Sunglasses, those wonderful spectacles that protects our eyes from harmful UV rays. What started off as a need for eye protection has turned into one of the go to accessories for men and women alike. Sunglasses can literally break an outfit, just as having the wrong shoes on can have the same affect.
We would like to introduce you to Leisure Society, the sunglasses and sportswear brand founded by Shane Baum (CFDA designer). The brand serves as his perspective on what life should be: spending time with family, friends, and enjoying intimate moments of absolute leisure. With careful attention to branding, Leisure Society executes this flawlessly. The brands sunglasses aren’t your typical, run-of-the-mill sunglasses. Leisure Society creates collections that are made of luxury materials such as titanium, 12-24k white & yellow gold plating, diamonds, and buffalo horn. Leisure Society top concern is making sure that every frame that is produced is of the up most quality.
We wanted to dig deeper to figure out more about the brand. We turned to no other than Shane Baum:
LP: How did you come up with the name “Leisure Society”?
Baum: The name Leisure Society was inspired by the social club that I started with some of my friends. Originally, we planned an outing for the opening day at Del Mar, put together a luxurious schedule, and took the train. Dressed up in suits, hats and beautiful dresses, we had quite an elegant day. But when the invitations were going out, it didn’t seem quite right coming from Shane Baum, because I’m from a small town in Iowa of about 2500 people; in lieu of that, I decided it should come from some sort of official organization, so I wrote, on top of the invites, “By order of the Royal and Ancient Leisure Society”, and after that the social club was born. This carried on for 5-6 years, and after spending time designing frames for some of the biggest couture houses of the world, my mentor pulled me aside and said that it was time for me to create my own brand, and I remembered how I loved the name “Leisure Society”. Furthermore, if you actually get into a discussion of what Leisure Society is, you would realize that it is a very interesting dynamic in the American history, which started around the Industrial Revolution when people decided they could get away to the seaside or to the mountains for the weekend; given the fact that this was a time when they had cars and train travel, and they could actually go somewhere, go away and escape the commonalities of a more mundane life. The evolution of the Leisure Society is a very interesting story, and also a very intriguing one for me. And as a guy who spends a lot of time working, escaping from the pressures of day-to-day business and daily responsibilities is an idea that I find very exciting, and that is also the impetuous (driving-force) behind the brand.
LP: How does Leisure Society distinguish itself from other high-end eye-wear companies?
Baum: Leisure Society distinguishes itself from other high-end eye-wear companies by using more exotic materials. Again, all our frames are made from 12, 18, and 24 carat gold plated titanium, with the best of the best lenses. Our integrity along with our complete and total commitment to the finest materials and highest quality standards set us apart from all other eye-wear companies.
LP: If you can have one celebrity, as a spokesperson, who would it be?
Baum: It’s interesting, somebody had asked me that a while back and my mind drew a blank, because who is the best candidate for Leisure Society? And then out of the blue, Jennifer Lawrence started wearing our glasses and I think she is the perfect candidate for our brand, because first of all she’s amazingly talented, secondly she has good personal style, and third there’s an air about her that’s not pretentious, but also has a lot of class, and so all of those elements combined make her the perfect spokesperson for our company.
On the men’s side, we just shot a commercial with Will Ferrell and he’s also a great spokesperson for our company, because again, we are a company that makes products with complete integrity and Will is an A-list celebrity who certainly holds a lot of stature from a global audience. That being said, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Will also appreciates the finer things in life, he appreciates the integrity of our company.
LP: What’s on the horizon for Leisure Society?
Baum: Leisure Society held about 52 events last year in various locations around the world, from golf tournaments on Pebble Beach, to hosting lunches in Aspen, and dinners in Lake Como. We’re working on a global platform, putting together like-minded people that are looking for a greater experience out of their travels. There isn’t really a discerning travel club, so to speak, that brings like-minded people together. When I said “like-minded,” our “tribe” or the people who love our brand are like-minded in the fact that they are looking for enrichment out of life, they are looking for advancement of their intellect through various cultural events, and when I say cultural events I mean events that are time and tested. I would say that we are not promotional of mass culture; we’re promotional of culture in general and the events and activities we recommend are highly curated and are worthy of our fans’ consideration.
LP: Will Leisure Society ever offer the option of having custom or customizable eye-wear?
Baum: Leisure Society will offer the option of having custom or customizable eye-wear. One of the reasons that I started the brand at a higher level, it always stuck me as unusual to see a women walking the red carpet in a $14,000 hand beaded gown, $4000 beautiful handmade shoes on her feet, and a $150,000 of jewelry around her neck, yet as far as eye wear- offerings, the luxury market tops out at $300-$500 from the top couture houses in the world. There are a lot of reasons for that, which is a topic of another discussion, but I really feel that making art pieces, one of a kind, beautiful handcrafted frames specifically for someone’s face is an art that needs to be attended to and we fully intend to do that.
LP: What are your top three menswear brands?
Baum: My top three menswear brands are Yves Saint Laurent, Shipley & Halmos, and Robert Geller.
LP: What songs are on heavy rotation on your iPod?
Baum: The Clash – Complete Control, Kings of Convenience -Home Sick, Moon Glow – Benny Goodman, Insensatez – Stan, Calcutta – Lawrence Welk, Les Savy Fav – The Sweat Descends, Shimmering Stars – I’m Gonna Try, The Shins – Phantom Limb, Django Django – Default
LP: What’s your favorite destination spot and why?
Baum: I can never really pick only one, because of the seasons. If I were going to the mountains, I would pick St. Anton, Austria, in the Tyrolean Alps. It is a beautiful, quiet city with awesome restaurants, beautiful architecture, and great snow. For summer, there is nowhere better than Du Coup Ceret, in the south of France. It’s elevated living, which has seen great evolution in the last 200 years, and they really know how to spend their summers there.
Leisure Society is a brand that will stand the test of time because of their meticulous execution and branding. To learn more, please visit www.leisure-society.com
-Phaon K. Spurlock
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