A keen eye for design

Tari JeffersBusselton Dunsborough Times
Manjimup Specsavers optometrist Emma Dowding is so proud of her achievement in designing glasses that will be sold in stores across Australia.
Camera IconManjimup Specsavers optometrist Emma Dowding is so proud of her achievement in designing glasses that will be sold in stores across Australia. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times/Sophie Elliott

It has clearly been an eye-opening experience for a Busselton optometrist to win a glasses designing competition and have her design available in stores across Australia and New Zealand.

Busselton Specsavers partner Emma Dowding won a competition within the Australian and New Zealand Specsavers Group to have her designs made into a limited edition item.

In designing glasses, Emma said her inspiration was to make frames that she would wear every day.

“I have now turned 40 and wear glasses more often,” she said.

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“I’ve worn glasses for 25 years and I wanted something I would wear now.”

Emma’s Meryl and Ked designs went on sale on Thursday and she said it was surreal to think her designs were on display alongside designers such as Alex Perry, Carla Zampatti and Marc Jacobs.

The Meryl design is so named because Emma took inspiration from Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada and the Ked design is a tribute to Emma’s daughter Katie.

“She’s very excited about that,” Emma said.

It has been a long-time coming for Emma to see her creations come to life, with the competition originally being held two years ago.

The designs were among 40 finalists across the Specsavers group.

“When it came down to the final four finalists, they were published in the Specsavers magazine for people to choose,” Emma said.

“Mine was selected on design and its potential to be a favourite in stores.”

During the design and fabrication process, Emma was able to travel over east to do work on prototypes and refine the concept.

Emma selected a nude-coloured frame for the Meryl design as a way to appeal to her target audience of women her age and older.

“We find that ladies like nude or black frames because they want glasses that match a variety of outfits,” she said.

“The nude colour means they can also wear a bold lip colour without drawing attention away.

“And I wanted a little bit of bling to have style without drawing attention.”

Emma’s passion in patchwork quilting has been reflected in the Meryl frame’s chrome metallic quilted temples, which is a consistent feature across both the optical and sun glass styles.

“I incorporated a part of what I love to do into the designs – quilting and patchwork,” she said.

“The embossed diamond pattern on the temple is a classic quilting pattern, which can also be found on clothing, in textiles and homewares and I thought it would be the perfect feature on a pair of glasses.”

Emma said she was looking forward to walking down the street and seeing women wearing her designs.

“I’ve always wanted to do this but the opportunity had never been there,” she said.

“If the door ever opened again, I would walk through it, absolutely.

“I have to thank Specsavers for their support, it’s not often we get to do fun and different stuff like this.”

Designing glasses in not an opportunity usually available in entering optometry, but Emma said she loved her job.

“It’s lifesaving, it’s the best job,” she said.

She encouraged young people to consider optometry as a career option because it helped people and provided a lot of job opportunities.

Emma also owns a half share in Manjimup Specsavers.

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