Happy Holidays!

All of us at Focus Group West wish you the best during this holiday season. 
Here's to a safe, successful, and happy 2010.

 We will be spending the next few weeks with our family and friends and will resume blog updates in January.  Happy Holidays!!

Window Displays; John Lum featured on


by Ana Montoya

Drawing lots of customers into the store is something every shopkeeper wants and sunglass retailers are no exception. There’s no better way to do this than with enticing window displays. Here are some tips from a few merchandising experts on how to do this.

Various studies have shown that about one in four people who stop to look at a window display go into the store, and often buy some-thing. And something that is showcased in a window is three times more likely to be sold than one on display inside the store. The odds are with you—the better your display, the more you’ll sell.

The first step is to decide on a theme or concept and stay true to it. This can be built around, for example, a season or brand, geo-metric or color idea, or announce-ment of a sale. John Lum, Architect of Focus Group West, an eyewear branding and design company, offers some advice: “You can decide to emphasize the modernity of the sunwear and follow up by using simple cubes to display it. Super-cute window displays don’t give seriousness to the shop—it’s better to err on the professional side.”

“A window should always be eye-catching and inspirational,” says Brian Wolcovitch, Director of Design of Modular Design Systems, Inc., a company that specializes in optical office and dispensary design. 

Photo Courtesy of Focus Group West

“Keep it simple,” says Wolcovitch. “Put out the best of the best of whatever product line(s) you’re promoting,” he adds. Interior de-signer Barbara Wright of Barbara Wright Design, a specialist in optometric offices, also speaks to the idea of “less is more.” “Having space around the frame helps attract attention. It shows that the item has a lot of value,” says Wright. “I like to use floating boxes with only one or two frames floating on cables that can be adjusted up or down.”


To set off the sunglasses, use materials that contrast with the frames. “Shopping bags are perfect props—they have color and a brand name on them,” asserts Wright. Manufacturer posters and countercards also offer a good background. Lum suggests using intense lighting that focuses on the sunwear while Wolcovitch says that halogen lights have the best color-rendering properties.

You can either hire an interior design specialist or choose someone on your staff who has a design sensibility to match the product with the window display. Encourage her to look at great displays in your area for ideas and to also think about what kind of display would attract her to a store. In addition, sunglass manufacturers offer P-O-P materials that you can use; ask the reps to recommend what has worked for others. Wolcovitch suggests photographing each window you do so you have a portfolio of what has achieved results for you.

When to put up a new display depends on your success rate with the existing one—it can be weekly, monthly, or seasonally—and on how heavily trafficked your store is. What you want to do is to show off what you have to give potential buyers—a reason to come in for a look. Sunglasses are often an impulse buy, so you want to be sure and have a display that will grab your potential customers’ attention.

Lum sums it up: “If a display is carefully put together, it means that the store cares about their customers, it exudes quality.”

Check out more great articles on

Who Is: Blake Kuwahara

In our ongoing interview series, Dana Palmer gets some one-on-one time with Blake Kuwahara, Founder of Focus Group West.  Read on to hear about his path from psychobiology to designer, what inspires him in the fashion world, and perhaps some tips on just what to do if you need to spruce up your image.  
DP: So, I know that you originally studied Psychobiology before moving into Optometry.  Tell our readers how this happened.

BK: I’ve always been interested in science and had received a grant from The Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Southern California my last year in high school to study the effects of a certain corticosteroid on tooth development.  The practical applications were in the understanding and correcting of cleft palates.  My final paper was selected for a national competition which I presented at Princeton, and I thought at that point that I would enter the field of dentistry.  Very quickly I decided that that wasn’t the career path for me and decided instead to go into optometry instead since it had the perfect combination of science and fashion.  Getting my BS degree in Psychobiology at UCLA allowed me to fulfill the requirements to get into Optometry School at UC Berkeley.

DP: What prompted the change to designing eyewear?

