One scroll through Elisa Johnson’s Instagram page quickly reveals the entrepreneur’s acute sense of style — one that may start with a baggy pair of trousers and an oversized blazer, and quickly pivot to a draped mini-dress and heels. The common thread weaving together each unexpected look together? A pair of sunglasses. After years of sharing her instinctual knack for accessorizing online, the designer debuts her eponymous eyewear line Monday, hitting the ground running with five inaugural styles, each in two to three colorways.
From ultra-angular silver cat-eyes, to a thick-rimmed aviator, to a gold-finished metal frame, each style in the collection could stand completely on its own; the perfect marriage of classic, street and luxury. “I think I’ve always been an original,” Johnson tells ESSENCE. “I like to do things my own way, and I don’t really like following trends. I like to make the trends.”
As the daughter Los Angeles legend Magic Johnson, Johnson says her love for fashion rightfully started with her parents who were “their own fashionistas.” That general interest grew into the desire to understand the technicalities of the industry. And perhaps, it’s Johnson’s internship at Luxottica in the 10th grade, before heading on to graduate from MIT in 2018, that first foreshadowed the now birth of Elisa Johnson eyewear.
Once you’ve taken in each alluring style, you can’t help but to then notice the brand’s digestible price points, ranging from $115 to $145. Recognizing that not every consumer may have the means or desire to acquire sunglasses upwards of $300, affordable luxury was a non-negotiable for Johnson. “It was just something that came to my mind when I was designing and putting this together,” Johnson says. “I want to have a brand that looks amazing, but is also more accessible to everybody.”
With Johnson’s style front-and-center on social media, the entrepreneur’s dive into design for the first time would have, from the outside, made sense no matter the category of product. However, Johnson says her partiality for sunglasses started during childhood, first as a reaction to certain insecurities before growing simply into a love for styling them.
So whether you’re someone who gravitates to sunglasses for functionality, or if you keep a pair on hand (well, on face) from day to night, you’re bound to find a pair that fits seamlessly into your rotation. In fact, Elisa Johnson’s lenses come with a mild tint just for those ready to rock a pair after sundown.
Shop the styles from Elisa Johnson’s first collection here.