Earlier this year I decided to produce a ‘behind the scenes’ video for an eyewear fashion photo shoot. My first thought was to use a scenic venue like WoodwardPark or the DresserMansion. I then stumbled upon a photography studio in downtown Tulsa in a sixty year old building with perhaps as much history as Hicks Brunson Eyewear. What a perfect fit.
I wanted to do more than just show what happens at a fashion photo shoot. I wanted to tell our story.
It is the story of a Tulsa tradition that began in 1929 and continues today. In 1929 my Great Grandfather Hicks G. Brunson came to Tulsa to open an optical dispensary for American Optical Co. He chose an office in the Medical Arts building (not too far from the photography studio I chose for this particular photo shoot) in down town Tulsa. Then in 1940 he purchased the dispensary from American Optical and changed the name to Hicks Brunson. On May 22nd of 1952 my Great Grandfather became one of the original tenants of the newly developed Utica Square shopping center. I’ve seen video footage from inside Hicks Brunson Eyewear from the 1950’s and there were not very many style options for men and women in eyewear at that time. The women had aluminum cat-eye shapes and the men had Buddy Holly horn rims. In the 1960’s all of that changed. Hicks Brunson Eyewear was an early adopter of licensed eyewear when we began to stock Christian Dior. The House of Dior was the first design house to license its’ name to eyewear. We went on host the first of many trunk shows in the store in the 1960’s for Christian Dior and others with fashion models wearing our frames. Little did anyone know what influence fashion houses and designers around the world would eventually have on eyewear. Fast forward to 2009 when I met Tom Davies. That relationship changed everything, because that is when I began custom designing frames.
Tom trained me, and I trained my opticians. We start by taking millimeter perfect measurements of your head, then select a style that compliments your face, and then choose colors to compliment your natural coloring. After years of fine tuning, I collaborated with Tom and designed a collection of frames to be carried exclusively by Hicks Brunson Eyewear.
We call our newest designs the Dekko Lux collection, inspired in part by Tulsa’s strong art deco scene of the 60’s, with a luxurious feel added to it. Our friends across the pond may recognize “dekko” as a slang term asking someone “to have a look at,” which we thought would be appropriate since we are using them for the purpose of looking (whether it be at or through). The collection includes fun, and sometimes colorful, retro shapes for men and women. So now that you know our history, you can understand where my inspiration came from.
I wanted our photo shoot to really capture these latest creations as well as many of our other great collections. I commissioned several models to wear my eyewear, including multi-talented and accomplished Jade Gotcher who also did hair, makeup and wardrobe. The glamorous allure of the 1960’s really resonates with me, and I also wanted to compliment the eyewear with a classic look, so I worked with Jade on my vision for the wardrobe. Jamil Gotcher (yes, Jade is her daughter) is an experienced photographer in the Tulsa area who handled all of our still images; while the brilliant team at Signal Factory produced the video that portrayed the entire experience. Everything came together beautifully in the end.
I love the art and design aspect of eyewear and the science of optical principles which allow me to make lenses to help people see. I am grateful for the opportunity to explore my passion for art and science each day and to get to tell my story and the story of my family.