BK: Honestly, it was a little crazy-making being in a dark room for the better part of 8 hours.  As much as I loved working with my patients, I actually liked being in the dispensary with the frames better.  A friend of mine found an ad in the LA Times for a position with Liz Claiborne Optics looking for someone who had an optical background and an interest in fashion to work as a forecaster.  I thought it was the perfect job for me.  As it turned out, the Creative Director was going on maternity leave and rather than the forecaster position, they instead offered me the opportunity to become Creative Director for the company!  It was a wild leap of faith but one that put me on the path of designing eyewear.  Needless to say, my parents were a bit confused why I would give up all those years of school to get into the design field, but they supported me 100%, and it’s turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made.

DP: So, tell me more about how Focus Group West was started:

BK:  The concept of founding a creative collective was something that I thought about several years ago.  For the most part, eyewear companies don’t approach brands or bring product to market in a comprehensive way.  Just look at how eyewear brands are generally represented at point of sale- there are obvious disconnects.  I wanted to establish a resource that would integrate product development, marketing, retail presentations and the way brands are promoted under one roof.  That’s why we have eyewear designers, graphic designers, architects and public relations specialists on our team.  Each of us works on our specific area of expertise, but we approach projects comprehensively and work together to make sure that all of the elements are properly coordinated and tell a singular story.  As the retail environment is becoming more and more crowded and competitive, it’s critical to communicate a clear, immediate, and consistent message to the consumer.

DP: What eyewear trends do you see developing?

BK: I think that the recent economic conditions are forcing consumers to look for good price-value relationships and this is driving design houses to actually focus on design and quality of workmanship.  Consumers aren’t going to split with their cash for something ordinary- they want something that is compelling and well-thought out.  Just slapping a logo on a temple isn’t enough anymore. The consumer is (thankfully!) smarter than that now.  And, given the times, “understated sophistication” will be one of the leading trends in the next few seasons.

DP: What inspires you creatively when you design?

BK: It’s all about nuance and soul.  Since eyewear is something that is worn on the face, and we have such little real estate to work with, we have to work in very subtle ways.  Anything – from furniture to jewelry design to architecture that uses subtlety to achieve interesting design and creates character without being over-designed is inspiring to me.  There’s nothing more inspiring than to browse through a flea market looking for interesting yet humble objects that possess what the Japanese refer to as “wabi sabi”.

DP: Is there a particular era and/or style of eyewear that you like most?

BK:  I think that the 30’s was a particularly chic time for eyewear.  Acetates were just becoming used with more frequency in rich ambers, tortoises and crystal.  Shapes were smaller and distinctive but still complemented the face.  Metal frames were really well crafted with great filigree details and made in fine gauge gold-filled wire.  Also, there was a trend towards green lenses which I’ve always been partial to.

DP: How a bout a popular trend that you would like to see disappear?

BK:  There are a few!  Neon anything and rhinestones.  There’s nothing flattering about having neon colored frames on your face- it just screams bad taste.  There are several brands that think the more crap you put on a frame the better.  To me, it’s just more crap.  And, the Wayfarer.  People wear it to be cool, but how cool are you when you look just like a million others on the street wearing the same frame?  So to me, the absolute worst is a neon colored Wayfarer with stones!

DP: BUZZ Magazine voted you one of the "100 Coolest People in Los Angeles."  What is your definition of "cool"?

BK: I think that what’s cool is thinking outside the box, going against the grain and finding success and happiness in that.

DP: Tell our readers about your personal style.

BK: I think that my personal style- both in what I wear and where I live is about creating visual balance by combining opposite aesthetics.  Mixing modern with vintage pieces; western with eastern; sleek with textural.

DP: Is there an easy guide to keeping up with trends and sprucing up someone's look for a new season?

BK:  Well, I guess the expected answer would be to throw on a great pair of sunglasses and call it a day!  But, I would add to that great accessories.  It can be an interesting belt, a signature ring, a piece of ethnic jewelry or a vintage handbag that you picked up at a flea market.  If none of that works - get a new haircut!

DP: In terms of fashion, what designers or brands do you enjoy?

BK:  I’m really enjoying seeing a new generation of Japanese designers emerge- Kiminori Morishita, The Viridi-anne, Attachment, Shellac, and Shared Spirit.  They all spend a lot of energy and effort paying attention to all of the little details like trim, threads, buttons, and textiles that American and even European designers fail to do.

DP: As a designer, what would be your dream project?

