I will never say no to an interview with someone I admire. In fact, I’ll cancel dates and drive the country to make time for an opportunity which I know my readers will love. In the relaxed surroundings of the Dylan Hotel, I got to share a sofa with Gok Wan to talk specs, shopping and how he does it all. Gok is on his second collection for glasses giant, Specsavers. “It makes sense for me to design glasses not only from a fashion point of view. I’m known for my glasses” he says. “This second collection now is all the style people wants. It’s far more considered. The first collection has done very well, and I hope people come back again”. Gok is an easy going chatty guy, and on a whistle stop tour of Dublin to promote the brand, my fifteen minutes is slotted amongst radio and television appearances, although he did tell me he was fitting in some shopping at Brown Thomas. I almost asked if I could come but professionalism prevailed over excitement.
Gok probably gets asked a lot about glasses as accessories but I agree with him on the story they tell. “Glasses tell a different narrative about people’s aesthetic”. And yes that they do. After the interview, I started to observe what styles people go for. I wonder if there is some method of deducing personalities from glasses? I noticed a lot of black rims, plastic over metal and the fact that people embrace this as a statement on their face as well as something practical. Personally, I’ve opted for the Hilda Ogden from Coronation Street style and from Gok’s latest collection, I went for another 1970s inspired pair. This range is so easy to wear, and most importantly it’s really affordable with the Gok stamp written all over it, as he says himself “I don’t think I could do any project without being incredibly involved. People know it’s been done by me”.
The glasses are just one iota of the Gok empire, with clothing collections, books and series upon series of successful television shows with another one to come this May. I had to ask him about life in general and if there is a balance in his world. “We always knew things were going to peak this year. But next year I think I am going to have to wind down a little bit. I’ve always wanted this so I’m not upset about it. Work is always been a massive part of my life and something that I’ve gotten a lot of confidence from”. Gok shows that hard work pays off, and he deserves a little time to reflect and I’m sure he’ll plan his next move.
In my last few minutes with him, I got his views on Irish style. “Irish style is heavily dictated by the weather. Its “climate controlled couture” which is a deciding factor (I told him he should trade mark that). But I think you are well dressed here, you know style, you know the brands and what’s happening on the fashion circuit. There’s no real difference between where you are, whether it’s Dublin, Belfast, Sheffield…You have 12 year old kids going out for coffee and talking about fashion, years ago that didn’t happen. Fashion has evolved and moved on”. I love an intelligent man, and I love one even more when fashion is their game of choice.
We end our time with some chat about my impending nuptials which got me a little excited, that a fashion icon knows I’m getting married. I’ll add him to the guest list.
The new GW by Gok Wan range, including the 13 new styles, are availableexclusively at all 42 Specsavers stores across Ireland for just €149.