In the summer of 2007, we launched what would become Shutter Shades, Inc. The international popularity (and infamy) of Kanye West would help to catapult our unique eyewear in the global spotlight and create a huge fashion frenzy. Everyone had an opinion about Shutter Shades. Love them or hate them, as long as you had some kind of an opinion about them, we were happy.
Before this time, this style of eyewear was commonly referred to as “Venetian Blinders.” Above you will find an image taken from Life.com about Venetian Blinders from the 1950s. The second photo (not sure where it’s from) shows children in the 1980s who wore “futuristic” eyewear and one of the girls (far left) is wearing the Venetian Blinders.
When I started conceptualizing the idea for this eyewear, I knew that I wanted there to be several colors for people to choose from and that I wanted to design a functional set of actual sunglasses for future release, but I really wanted to come up with a catchy enough name for people to instantly recognize the shades. I thought of the names “Aviator” and “Wayfarer” by Ray Ban right away – here were two styles of sunglasses instantly identifiable by their names. When I thought of those names, I immediately saw the shape and style of the sunglasses. I wanted this to be the case with these sunglasses that I was designing.
The name and term “Shutter Shades” popped right in my head one night while drafting a long document about the purpose and potential global appeal of shutter shades (basically my business plan) and while designing what was the first shuttershadesonline.com website. The design of the shades reminded me of window shutters and the sound of the words “shutter” and “shades” together blended perfectly and felt like a natural fit. The name was genius and it stuck with me through the development process and remarkably has stuck around ever since as the name for the eyewear. Alain Mikli, the famed sunglass designer who is credited with producing Kanye’s first pair of the shades, did not coin the term “shutter shades” as it is widely believed. That credit goes to yours truly. It’s hard to believe that a name that is known around the world now as not only just window shades but specific type of eyewear was first conceived in my mind! I’ll never forget that night in August 2007 and I’ll never forget the journey that has lead to where this brand is today.
Only my business partners and close friends know this story, but it’s a great story that must be told to the rest of the world. From it, hopefully you will appreciate the style of eyewear and the brand a little bit more now that you know some of its history.
President, Shutter Shades Inc.