When Prince made a rare TV appearance on “Saturday Night Live” in November to perform with funk-rock trio 3rdEyeGirl, he looked every bit a rock star with a big Afro, black blazer and oversize sterling chains. But the most eye-catching part of his look was a pair of shades with three blue-tinted lenses — one for each eye, plus an extra for the mystical third eye thought to lie between the brows.When Prince needed creative custom shades for his recent album cover and an “SNL” performance, he turned to Coco & Breezy.SNL
The pop icon commissioned the funky frames — which he also sports on his album cover for “Art Official Age” — from Brooklyn-based indie brand Coco & Breezy.
“We have a mutual friend that told us, ‘Prince has been trying to get in touch with you guys for a while,’ ” says Corianna Dotson, who started her eyewear company with her twin sister, Brianna, in 2009. (Coco and Breezy are their nicknames.) “We were like, ‘Why in the world would Prince reach out to us?’ ”
It’s no wonder he chose the uber-hip duo to make the cool custom shades. In just a few short years, Coco & Breezy’s avant-garde specs have become a staple for fashion-forward celebs like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.
The 24-year-old identical sisters have come a long way since their first designs — embellished safety goggles they made for themselves to deter the jeers of high school bullies in Apple Valley, Minn.
“We would come into school and be greeted by mean notes kids would write on our lockers,” Corianna says. “When we wore our glasses, it became a way to block out people that would want to cause us harm or make fun of our style.”
The pair worked three part-time jobs each and doubled their high school course load so they could graduate early and move to New York. They turned down an offer to attend the Art Institute of Chicago and, at age 17, scraped together enough cash to rent a small room in Bushwick, Brooklyn.Coco (left) and Breezy at home in Bushwick, Brooklyn.Michael Sofronski
After getting compliments from passers-by on the street for the specs they designed for themselves by jazzing up plain frames with chains and beading, the duo decided to officially jump into the world of fashion.
They got their first big break when singer Ashanti wore a pair to the Hip Hop Honors in the summer of 2009 — after her stylist discovered the twins by word of mouth. Soon after, they launched their website, and a couple of months after that, Minaj was spotted sporting a pair.
“Nicki Minaj’s glasses were actually made on the air mattress that we slept on when we first came to New York,” Brianna says of the oversize black frames with gold-plated studs and metal chains.Left: Former “Fashion Police” host Kelly Osbourne was another early adopter of the funky sunnies — here, she rocks an edgy pair soon after the twins launched the company in 2009.
Today, the sisters sell their shades at NYC shops like Anthony Aiden Opticians and Specs (prices range from $120 to $275), and have a line of T-shirts on Amazon. With a staff that now includes eight employees, the twins have found their natural roles. Corianna gravitates toward the business end of things, while Brianna “has become more of the creative spirit,” Corianna says.
And, with nearly 60,000 Instagram followers and fans like Lady Gaga, Rita Ora and Kelly Osbourne, the company continues to grow, recently adding tote bags and bracelets to its offerings.
But the sisters still insist it’s the shades that make a look.
As Corianna puts it: “Our eyewear is the outfit and your clothing is the accessory.”
Credit for top photo: Corianna (far left) and Brianna Dotson are the identical twins behind celeb-favorite glasses line Coco & Breezy.Share this:
Let's block ads! (Why?)