Eyeglasses

10 questions: Dana Prekopova, IOKO Optika

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Through the use of color, sculpture and unconventional materials, Dana Prekopova, founder of IOKO Optika, and the IOKO x NA – aims to educate the Slovak customer and provide an independent alternative to commercial eyewear. From one-of-a-kind pieces to frames that would feel just as at Home in the Guggenheim, Dana spoke with EYestylist about their worlds of frames and retail colliding in colorful ways.

1. How would you describe yourself in three words?Precise, creative, detailed.

2. Where do you find yourself looking for inspiration?My inspiration for each IOKO x NA collection is strongly linked to a specific face: – we call him my “muse”. I love visualizing each character, which step by step becomes a face that I visualize with the respective shape. So far, four separate collections have been created with unique and characterful Slovak actresses as muses. Perfection in beauty is not what I’m looking for, actually it’s quite the opposite. I like to find beauty in imperfection, asymmetry and uniqueness in general. Each frame in each series always has something in common with the next: there is always a fixed element, which may appear on the rod or elsewhere in the design.Above: Dana with her son, architect Alan Prekop

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Dana (on the right) with the sisters Marta and Lea and the young “muse” for collection in 2o21 – Kerekes Vica

The last collection was very specific, a bit more complicated but still more fun! Two separate lines of shapes and colors were created at the same time and my two sisters, Marta and Lea, were part of the visual result – I have an identical twin and an older sister, but we all look a lot alike. My “muse” for the Winter 2021 collection was an actress named Kerekes Vica, very similar to us in appearance but younger. She has her own special features of hers, so her design for her was quite different than what we had created for me and my sisters. She was defiant but at the same time she felt very brave. (Youtube Movie:https://youtu.be/tNiCN-tA31s)

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3. The use of colors, patterns, and sculptural shapes in the ella IOKO x NA frames is incredibly eye-catching, tell us more about the design process for ella.Yes, you are right. I try to push my designs to the limit of usability while remaining consistent with the artistry of their craft process. I am fascinated by colour. It’s so much fun to use unusual palettes when creating frames – we’ve worked with orange, fuchsia, purple, bright red and orchid pink since 2018 – a time when other independent designers were not very interested in these shades. Since then, I’ve noticed designers I really admire have done the same thing: they’ve been enchanted by the richness of these bold colors, just like me. Each pair of glasses is unique, there is nothing like it in other parts of the world in the same shape and color – we are always one step ahead. Any pair I design should be different and if the demand for a specific color and shape remains high, I only change the design slightly to honor my passion for originality.

4. Which framework, of any you have designed,best represent the IOKO customer?Well, this does not have an unequivocal answer. IOKO celebrates her 18th birthday this year – As always, the beginnings were not easy. At first we needed to educate the customer: in our country, Slovakia, there is no tradition of eyewear manufacturing, and the term “independent design” was simply unheard of. At the end of the day, this lack of knowledge was due to so many years spent under a communist regime. My mission was to teach customers the difference between commercially produced glasses and independently made ones.

5. What drives you forward?The fact that customers have gotten used to us and the idea of ​​our technique, which is why they want our products more and more. We have an IOKO clientele who just want one-of-a-kind glasses and I am very happy to be able to offer this in each of our collections. We have recently seen a lot of interest in our IOKO x NA frames in the industry… mostly before SILMO 2022.

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6. What is your position on sustainability?Our zero-waste manufacturing process was created by accident. As I worked with a jewelry designer on our first collection, the idea came very spontaneously to use the ‘waste’ material from the offcuts to make an original piece of jewelry for a specific pair of glasses. Since then, we have continued to make use of all usable scraps of material – not only for the jewel – even if we manage to keep some acetate from the plate we cut the frame from, we use that too. It’s nice when the client gets to know the material in its raw, unprocessed form. It helps them understand how much work is behind the beautiful and polished result they have in their hands.

7. What is your personal favorite frame and why?It is probably the first. It was created especially for me and to this day I still struggle with the fact that it was stolen from me shortly after it was made. It was a painful loss at the time, but I started to see it in a more positive light. It happened when I was starting the business and there were several doubts and uncertainties in my head – if my bold ideas would be interesting. I sought advice, and the person who turned out to be a thief actually confirmed to me that he really was brilliant! Today we have achieved awards such as the 2021 National Design Award, so I will no longer fight with my internal doubts.

8. If you could see your frames designed with the work of a particular designer or stylist, who or what brand would it be?Of course, I have my favorite designers, many of whom I have more than just a working relationship with. There are several of them that are so prominent that they boldly present various forms of design, including unique and artistic glasses objects. I have my own way of doing things, and it makes me happy when I find something that is unlike anything that already exists. I am lucky that IOKO Optika is, for me, the most beautiful space, where our own brand can be presented in all its splendor, honoring its core uniqueness.

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Interior: IOKO Optika, designed by Alan Prekop

9. Could Ito tell us about your new store and any other exciting developments on the horizon for IOKO?Yes, we have our new showroom in the heart of the old town of Bratislava. We spend our “teens” and youth in different parts of our small town, but as we mature we move to the nice modern part of this area. This district of Bratislava is close to my heart because I grew up and studied here. The space for the new Ioko store was selected by architect Alan Prekop, who happens to be my son – He really wanted me to work on the project from design to implementation. He knows very well my passion for glasses and how I personally work with each client. He has created a very unique space, similar to a gallery, using very unusual decorative elements: enriching traditional materials such as wood, steel and natural clay with a luminescent sheet where our glasses are displayed. Due to this luminescent effect, the room changes color several times a day. We talked a lot during the process and I always knew that the showroom itself would create the feeling of exclusivity, showcasing all the unique pieces from independent designers just like you would see in an art gallery. He only had one request: to have a place where he could show the customer how our glasses are made. When the store is closed, you can find me sitting with my tools in this workspace; right in front of the window next to the street – I love it when people knock on my window and say hi or say hello!

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IOKO Optika in Bratislava

10. Do you have any thoughts on the ever-evolving trend of technology merging with luxury fashion retail?I believe that my dreams and ideas will never pass me by, and that behind every door I open there are still some mysterious closed doors that invite me to look inside them. Currently, I am doing a workshop at VSVU in the Department of Experimental Design and I hope to encourage young designers to experiment with various new materials and try to make glasses out of something unusual. Of course, I have plans to continually develop my brand and reach out to opticians in Los Angeles, Perth, Melbourne, Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Amsterdam to learn about our work. So far the hardest thing for me was saying goodbye to some of our babies and letting them out into the world – I’m working hard on this now so even more can fly out of the nest. For more details visithttps://ioko.sk

An interview by Victoria G. L. Brunton exclusively for EYestylist.com – imagesprovided by IOKO Optika – all rights reserved

Posting10 questions: Dana Prekopova, IOKO Optikafirst appeared inStylist.

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