The FLEYE Glasses Designer who Climbs Mountains

Annette Esto of FLEYE award winning eyewear

We have talked with our very own Annette Estø, the designer and co-founder of FLEYE. She reveals how mountain climbing gives her an enormous energy for her vibrant life as a designer.

“Glasses have always fascinated me because it really changes your look. Just like a new hair cut.”

I know you have a husband, four kids and seven grandchildren. You work 70+ hours every week. You travel more than a hundred days each year. You are 55 years old. Where do you get your energy from?
“I have always had a lot of energy and a passion for exploring things. My husband and I both like hiking and mounting climbing where you push yourself a bit further than you think you can. We already did Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, where we both reached the summit at 5.885 m. I was struggling from altitude sickness for the last two days but managed to stay at the summit for 10 minutes to take a picture before I was told to go down again.”

Mount Kilimanjaro. A stupa under snow (left) on the trail to Tengboche monastery (centre). Mt Everest (8850m) is making clouds just left of centre, with Lhotse (8498m) partly obscured just to the right. Far right is Ama Dablam peak.

 

 

 

Many of your glasses are very colourful. Why?
“It’s so boring with only brown and black frames. Colours are full of happiness and they make me smile. If you add some colour, it also attracts attention.”

FLEYE glasses in fashion oriented colours

 

What is the story behind your orange hair?
“I have met so many people in my life with amazing personalities who have been afraid to express themselves. But you only live once. One life, that’s all you have. If you are a colourful person, why not show it in your hair colour, in the way you dress or in the glasses you wear? I think it’s important not to take life too seriously. I want to live life to the fullest and show the world who I am.”

Why did you start designing eyewear?
“I used to work as a sales manager in another company. When I complained to the designer, who was also the director, about the long time it took to get new models he said: ‘If you think it’s so easy, why don’t you try for yourself.’ So I faced the challenge and started one evening to draw at my kitchen table. The skills from my work as a teacher at the optometric school were very helpful, and I found out that I have a talent for drawing eyeglasses. It felt very natural to me.”

Annette Esto designer FLEYE glasses frames

 

So how was FLEYE founded?
“After a while, my two colleagues and I mustered up the courage to start on our own. We founded FLEYE, a new Danish design brand featuring feather-light eyewear in innovative colour combinations. We wanted to make glasses that make a difference when you wear them.”

What is your next adventure?

“As the first company in the world, we are now launching an eyewear collection in a mix of carbon fibre and wood. It will certainly be an adventure to follow the success of these eyeglasses. For me personally, my next adventure will be Aconcagua. This is the highest mountain in South America with its nearly 7000 m, and I want to climb it and reach the top.”

 

Annette and the team on Kilimanjaro