Pascal Mathieu has never been one for labels. The Mont Blanc-based creative, who trained as an engineer and spent the early days of his career working in finance and tech, rails against restrictions, instead embracing the multiple facets of his personality and the excitement of variation.
It's this pursuit of diversity and multifariousness that informs the underlying principles of his eponymous eyewear label, which he established last year after feeling a general sense of frustration with the limited offerings of eyewear on the market. He felt "boxed in" by brands and their restrictive customer profiling, and decided to do something about it:
“I designed them to be able to wear them myself, not finding glasses that I liked," Mathieu says. "The glasses I wanted to create are both elegant and technical, refined and sporty, modern and traditional, sophisticated and simple. At the same time."
It took two years of R&D to develop a brand that Mathieu was satisfied with; that fuses cutting-edge technology with timeless style. His love of watches and tech products helped to inform his approach, which sees sunglasses as far more than just accessories - rather as functional products that can improve the quality of one's day-to-day.
An incredible extent of rigour and meticulous attention to detail go into producing each pair of Pascal Mathieu sunglasses. Using brushed steel and sandblasted aluminium, the glasses are manufactured one by one in a family workshop in La Chaux-du-Dombief, France - the heart of ancestral eyewear craftsmanship. The steel and aluminium sheets undergo 78 processes involving 23 different craftsmen, from welding to polishing, before they are finally scrutinised under a magnifying glass and microscope. No corners have been cut: these are seriously sturdy shades.
Perhaps most impressive however, is Pascal Mathieu's philanthropic endeavours. The brand runs an associated charity, 'Pascal Mathieu Mont Blanc', which collects used sunglasses around the Mont Blanc range to distribute them in remote Himalayan villages in Nepal, where 80 per cent of the population living above 3000 metres suffers from incurable ocular lesions. For every pair of new sunglasses sold, ten of the reconditioned pairs are donated. In an age of fast fashion and thoughtless mass production, Pascal Mathieu is a refreshing anomaly. You can feel secure in the knowledge that your purchase is making a real difference: this is eyewear with ethics.