In conversation with Sayon who designs wooden opticals and sunglasses

Sayon Chatterjee is the man behind label Sayon. He hand makes wooden opticals and frames – each bespoken for you. He has created a niche in the underserved eyewear space in India and takes it one step further by using locally sourced wood as the base for his products. I was caught by the simplicity of his designs and their high level of quality. Speaking of creating “The Brocade Sutra” – he is sold here in NYC at Saks. He walks us through the naissance of Sayon.

TBS: What is your background?
SF: I studied product design.

TBS: How was Sayon conceptualized?
SF: It was an idea I had while interning and just like any of my other ideas, it was tucked away in my sketchbook. I found the sketchbook recently and thought of taking one of the ideas forward – hence the wooden eyewear. After spending months on R&D, selecting the right wood, selecting and perfecting the production method, I launched the brand. It was a huge risk at the time, having no job and no market data of the particular product. It is with the support of close friends and family that it is growing.

TBS: What lead to using wood? What types of wood do you use?
SF: The whole idea was to make an eyewear out of wood as I was fed up of seeing the commonality of the eyewear segment. Wood represents the originality and the authenticity of the product and also the handcrafted nature of it. They are all one offs as no wood texture looks the same and at the same time represents the same emotion. I use teak wood in general, but I do use a variety of other woods like oak, rosewood and mahogany on custom orders.

TBS: How would you describe your aesthetic?
SF: I am a fan of the classics and minimalism and I try to represent that through the designs. I let the wood be the hero without much to distract.

TBS: You chose a very specific niche. What made you choose this?
SF: I did this for myself, for my pleasure and also it was a challenge to myself to exercise some of my demons. The niche was created on its own.

TBS: Could you describe your process for making the opticals and sunglasses?
SF: I start by carefully selecting the wood based on its texture and quality. Next I cut them to thin sheets. After the design is ready, the shapes are cut out of these sheets and it goes into a die for molding. Once it is molded I start with hand grinding, sanding, buffing.
Then I assemble the temples with the main frame by the hinges. I use finer sand paper to finish the frame. In this process, there are five types of sand paper used. Last comes the varnish and the wax coat and then some more fine sanding. The lens of choice ordered by the customer is then fitted into the frame and is ready to be sent off. We always look for new ways to improve our method.

TBS: What do you look for in a collaborator?
SF: I look for the same beliefs and the originality I believe in. We have to have a better understanding of the person and his/her thought process to have a better collaboration.

TBS: Are you planning on creating seasonal collections or expanding on your core styles?
SF: Neither. I believe in creating new designs keeping my core ideologies. I don’t take seasonal changes as the base of a design change. I believe you can wear any of my styles any time of the year.

TBS: Is it you hand making all the glasses or is there a team in place? Are you planning on scaling the brand?
SF: By starting the brand I understood that I am a control freak so everything is done by me. I am looking out for suitable people to join me as of now.

TBS: What is the next phase of the brand?
SF: I am looking at increasing my inventory and also venture into different products that I am interested in. I have a couple of collaborations on the way, so watch out for that.

TBS: Where can we buy Sayon?
SF: You can email me your orders at knocksayon@gmail.com or meet me in Delhi where I am based. It is also available at Misri in Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, at LJ Cross on Madison Avenue, New York and Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.

You can follow Sayon Feed on Facebook and Instagram.

All images courtesy of Sayon. 

By |2016-11-07T13:36:06+00:00March 10th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Interviews|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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