BK: I’d love the opportunity to design a men's wear collection.  I’ve designed eyewear to go with fashion never the apparel itself.  I think it would be really liberating not to be limited to just designing two eye rims and two temples!!

For more information about the Doctor/Designer, visit the Focus Group West website.  Be sure to check out the additional group profiles on FGW public relations specialist Niki Ostin and fellow designer Thomas Ferguson.  Stay tuned for more.


Thomas Ferguson: Top Secret Assignment

 Focus Group West's very own Thomas Ferguson just shot a special eyewear education segment for an upcoming TV show premiering in January 2010.   


We can't yet divulge the details but be sure to check back.  

We will post updates soon!


Not Just Vision features Blake and Thomas in the top 100

click image above to view

Special thanks to Not Just Vision and Dick van der Niet

Focus Group West in Paris

"An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris." - Nietzsche 

Coming Soon - Silmo Trends and how to incorporate them into your Fall 2009 eyewear wardrobe.

Who Is: Thomas Ferguson - Part 1 and Part 2

Our interview series continues with Thomas Ferguson of Focus Group West.

The Place: Los Angeles lunch spot, Tart Restaurant

Clad in a casual dark jeans/t-shirt look (and great sunglasses) Thomas looked like a celebrity incognito as we dashed into the restaurant of his choice for a quick drink and some nachos. It’s obvious that Thomas has great taste and an understated sense of style that always seems just right for the occasion. I found myself wanting to drill him on trends, movies, music, and of course, what I was wearing. Refraining from the latter (just to be on the safe side), we got into a great conversation about his work with FGW, history in eyewear, and on what he finds inspiring.

DP: Since everyone in LA seems to be a transplant, I always ask interviewees: What brought you out to Los Angeles?

TF: Well, coincidentally, this actually is my 10th year here. I celebrated over the weekend. It’s been a long and interesting 10 years. I moved out in creative pursuits and stumbled upon a part-time job, working for a small eyewear company doing PR and things took off from there. I ended up becoming a licensed Optician and became an assistant manager at a large chain dispensary. Within no time, I found myself as full-time manager with my own store. Next thing I knew, I was moving on to REM to venture into the wholesale side of the business and found myself drawn to the creative aspects of design and development. One thing lead to another and 10 years later here we are.

DP: How did you end up doing what you are doing?

TF: I started working as a design assistant for Blake about 4 years ago.  It was for the launch of Carolina Herrera Eyewear and John Varvatos Eyewear for Base Curve (a luxury division of the REM Eyewear in Los Angeles). After an intense year of design assistant work and Blake’s mentoring, I took on some of my own projects, some private label, and started developing product from there. I then became the Manager of Product Development for REM, became the lead designer of Lucky Brand Spectacles and Sunglasses, continued working on private label brands, as well as with John (Varvatos, that is) and Mrs. Herrera.

DP: So you and Blake must work well creatively.

TF: He’s been doing this for years and I had the opportunity to learn a lot from him. The respect we have for each other’s opinions makes us a good team in terms of working on different projects together. As a result, when he decided to create FGW, he asked me to take on the role of designer and developer for Focus Group West.


Behind the Lens: FGW Photo Shoot

As most of you know, FGW sponsors an online blog called The Aesthetic Omnivore. Part of the blog is dedicated to creating and showcasing original content in the form of photo essays and fashion editorial spreads. As part of the original content for our blog and to art direct our new Focus Group West brochure, we teamed up with our architect John Lum and a San Francisco-based photographer Philip Harvey for our first Focus Group West Fashion Shoot.

Check out some behind-the-scenes shots from shoot day:

Thomas (FGW) fitting (model) Khrystyna with eyewear.
Blake and Becky (FGW) collaborate with photographer Philip Harvey and team.
FGW's Heather talks to (model) Corey while he's prepped by Veronica Sjoen with hair and makeup.
Stylist Deborah Dapalito makes last minute changes on Corey.
Models Khrystyna and Gregory Peralta (from Look Model Agency) hard at work with photographer Philip Harvey and FGW team.
Blake, Heather, Becky, & Thomas - the FGW team hard at work.
Getting a first look at some shots of the day.
Gregory with Corey and photography assistant Mark taking in the SF views.
Blake with Becky reviewing the set up of a shot.
And then the long day was over. Deborah and Veronica finally getting a break.

