The Carousel talks to Sarah Selvadurai about her Selva Eyewear and her mission to fill a gap in the market with beautifully crafted frames at an attainable price.
My first introduction to optics was when I was about eight years old and when my Mum started working at the local optometrist in Wellington, New Zealand. I used to get so excited about going in and trying on all the glasses. From the moment I tried on my first pair appreciated its beauty and the fact that it’s like an accessory that could totally change my personality. I could become an incredibly smart scientist, then transform into a chic boss lady by just changing my frames. When I was 12, I found out through a general eye test that I needed glasses; most people are upset about this news, but I was over the moon. So, I’ve been wearing glasses ever since, and have kept every pair!
When I moved out of home about 11 years ago reality kicked in, in the fact that now I would have to pay for my own glasses. At first, I was shocked! I couldn’t believe how much they cost, I guess back then I wasn’t thinking about how much work went into each frame. This lead to my first job in optometry, with the mindset that the job would hopefully come with some insider discount – cheeky I know! But this is where I fell in love with optometry. I worked as an optical receptionist for four independent optometrists and was quickly promoted within 6 months to Train as an Optical Dispenser. I absolutely credit that practice I worked in for creating my passion for eye care. Two years on and thriving off all my eye-healthcare knowledge and training my partner and I decided to move to Melbourne.
I found work easily with all my training and I started to work for a large chain. I enjoyed my time with this group however after working there for a while I could feel the urge for change, my passion for optics was crumbling and I didn’t want to lose the respect I had for an industry that had already provided me with so much. Hence Selva Eyewear was born.
It would be my own experience and overall enjoyment of optics that inspired me. I have always had the ambition to do something new and exciting and I knew I’d want to keep working in the industry. In the optical market at one end of the scale we have affordable, trusted, internationally mass-produced brands, and at the other, we have your high-end designer brands. I saw a vivid gap that would allow me to create something local and boutique; made with high-quality materials, with an attainable price tag.
I have found that my biggest design inspiration comes from being absorbed into something new. This can be through discovering new parts of Melbourne or travelling to different places around the world. I am a self-proclaimed ambassador for minimalism, so it’s the small things in life that inspire me.
The first thing I decide is the direction of the collection. Our current collection focuses on everyday essentials, with timeless designs, durability and comfort being our biggest deliverables. Once I have decided on the collection, every step of the design focuses on producing a quality product that adheres to the highest of standards.
Why I chose Japan is simple, they are renowned for being one of the world’s best manufacturers of glasses. Japan is one of the last producers of glasses who still believe in hand finishing the product and this is evident in their incredible attention to detail.
It’s the dynamic blend of being created in Melbourne and handcrafted in Japan, using durable, high-quality materials, with an attainable price tag, all the while meeting highest optical standards of protection.
I think it is so important to invest in something that protects yourself from potential risk. Australia is a country that has a very high UV count. Sunglasses have to have the correct UV specifications or else you’re essentially opening up your eyes for prospective risk of melanoma or eye disease.
First thing I would look for would be the materials. At Selva Eyewear we use acetate; it’s stronger than plastic, lighter and will also keep its shape for longer. We also use titanium as its hypoallergenic therefore won’t cause irritation to your skin, its super light and very durable. Next would be the shape and fit. Proportion is so important! Then, of course, it’s the style!
There are a few key requirements that glasses and sunglasses need to meet in Australia standards the largest and most important would be the Ultra Violet light protection. Selva Eyewear source’s its lenses from a local laboratory that creates the highest protection and meets all Australian standards.
I believe it’s important to look after our eyes at every stage of life, especially as our eyesight can deteriorate over time depending on how we look after it. I do also believe that with the way the world is changing and how much time we spend under Blue light (mobile phone, laptop screens etc), it’s a good idea to learn and understand a little more about taking care of your eyesight. Currently, we are seeing a large increase in myopia (short-sightedness) as we are not taking breaks and letting our eyes relax from overuse of Blue light. It’ s also very important to understand that a cheap pair of glasses might look great, they often don’t have the coating to protect our eyes from the intensity of the sun, especially ones brought overseas that don’t have the same standards as Australia.
My top tip when using screens is the 20 -20 -20 rule. Work for 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds and then focus on something 20 meters away. I like to use those small breaks to have a drink of water so that I stay hydrated as well.
Check out the range here.