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CARLOTTA'S VILLAGE

Charlotte Dokkedal Leth speaking

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I was born the 18th of November 1963 in a part of Copenhagen called Frederiksberg. I lived most of my childhood in small market towns in the provinces - most of the time at the coast which started out my great love for the seaside which I think I share with a lot of Danish people. I think nobody in Denmark has more than a one hour drive to the coast. My dad had a hobby of “house shopping” so by the age of 19 I had lived in more than 20 different houses/apartments. I had a happy childhood in a safe environment with options to pursue whatever interests I might have. And I think the many different locations taught me that your home is where your heart is.

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What is your educational background?
I have a background as a computer programmer. I worked in the IT business for 20 years. Alongside I have supplemented with various art and design schools as well as a Master in Business Administration (MBA) focusing on innovation and entrepeneurship

When was your first contact with the optical industry? 
My partner in both our business and private life has been in the optical industry for more than 25 years,so I have been watching from the side for many years before I started in this business.

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When did you make your first eyewear design? Why the name Carlotta’s Village?
I made my first eyewear sketches in 2008-2009 and started out commercially with 3 acetate styles in three colours each. The name Carlottas Village has two sides: We have our offices in a small village in the countryside. To balance this we always imagined the brand as a global virtual village of people wearing and loving Carlottas Village eyewear. Now the virtual community thinking is everywhere, but at that time we did not even know that was actually what we did.  

What are your sources of inspiration?
I get inspiration from many different sources – sometimes you can take a pattern and translate it directly. Eg. I have made hand drawn interpretations of our rosemary bushes for an acetate pattern. And this season we have the laser engraved patterns of STAAL7 and STAAL8 inspired by looking up at the sky through the naked branches of one of our large trees. But it can also be architecture, nature or art that triggers my ideas. Visiting exhibitions always starts up something- so I do that when ever I have the opportunity.

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What is your (design) philosophy?
Designing eyewear is a “subtle sport”. Very small details make a great difference on a frame. Which has actually been quite a challenge for me (and therefore interesting) as I am often more to casual sketching and “raw” looks. I really have to control my gesticulation here! As for the design itself I think that aesthetics is everything. It can make or ruin your day if you do not feel confident. And your eyewear is one of the first things people see.. And with todays technical options almost anything is possible to manufacture, so it is no problem putting the design first. Using the best crafters and materials is just what we take as granted.

In what kind of atmosphere do you design?
Most of time I make “virtual” sketches in my head first – that could be anywhere, and I am sure that my family or friends sometimes think I am a little absent-minded due to being struck by an idea… The actual drawing I do in my office and I work best if I am a bit isolated and quiet. I do not listen to music when I work. It disturbs me…

For what kind of persons do you design?
I design for people that care about being the best version of themselves. People that recognize the effort and value of good design and material. And people that like to emphasize their personality with subtle detail – could just be a twist of colour in an usual way. People that value individuality and diversity in the world.

What kind of materials and colours do you use in the new collection?
For this season we have news in our surgical steel series called “STAAL” (stål is steel in Danish). And we have news in our combinations series with features acetate fronts and beta titanium temples. So our favourite materials are still going strong…            For this season we have focused on a pastel look with subtle pinks, dusky blue and shades of honey. Light metallic tints and transparent acetates with wavy patterns.

Do you follow fashion trends?
Yes and no – as eyewear lasts longer than fashion trends we always try to have a long lasting range of looks. And – nowadays – fashion is more about personal style than everybody wearing the same colour or length of trousers. Exactly, the Carlotta philosophy!

Who is your contact with The Netherlands?
"Holland is a very important market to us and we have discovered that our customers like to meet us in person, so for now Bo is doing Holland himself. But if the right person comes up we are naturally interested in a cooperation."

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Your favourite colour? Why? Hmm. Very hard question – then I have to choose which I am not good at… Then it must be pink because it can do anything depending on the shade

Your favourite music? I am a rock and roller no doubt about that – I grew up in the era of Springsteen, Mellencamp and Bon Jovi so they are still favourites. But I also listen to classical music a lot.

Your favourite artist? For paintings it is John Kørner – he has twisted oil painting and the use of colours in the same way as we humbly try to do. Also Morten Løbner Espersen is a favourite. He has taken ceramic glazes out of this world and done what would no be possible if you ask the “experts”…

Your favourite architect? Bjarke Ingels of BIG Group – for the same reasons. He is a true fearless innovator. 

Your favourite city? Aarhus has developed a lot over the last years and I really feel at home here now. But also Arezzo at the border of Umbria/Tuscany is a very nice city.                                                                                    

Your favourite food? A Danish specialty called rygeost (smoked soft cheese). It is very tasty and fresh and has a function like a digestive. Good for ending the lunch meal. 

Your favourite drink? Water. There is just nothing like pure fresh water. We are lucky to have the luxury of pure water from our own well. No addition of chemicals. It just does not get better.

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