Hamish Tame has steered the design team at Sunshades (Le Specs) for 18 years – which means he’s seen a trend or two in his time. We sat down to chat how he stays inspired, and why PR is a pivotal part of Le Specs’ marketing strategy.
F: You’re the creative director for Sunshades Eyewear – what have been some of the pivotal moments in your career that have led you to this point?
HT: I have been with Sunshades for 18 years… or half of my life, so it is wild to think back to how young I was and how different Sunshades was when I started. Relaunching Le Specs in 2006 was undoubtedly a pivotal moment that changed the trajectory of my life, and then launching Le Specs onto Net-A-Porter in 2012 marked the beginning of our international success. More recently, creating our sustainability roadmap, and rolling out new sustainable innovations in product, packaging and logistics has been a huge personal achievement for me.
F: How does Le Specs continue to stay relevant, both in Australia and overseas? What sets the brand apart?
HT: I really enjoy the challenge of working around preconceived industry notions and challenging the status quo, of how or why things are done. Our fearless approach to design and willingness to take risks has continued to pay off over the years and set us apart from competitors globally.
F: How has shifting to a sustainability focus changed the way you design for Sunshades?
HT: Rolling out new sustainable initiatives has been the most rewarding highlight of my career and the most challenging. There are so many unknowns, firsts and limitations working with sustainable materials and processes, so it takes a massive amount of workshopping and
false starts before launching anything into the market, making the success feel so much more rewarding when it finally takes off.
F: How important is PR to Le Specs? Have there been any campaigns that have been particularly successful and why?
HT: We don’t work with huge advertising budgets, so PR has been crucial to our success since relaunching Le Specs in 2006. Our Le Specs 40 th Anniversary party in 2019 was a massive PR moment, where we built an entire Le Specs gas station in Downton Los Angeles, and hosted a mega event for press, VIPs, and buyers.
F: What would you say are your core in-house PR activities that drive coverage?
HT: We get our biggest hits from celebrity seeding, amplified through editorial and social media coverage. Some stars like Beyonce and Lady Gaga are great for brand positioning, whereas other celebrities, including Meghan Markle and Gigi Hadid, can really drive sales.
F: How do you continue to stay inspired?
HT: For so many years design and inspiration trips to Europe and America were our sources for design and marketing inspiration. Since lockdowns turned the world upside down, this has shifted to online, and I have become a huge Pinterest fiend.
F: What eyewear trends are you most excited about?
HT: Apart from new innovations in sustainable materials, I am obsessed with creating new looks that feel like a mash-up of 70s and Y2K references.
F: What was the last thing you googled for work?
HT: Haha! Our ABN number. God, I wish that was a more exciting answer!