A big "thank you" goes out to everyone who helped make this possible:

Arthur from The Archive - San Francisco
Sheri from Metier - San Francisco
Jeremy from John Varvatos - San Francisco
Ron from Herco Jewelry
Deborah Dapalito (stylist)
Veronica Sjoen (Hair and Makeup)
Grooming Products: MAC , KRONOS , RAW Natural Beauty , & Redpoint
Philip Harvey and photography team
Models - Corey, Dominic, Rebecca, Khrystyna & Greg
Jada and Al - Look Model Agency

Daniel and Stuart for opening their home to the entire group


Be sure to check The Aesthetic Omnivore often for updated post and for the debut of our original online photo essay, coming soon!


Publicizing Eyewear Brands

RPattz in a custom John Varvatos Sunglass

Insight on Public Relations and promoting eyewear brands by our very own Niki Ostin.
See the full article at The Optical Vision Site


Optical Edge - Design and Merchandising

Our renowned architect John Lum is featured on The Optical Vision Site sharing his expertise on dispensary design and merchandising.

Check it out here:

Who Is: Niki Ostin

In the first of an ongoing interview series, we catch up with Niki Ostin, PR Extraordinaire in Focus Group West.

I had the chance to chat with her while she was at her office in Los Angeles. In true public relations style, her familiar charm and friendly personality puts you at ease right away.

Niki moved to Los Angeles about 11 years ago after falling in love with the city during summer internships away from her native Montreal. Her persistence landed her a job at FOX as a PR assistant, which turned out to be the perfect fit. It was during this job she learned the ropes and knew she wanted to continue in the field. Now the head of her own company, she brings a well-rounded expertise to the group. I talked with her about her start, her take on PR, and where she is headed with Focus Group West.

DP: So, every story has a beginning…what’s yours?

NO: After working for FOX as a PR assistant, I went on to do PR for TV shows, Trading Spaces on TLC is one, and for consumer products such as fashion, accessories, and restaurants. The goal was to learn about as many different areas as I could. Then about a year and a half ago, I left my job at the time and I started my own company, PR Lab. Again I did consumer products, mainly working with brands that wanted to get into the entertainment arena that aren’t really entertainment brands so to speak. For example we do eyewear brands, jewelry brands, and getting celebrity product placements. The greatest part is, it’s always interesting, never boring.

DP: Why Public Relations?

NO: It was by chance that I ended up in PR when I was looking for internships, I didn’t even know what department I wanted to go into. I stuck with it because everyday I come into the office and have my to do list and something else always pops up. I don’t get to my list because everyday is completely different and unexpected, in a good way.

DP: Do you prefer working with consumer products versus publicity or promotion?

NO: It was important to me to expand and not pigeon hole myself in one field. For example health care is big one year, and then something comes up the next year, so you want to be able to go where the opportunities are. My clients like the fact that I can work with different types of products in different fields so there are more opportunities for cross promotion. I like to partner my clients together for different events and opportunities. For example award show suites. I can showcase jewelry, things from spa clients, or other types of consumer products to be part of the gift bags, all in one event.

DP: For people who might not know what goes into building a PR plan, what are the steps you take for your clients?

NO: Well once I have a client, the first step is to ask what their goals are. Is it press coverage? Is it to get a celebrity wearing your product? Is it more to do with a launch event? Once we establish their goals, I put together a time line detailing the activities and all of my initiatives on their behalf. We spend a lot of time together, and I get to know both their brand really well and the competition’s brand, because that is so important. Then we move forward based on the categories we established. Usually that means media relations, especially during this economy. It is really important for people to stand out from the clutter and really promote themselves well.

DP: When you meet with a client and you start to get to know their brand, how much of your personal style are you allowed to utilize while creating the plan?

NO: I’d like to insert my personal style and personality, but it is most important to pay attention to what the client wants. I think what is most important is to realize the client is coming to you for a PR plan. They want your council and your advice, so it’s a two way street. You listen to them and they really listen to you as well. You want to make sure the best comes from both parties, because your reputation is on the line too. I really feel strongly about daily communication with my clients, so everyone’s input creates the best outcome.

