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April 19 2014

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A New Eyewear Line Feels The Freeway

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There aren’t too many people lining up to celebrate the L.A. Freeway. But for his new optical line, Alex Israel wanted something emblematically Californian. Short of the Hollywood sign, there’s not much more iconic than that. “One of my main focuses and interests as an artist is the tradition and history of Southern California, and in the creation of a specific kind of a regional aesthetic that’s very much related to the landscape,” the USC Fine Arts graduate explains. And when the time came to pick a girl to model for the six hand-carved styles for the Anthony Friedkin-lensed lookbook, Israel went with someone he considered a true Angelena (a current residence in NYC notwithstanding): Harley Viera-Newton. “You can always take the girl out of L.A., but you can’t take the L.A. out of the girl,” he said of the DJ-turned-model. “Harley has this kind of amazing sophistication and carefree spirit that kind of embodies the ethos of Southern California.” (He might’ve discovered it years earlier. As they discovered, Israel and Viera-Newton had gone to the same L.A. high school.) That’s a low-effort cool that should translate well within SoCal and without. The frames—available in black, gray, and white, in both matte and glossy finishes—are understated, chic, and (perhaps most surprisingly) $100.

Freeway Eyewear is available at its Web site, The Smile, and Gagosian Shop in NYC, and Maxfield in L.A.

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