The story of Rigards begins with two strangers crossing paths in a secret eyewear boutique, hidden in a dark alleyway, right in the heart of Hong Kong. Like many great stories, passion is at its epicenter. Jean Marc Virard and Ti Kwa sparked an instant friendship through their shared love for unique eyewear, which eventually led them to start a company together, Rigards.
The name stems from the French word ‘regards’ which means ‘to look.’ These two gentleman wanted to start a brand that spoke their passion to the world. They played with the phrase ‘best regards’ out of the courteous concern for the other, sharing their obsession through thoughtful design.
Mr. Kwa and Mr. Virard have backgrounds in fashion and music, both forced to wear corrective eyewear from a very young age. Initially focused on function, form eventually began to garner a great importance for the two independently. The intimacy behind eyewear is what led them to focus on glasses rather than venturing out into clothing or another form of self-expression.
While high-quality eyewear is traditionally made out of acetate, they decided to take it back to the origins of eye protection. Like the Inuit people protecting their eyes from the snow’s blinding glare, Ti and Jean chose horn as their primary material. As for metal frames, Rigards focuses on the use of copper, silver, bronze and titanium.
Rigards’ material selection is very unique, ever since its conception in 2013, it has been one of the few independent eyewear brands to explore such intricate materials. The natural materials used are meticulously tooled by a singular artisan per frame in Hong Kong, emphasizing the intentionality behind the craft.
All the materials used are meant to age uniquely to their wearers lifestyle. Climates, face oils and general wear are all meant to transform each frame into an ever evolving work of art for your face.
Recycling and passion are at the heart of Rigards, both deeply rooted in the company’s philosophy. Each have led to extremely nuanced designs that continuously push the envelope. All the horn and leather used are sourced from buffalos that have naturally passed after long loving lives as farm animals.
Rather than generating waste, repurposing this existing material stimulates the creative process. Each horn frame bares unique color characteristics, severing as a game of creative chance. Both metal and horn frames are treated as sculptural pieces, taking reference from Ti and Jean’s favorite minimalist sculptors such as Richard Serra.
Ti Kwa and Jean Marc Virard are true artists that design from a pure place, one of passion. Rather than catering to the masses, these two gentleman have made it their mission to design what they see fit to share with the world. Call their designs crazy, extreme or avant-garde; one can agree that Rigards is constantly furthering the language of design one product at a time.
Rigards is meant for those individuals that are looking for sheer self-expression through eyewear, with a punk rock attitude. Rigards is for the extreme, it’s for the artist, it’s for the design freak; ultimately it’s for everyone going against the grain. Allow Rigards to elevate your eyewear collection through soul enriching design.