Handmade in Italy and designed in New York, illesteva was founded in 2010. They identified a unique opportunity to create a range of sunglasses and eyeglasses that allowed them to combine classic shapes with contemporary materials. Since then, they have maintained our experimental perspective while sourcing the highest quality materials from family-owned and operated factories in Italy and France.

The brand adhere to a Standard of Excellence: each pair of illesteva glasses begins with customized acetate color-ways blended by hand. Because of this, no two pair have the exact same pattern. After the assembly process, each pair is individually inspected to ensure they meet their quality standards.

Always pushing the envelope of design, illesteva has and will continue to collaborate with bold personalities from the spheres of fashion, music and art. Partnering with individuals like Velvet Underground front-man Lou Reed and supermodel Jourdan Dunn allows them to experience a bit of how they see the world—through Illesteva frames.

In the spirit of handmade craftsmanship, illesteva also created a line of leather goods and umbrellas that are intended to wear and age well over time. Similar to their glasses, their accessories are designed with practicality and simplicity in mind.

In 2009, when he couldn’t find a pair of glasses that he liked, Daniel Silberman designed his own and had them made in Italy. Later that year he started Illesteva in New York with DJ Justin Salguero . “We didn’t want to be trendy, but we felt like there was something missing in the market,” says Silberman. Their approach was to create eyewear that offers luxury in terms of innovative design and quality of materials, but not out of reach in terms of price.

Drawing inspiration from their downtown surroundings, Silberman and Salguero’s creations are simultaneously slick and classic. “My approach to design is simple,” explains Silberman, “I want to create products of the highest quality that are innovative and timeless.” The frames are handcrafted in Italy and France using a variety of materials, including acetate, titanium, bamboo, and natural buffalo horn. The Leonard, with its chunky, round frame, is the style for which Illesteva is most known, garnering them plenty of celebrity fans—from Beyoncé to Daniel Craig. The straight-browed Meyer frame, too, is favoured for its absurdist, vintage appeal.

Illesteva has also gained attention for its many collaborations, including those with designer Zac Posen, photographer Takashi Kumagai, actor and jewellery designer Waris Ahluwalia, art and fashion maven Dasha Zhukova, and, most notably, with Lou Reed, who co-designed a set of aviators and wayfarers with the brand in 2013, shortly before his death. “Lou was an amazing designer,” Silberman says of one of the original standard-bearers of downtown cool. “It was an unbelievable experience to collaborate with such a legend.” Reed’s designs were re-edited and made available along with this summer’s collection, which includes striped and spotted acetates, with mirrored pink and green lenses.