstream is (almost certainly) 99% Dukes Bar martinis.
According to Koh himself, one of the primary objects of the Kirk Originals x Wei Koh partnership was to create fashion accessories that could be worn over the course of an entire trip or holiday. The practical requirements then were for a design that was stylish, hard-wearing and versatile enough to wear in a range of situations – all qualities that have been effectively translated into the finished product.
The first ever eyewear style by Kirk Originals to incorporate a flexible nose piece and silicone inserts (flush with each ear tip) the Bandit can be worn while partaking in a range of strenuous outdoor activities including: skiing, cycling, sailing, and attending the weddings of people you wished you’d severed ties with years ago.
Sitting high on the wearer’s bridge with an oversized teardrop shape, the brand’s Creative Director Mark Brown opted to produce the Bandit in two variations. Both made out of Italian acetate (my guess would be Mazzucchelli) in a thick tortoiseshell treatment, in a choice of either gold or green-tinted lenses.
Wearable with all but the sportiest of activewear and suitably at home in a more tailored ensemble, you can expect these to live up to their investment-grade pricing. As is the case with Kirk Originals’ main collection, every pair of Bandit frames is bevelled, sanded and polished by hand – a process that takes place, from start to finish, in the brand’s English workshop.