When Amsterdam-based brand Ace & Tate was founded in 2013 under what was then a revolutionary set of principles- free eye tests, high-quality frames and prescription lenses at great value- it joined something of a revolution in the contemporary eyewear market. A new wave of startups reinvented the oversaturated luxury optical market and offered quality frames direct to consumers for value as they could cut out the middlemen retailer margin. Since then, the brand has thrived, opening 16 stores across Europe in 2020 followed by another seven in 2021 alone. How’s that for post-covid performance?

This month, Ace & Tate is delving into a devilish love story with a new collaboration with London-based artist, Polly Nor. The first of a series of partnerships with young creatives, the brand’s best-selling ‘Jacques’ frames have been transformed into a daring, yet versatile design. 

Famed for her dark, satirical drawings of women and their demons, Polly Nor has explored themes of identity, sexuality and emotional turmoil as a 21st-century woman in her artwork; encouraging women to explore both friend and enemy in their inner psyche. The result? A  sexy, playful accessory, engraved with hand-drawn illustrations and rendered in cherry red - the perfect shade in time for Valentine’s Day. You’ll be able to clean those glasses with a trio of bespoke cleaning cloths and a special-edition gift card, illustrated by Polly herself, all in her signature style!

Because caught up with Polly Nor about the upcoming collaboration to find out more…

Tell us more about how the collaboration came about...
I wear glasses and prescription sunglasses every day, so I often visit Ace & Tate to see what they have in store and I really like their frames. I’m very selective about the brands that I work with, but I do keep a little list of ones that I would consider working with one day, Ace & Tate was already on that list, so when they got in contact asking if I would be interested in collaborating, it felt quite serendipitous.

What were your main inspirations when designing the collection?
I decided to create something sexy, playful and fun around the theme of desire, without compromising on the darker themes and characters that my work is known for. For the frame, I opted for a deep red, of course, a nod to the red demons that recur throughout my work but also a colour, which to me evokes images of roses, red wine, and lipstick kisses.


How did you find translating your illustrations onto frames? 
This is the first time I have collaborated on a physical product with a brand, so I wanted to make sure that the glasses were really special. I started off by thinking about what I look for myself, when buying a pair of glasses. I’m usually drawn to a bold frame with something unique or interesting about them, but, because I’m always rushing out the door and grabbing my glasses at the last minute, they also need to be somewhat versatile, something that could go well with any outfit. I decided to use a semi-transparent frame, so that the illustration, which is on the inside of the frame, would only be seen subtly from the outside.

What did you enjoy the most about the collaboration?
Working on new projects that are out of my comfort zone always feels both risky and exciting, from my first meeting with Ace & Tate they seemed totally on the same page and open-minded creatively, which made the process very enjoyable. It was super fun dreaming these glasses up in the early stages, designing them, seeing them come together in the flesh, and being able to hold the final product in my own hands. I’m so happy with how they turned out, I’m in love with the colour and all of the tiny details that make them feel very true to my work. I’ll be wearing them every day from now on!

Polly Nor X Ace & Tate is available to buy this Valentine's Day at aceandtate.com.