South Korean-based dress eyewear creator Aggie Nam doesn’t see herself as a designer. Inspired by the internet, she views her customers as co-creators and thinks her designs only take life (or flight) once they wear them. “I don’t feel like any of my products belong to me,” she explains. “I get inspired by what’s already been done and made by others.”
Her brand, GODSOMEWARE’s signature “butterfly sunglasses” have gained large traction over Instagram. The ultimate definition of dress eyewear, they are beautiful but impractical “accessories for the eyes” that global customers can’t wait to take photos with.
Her products are available through her Etsy store, and she's found that 80 percent of her customers are based in the US. Nam’s other design, “Third Eye Protection,” even caught the attention of Janelle Monae, who wore them to the 2019 Met Gala after party.
i-D caught up with Nam to talk about the nature-inspired glasses that are steadily growing viral.
Tell me a bit about your background.
I was born in Freiburg, Germany. I was a normal kid with nothing special. I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere because in Germany, I was the only Asian kid in my class, and when I’m in Korea people treat me differently because I’m from Germany. I was a good student and a good daughter because I was trying to live my life the way my parents wanted me to.
How did you become interested in fashion and design? Did you study it?
Sometimes I ask myself if I'm interested in fashion because I'm still not sure if I am or not. I love what I do now, but I don’t consider myself a fashion designer, an artist or anything fashion related. Honestly, I’ve never been interested in fashion. It wasn’t important to me but Instagram has helped change my thoughts about fashion. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. Maybe I'll walk away from this and do something totally opposite again.
When did you start creating sunglasses?
It was around 2017 when I saw Jzhong's flaming shades on Instagram and I immediately fell in love with them. I literally had my alarm set to buy the meteor glasses and it was sold out so fast. So I decided to make my own version of it and I made a thunder shaped glasses. At that time, I had about 100 followers and just decided to start sharing some of my drawings on my Instagram account.
What is the design process like and how do you create them?
I take a lot of inspiration from works by a lot of people I see online. I spend a lot of time watching videos and looking at pictures of fauna, flora, and insects. I take ideas from various things online and incorporate them into mine, adding upon them to make them better or mixing them in my own way. I use the broken pieces during the process of making the products to make something new.
Where did you get the idea for butterfly sunglasses?
Through a random coincidence. I am influenced by my own product in whatever way it evolves. Before the butterfly glasses I made a fly wing glasses. I was looking for black acrylics to make black fly wings instead of clear ones, but later I realized that the black ones wasn't pretty enough to use for the fly wing glasses. I could throw them out but instead I played with them. When I overlapped two different color acrylics they made the shape of a butterfly. It was a magical combination that wasn't my intention. I almost feel like there is someone who came inside me and made that.
And where did the name GODSOMWEAR come from?
I think that process was a fitting process for my brand name. There are three meanings in the GODSOMWEAR: God that exists somewhere, a thing that occurred as God insisted, and I got it from somewhere. That is, God, not me, has made it through me. God here is not the God of the religious meaning that we generally understand. Instead, it represents energy of some sort because I am interested in all human-made religions, but I am an atheist. It represents a thing that was brought to the world through me with some sort of energy. It can be likened to the birth of a butterfly.
What kind of response have you had?
The reaction to the new product was so much better than what I had imagined. There were many people who wanted to buy them but they were just poorly made and were no value as products. It was really hard for me to make them and took me over four months to develop into the product that I can actually sell.
Why do you choose to sell only on Etsy?
I didn't have money and enough time to make my own website in the beginning. Since English is not my first language I was looking for a place that has information in Korean. I needed to ship my products internationally and Etsy was the only online marketplace that I found.
How does it feel to see people in your creations?
The creators who give new life to my products. It's like a puzzle. My product is a piece of a puzzle and the creators put it together with other pieces and to make them into a complete picture. Almost all of my sunglasses have the shapes of animals they’re just things before someone gives them a purpose. Every time when I see my customers wearing my sunglasses they look so alive especially the butterfly ones almost look like they’re flying.
Translation by Ruda Lee.