Recognized as one of the preeminent designers in eyewear today, Blake Kuwahara is the founder and creative director of FOCUS GROUP WEST (FGW), the Los Angeles-based, multi-disciplinary boutique design firm that takes a comprehensive approach to branding and designing for eyewear and fashion companies. Kuwahara launched his exclusive eponymous collection of sunglasses and optical frames in Fall 2015.
Kuwahara, who also has a doctorate of optometry degree from UC Berkeley, first gained international acclaim as the creator and designer of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand. His groundbreaking use of engineering and production techniques to create texture and detail for KATA Eyewear reinvented the way eyewear design is approached today. He has also designed eyewear collections for Coach, Converse, Lucky Brand, Rock & Republic and for New York-based fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarafpour, and John Varvatos as well as a collection for the legendary haute couture Japanese fashion designer, Hanae Mori.
Kuwahara’s bold experimentation and innovation have gained him a following in the fashion media and has been profiled in Vogue, ELLE, Bazaar, GQ, In Style, and Esquire and has been seen on E!, Access Hollywood, MTV, and CNN. Buzz Magazine voted Kuwahara one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles” and Detour magazine called him, “a gifted talent, blessed with savvy and unmistakable sense of style.”
Kuwahara was also recently named by Brilliant Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important People in the Eyewear Industry”. A celebrity favorite, Kuwahara’s designs are worn by Questlove, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Casey Affleck, Slash, and Charlize Theron among many others.
Kuwahara has garnered a multitude of awards for his designs including “Best of Category in Consumer Products” from I.D. magazine and “Silmo d’Or – Prix Special Journalists de Mode” from a panel of French fashion journalists. Kuwahra has been nominated four times for the Silmo d’Or since launching his eponymous collection, winning in 2016 for Best Optical Design for the “KAHN”. Kuwahara is also a longstanding member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and is a founding member of the Vision Council of America (VCA) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force.