Home Fashion glasses 15-year-old Toronto student spent confinement to create vintage-inspired sunglasses line

15-year-old Toronto student spent confinement to create vintage-inspired sunglasses line

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A teenage girl from Toronto turned her locking blues into a creative endeavor with her own line of vintage-inspired eyewear.

Claire von Bitter, 15, attends Western technology and enjoys studying in the school’s design course curriculum, but while the teachers have been trying their best, online courses have not been enough for her.

“It wasn’t as engaging (as in person),” von Bitter told blogTO.

She ran out of time with friends and extra-circular activities, so last November she started working on her own line of sunglasses.

In mid-June, she launched Akoya Studios, a vintage-inspired sunglasses brand made from high-quality, durable plant-derived acetate.

“It was really an outlet, to be passionate about something, to wait for something outside of my forties. I think that really helped me survive my forties.”

Claire von Bitter, 15, has started her own eyewear business.

Her design background helped her create the sunglasses and she also has an entrepreneurial spirit. Since she was young she has had lemonade stands and at 10 she started a piñata making business.

She admired the sunglasses styles of the 1970s and 1990s and was inspired by them to create her own. She contacted manufacturing companies around the world to have her designs made.

Many did not respond to her, but she chose a company in China that could produce the glasses with environmentally friendly acetate material.

Working with a designer at the company, von Bitter sent him drawings and photos.

“You just go back and forth with the designs.”

Finally, she had two different styles in two colors each. She funded the business with money saved from previous businesses and babysitting jobs.

The first shipment of glasses arrived in May, then she assembled the website.

Finding Akoya’s name was a challenge. She has tried several different names, but Akoya is a rare and special type of pearl.

“I love the fact that pearls are Mother Nature’s gem.”

The company’s slogan is “the world is your oyster” – drawn from the post-pandemic desire for hope and the future to get out and explore the world.

von Bitter didn’t tell his friends about the business and surprised them a few weeks before the launch. They gave their support and some are shown modeling the sunglasses on the website.

“I pay them in product.”

In the future, von Bitter would like to continue his business and expand Akoya Studios with other products.

“If he succeeds, I would like to continue it.”