Supernormal Sunglasses / Challenging the Idea of Normality
‘Normal’ is such an abstract idea, especially then discussed from the perspective of fashion. There is no answer to the question of what is normal, although we had normcore and other trends concerning the meaning of normality. Vilnius based sunglasses brand SUPERNORMAL is rather a manifesto to the way of living a “normal life”. Stepping forward towards equality of people with different backgrounds, in different ages and sizes, the idea of supernormal embodies the beauty of being an individual. We talk to Goda Narijauskaite - owner of SUPERNORMAL - about normality, making your own business and the inspiration behind unique sunglasses for you, dear people, to enjoy.
11 February, 2019
by AGNETE VOVERE
Tell us about the concept behind SUPERNORMAL people?
We are SUPERNORMAL people, who aim at creating a platform to celebrate the beauty of everyday people, aesthetics and surroundings. Appreciating anything whatsoever today becomes harder, as we are all constantly fed with negativity as a trendy way of reasoning things. The hatred is institutionally and socially approved, and the examples of that are just flowing around us. We think there is a way of making an actual change. The fashion industry is most certainly connected to many stereotypes and we want to fight them by introducing real people, not supermodels into this business. Therefore, our main message concerns the ideas of normality.
The fashion industry is now embracing the diversity of body and beauty by hiring models with unusual physical features. But don’t you think this is some kind of a fashion trend that eventually will fade? Are beauty ideals really changing on a substantial level?
I will answer this question by asking what if it really is fading? We may notice some minor changes and images that are outside the standardised concept of beauty, but it hasn’t yet rooted in peoples’ opinions and everyday life. The ‘standard’ features have been praised for years and it has seeded very deep into our casual lives, and consciousness as well. Therefore, it takes more than just a few plus sizes, disabled or trans models. The world is more colourful and varied than that as well, so even if the business is somewhat more open towards diversity and inclusiveness these days, it still massively depends on the standards.
Our movement is one more example aiming at encouraging the bravery of looking the way one pleases in the streets and not from the covers of magazines. We’d like to seed that bravery into everyday decisions made in front of the mirror, everyday thoughts provoked by the social media feed of enhanced beauty and everyday motivation to have the courage to accept your uniqueness.
Tell us about your journey to producing eyewear. Was it always your dream product to design?
Oh, it has been undoubtedly a long way of ups and downs. Every new designer will agree with me that it takes time to understand that the actual process of designing is comparatively smaller than the process of marketing, selling, understanding the laws and regulations and communicating with suppliers, customers, partners and employees. SUPERNORMAL is a small company. That means we do not have separate departments taking care of very specific aspects. Each of my team members uses their best capabilities and skills. Cleaning, paying bills, driving and other chores, which might seem far away from fashion, but it is absolutely our everyday life.
I have always had a fascination with sunglasses. Some time ago two different people, who do not know each other got me a book on sunglasses for my birthday. Unconsciously, I was always drawn to this specific field. Years later, I am extremely proud to say that in my hands I have my first beloved collection.
The global eyewear market is constantly growing, as it is now a must-have fashion accessory all year round. What are your thoughts on creating something new in this competitive field in the times of overproduction?
I truly believe fashion is firstly a process of creating and, therefore, is, in fact, a field of art. We have grown so accustomed to fashionable goods coming at low prices that everyone can be a fashionista today. I bring my own sense of style, my predictions for the next year, my passion for eyewear, my sense of having to tell a message along with producing goods, and my wish to collaborate with many artists from different fields. The latter is something I sincerely believe in. Again, the world is changing and we have to accommodate ourselves as creators to meet the new tendencies, but we can always collaborate and cooperate to work on something what is impossible to be created by one person.
Your business was born here in Lithuania. What do you think are the strengths of being a creative mind from a small country?
Each culture and the socio-political environment is very very unique in every country. And because I come from a small country, I bring in my own perspective that has undoubtedly been aesthetically influenced by where I’m from. And this makes my works unique. In many cases there are also more possibilities – it is easier to collaborate, as many people you follow or appreciate are easy to connect with. I would also say there are more prospects since there are so many niches being properly unexplored.
How important is self-expression for you?
As a person, I never aim at being in the center of attention in large groups of people, so, I suppose, my designs are my medium to connect and talk with this world, the societies in my country and elsewhere.
What was the biggest challenge while working on a first SUPERNORMAL collection?Sunglasses are particularly vulnerable to trend cycles. How do you manage to forecast the upcoming trends?
When you are a small independent business, there is no book with instructions, so whatever you do you learn along the way. This means that in every step on the way there were some nuances that needed to be tested by myself. We had to make our own way into the business, so there are a lot of mistakes and deviations until you finally learn how to do something.
Forecasting trends is a mixture – it is in a way your 6th sense, an intuition, but it also requires extensive research and constant observation of the industry and art overall.
What is the biggest inspiration for you creatively?
People. People create streets, food, airline’s seat designs, music, art, infrastructures, communications, businesses, weather forecasts and everything else. People also pollute, hate and discourage, but this is still a source for thought, visions and drawings. I try to do as many things in my life as it brings me – I try to travel as much as I can, taste as many new dishes as I can, meet new inspirational people.
I’m also inspired by nature and animals – I like to observe them growing, eating, cohabitating.
You are also well known from making hair and other fashion accessories under the name MAKE HEADS TURN. Is this a goodbye to your first brand or maybe you have plans for it as well?
MAKE HEADS TURN is my first baby and I am very thankful to my customers that were and still are so loyal to this brand. MAKE HEADS TURN remains a brand that produces pins. And we are going to produce more new collections. And in addition to selling to individual customers, we aim to expand our brand into the more business-oriented shop, where other businesses could order original design pins made exclusively according to their request.
What are your future goals for SUPERNORMAL?
I have a very clear vision of where I would like to go as a designer. Producing eyewear takes time and the second collection is already on its way to embrace the daylight. I draw, mix and match, as well as experiment with designs until I am completely sure about the outcome.
And to be abstract enough here’s a little test for you. The rule is to say your first impulse, go!
Picasso or Pollock?
Dazed or Confused?
Cat Eye or Pilot (sunglasses, obviously)?
Baltics or the rest of the world?
The whole world.
Minimalist or Maximalist?
Latte or black?
Parisian chic or sporty American?
Always mix and match.
Extrovert or introvert?
Antique or Ikea?
The 50s -70s furniture is the best.
Galliano or no Galliano?
The liqueur? Yes, please.