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The Innovators: Hisham Baroocha on Guest Designed Sunglasses

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It's hard to say what Hisham Bharoocha is best known for: his spectacularly colorful (if provocative) collages, large-scale art installations, sophisticated photography, or perhaps his impressive music career, which includes stints with Providence-based Black Dice and, more recently, Soft Circle.

Now, Bharoocha is adding fashion to his resume with a project that fuses eyewear and high-art. Dubbed "Phosphorescence," the company invites fashion personalities, musicians, artists and architects to guest design their ultimate pair of sunnies.

"One of my goals since I've lived [in New York] has been to connect people in all creative mediums whether it's visual art, music, fashion, design of all sorts, because I am interested in all of them," explains Bharoocha, who founded the company after being approached by a Japanese manufacturer who "wanted to do something more art-related with eye wear."

The result is a diverse collection of sunglass shapes that represent the aesthetic tastes of their makers, including Erin Wasson, Maria Cornejo, Opening Ceremony's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, and legendary musician Kim Gordon, a founding member of Sonic Youth.

Asked how the designers' distinct personalities come through in the finished product, Bharoocha sees a clear visual connection. "Zero + Maria Cornejo shows her elegant, streamlined, modern architectural design sense, Kim Gordon's design looks like something she would wear on a summer stage at a festival, No Age's look like a cross between LA Cholo style sunglasses with a more fashionable edge--and so on."

While he busies himself recruiting new collaborators (fingers crossed for custom David Bowie or Keith Richards sunnies), Bharoocha is also developing a core collection of styles to round out the collection. "I love all our Titanium and Beta Titanium frames, as they have a classic design but use high tech materials which makes them unbelievably comfortable. They are super light and you feel like you aren't wearing anything."

Of course, some of his ideal collaborators are, sadly, already six-feet-under. "If I could bring some people back from the dead to do some collaborations they would be Steve McQueen, Michael Jackson, Malcom X, Jackie Onassis, and Andy Warhol to name a few," he says. "But since a time machine hasn't been invented yet I will keep those people as inspiration."

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