Open your diaries, it’s time for a party! On November 9th Kirk & Kirk will join forces with Eyeworks London for a night of eyewear exploration. Named as the Optician Awards Practice of the Year (2015), this incredible store in Knightsbridge will showcase the full Kirk & Kirk collection, with Jason Kirk and store owner Brenda McKernan on hand to guide you through shapes and styles.
Brenda launched her opticians in Knightsbridge in 2010 and has also gone on to establish Eyeworks For Film – a company that provide prosthetic contact lenses for the film and tv world! We sat down with her to ask a few questions and find out more about the store and her experience.
You opened your store in 2010, what were you doing before this?
I trained at UMIST, which is now the University of Manchester. I was then a locum optometrist for 7 years before I opened Eyeworks London. I dabbled a little in collecting and selling vintage eyewear at Portobello Market shortly before I opened the practice which was a lot of fun.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your team.
I grew up in Northern Ireland, I like to run, drink tea and eat chocolate! I have just taken up the piano again after 18 years and I love it. In the rest of our full-time team we have Amanda, our Dispensing Optician/Practice Manager. She has just bought a Vespa and is enjoying the freedom of London. Amiee is our student Dispensing Optician and she loves to sing in her spare time. We all have worked at multiples in the past but love the professional and creative freedom that you get from an Independent Practice.
You work a lot with the film industry – tell us more.
I am a director (along with 2 other friends) of a company called Eyeworks For Film. We provide prosthetic contact lenses for the film and tv world. The lenses can be anything from creature eyes to injuries or a simple eye colour change. We have been lucky to have been involved in so many productions including Les Miserables, Star Wars, James Bond, Maleficent and Game of Thrones. We are working on a series at the moment called Good Omens. It’s got an amazing cast (David Tennant, John Hamm) we have done lots of different lenses for it. I can’t wait to see it!
What drew you to the Kirk & Kirk brand and which is your favourite style?
The Kirk & Kirk collection is full of beautiful pieces. We love that Kirk & Kirk are doing their own thing. There are a lot of retro preppy acetates out there and Kirk & Kirk completely went their own way. From a design point of view, I love the clarity of the acrylic material and how the colours melt into one another. My favourite frame is the Bridget in Sunset. I love the colour, it really pops and surprisingly looks great when you wear other colours.
Bridget in Sunset
How did you choose your store’s location?
I lived locally and was aware of the store. Knightsbridge shopping is fantastic and I often walked past thinking what a great location it was. I also liked the fact that there was a vibrant international community around Gloucester Road. When the store came up for sale I jumped at the chance.
Could you tell us about a hidden gem or great restaurant/café near your store? We have to mention Coco Momo. Not quite hidden (it’s on Gloucester Road opposite the practice) but it is a gem. It’s our retreat after busy day at the shop. It does great food and cocktails.
You are clearly very passionate about your job, how has your career evolved?
My job is so much more than I would ever have expected when I was training. Who would have thought I would be selecting frames for the practice in Paris one week and on a movie set the next! Day to day there is a lot of variety too. I meet so many interesting characters. I still enjoy the science geeky side that attracted me to the profession in the first place, but the creative and strategic aspects of running your own business provides lots of variety and keeps things exciting!
We are very excited to be showcasing the full Kirk & Kirk collection at your store next week, and to be collaborating with www.eyestylist.com.
Me too! It’s going to be a great night. Eyestylist is such a valuable source of information and inspiration for the industry, so it’s such a pleasure to have Clodagh joining us.
Clodagh Norton, Co-Founder of Eyestylist.com says:
‘Eyestylist loves working with independent opticians and we are increasingly involved in pop-up events and collection presentations which offer a perfect way to create a closer relationship between a brand and its wearers….as a customer at Eyeworks and a follower of the Kirk & Kirk brand, I am delighted to be attending this event hosted by designer Jason Kirk and UK optician Brenda McKernan at the Eyeworks London store in Kensington. The store is a great example of the way in which optical retailing is now heading in the UK at the top end, nurturing the quality labels, offering exceptional styling advice as well as providing a professional service in terms of the quality of the eye examination and general eyecare services for adults as well as children. "
If you would like to join us on Thurs Nov 9th 6pm-9pm, please email Brenda directly on [email protected]
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