DP: Thinking about your style and what your clients want, how do current trends affect your plans?

NO: Definitely when people see a product in a big magazine, a key magazine with a high circulation it’s still important for people. When they see a celebrity wearing a specific eyewear style or brand, people ask about it. Celebrity for better or worse, is still a really important component of public relations. Also a credible writer or media source, is just as important in terms of making people aware of different products. It’s always important to be up to date with the different media outlets out there. You have to stay on top of current trends and the media. The press tends to focus on a group of 10 –15 celebrities, so just knowing who is in the media more and following them, when they get married, when they get divorced, when they have babies. In my field you really need to stay on top of what people are interested so you can better serve your client.

DP: Besides staying on top of current trends, what’s happening now that peaks your interest?

NO: Right now I’m into a lot of music. My playlist includes: Santigold, Coldplay, and The Fray.

DP: Now getting to your current business: What is your role in FGW? How did you get involved with the team?

NO: I met Blake and Thomas years ago when I handled public relations for John Varvatos Eyewear and Carolina Herrera Eyewear. They were working together on both brands at the time. We kept in touch, and when they were thinking of launching Focus Group West they approached me about dealing with the public relations portion for their clients. I thought it would be a great idea. I really think this is the way businesses are going to be structured, especially in this economic climate, with consultants and freelancers grouping together for different projects. It’s the idea of getting people with different expertise together in one group to make things more cost effective for the client. That’s how it happened, and I think it’s going to be really great.

In addition to collaborating with Focus Group West, Niki Ostin works with consumer brands including Platinum Guild International and Baxter of California. She looks forward to continuing her work with FGW.


The Sum of All Parts

Now that we know what they can do, let’s get to know a bit more about who they are.

Over the next few months, I will bring you a closer look at each member of this award-winning group of experts. With a Q&A style format, we can dish on their inspiration, creativity, and how they became a part of the FGW family.

This is your chance to get the scoop on Blake, Thomas, Niki, John, Becky, and Heather without having to buy them dinner or drinks!!

Coming Soon: Niki Ostin talks about her past, future, and what goes into creating just the right PR plan for her clients.

Dana Palmer

Dana Palmer is a guest blogger for Focus Group West. She is an English teacher that hails from Culver City, California. As an avid art & music enthusiast, she is a welcome addition to the blog.


Branding Your Eyecare Office

Our very own Becky Chan and Heather Chan are featured on The Optical Vision Site discussing how proper branding is the key to creating the right identity for your company.


Eyewear Trends: Summer/Fall 2009

Our very own Thomas Ferguson is featured on The Optical Vision Site with his take on upcoming eyewear trends for this summer and fall.
Check it out here:

FGW in 20/20 Magazine


How Eyewear Gets Designed

Our very own Blake Kuwahara is featured on The Optical Vision Site with an insightful article about how eyewear is designed.
Check it out here:


Blake Kuwahara Launches New Collaborative Design Collective West Hollywood, CA (June 1, 2009) - Award-winning eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara is launching a new collaborative design collective, Focus Group West, a multi-disciplinary company designed to service various segments of the optical industry. Kuwahara recently resigned from his position as VP, Creative Director for REM Eyewear ...
full article here

coming soon: fgw abroad

We've been traveling for the past few weeks and accumulating some fun pics and inspiration along the way. Stay tuned for future posts about our adventures in Hong Kong, China, and Japan!


“Just like finding the best romantic match, picking the perfect pair of sunglasses follows the same rule of thumb 'Opposites Attract',” says eyewear expert Blake Kuwahara, owner of Focus Group West eyewear consultancy in Los Angeles. Here, he and other eyewear experts offer advice for common face shapes.

Thanks Corie!

View Here:


website launch


"Especially now with the economy in the state that it is in, people need to sharpen their game and differentiate themselves," said eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara, founder of Focus Group West. FULL STORY


the group

blake kuwahara

Recognized as one of the preeminent designers in eyewear today, he is an optometrist and member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and has been recognized internationally for his creation of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand that was based on the philosophy of “simple shapes and forms from everyday surroundings.”

He has most recently worked with celebrated designers John Varvatos and Carolina Herrera on their current eyewear collections and has designed eyewear for Isaac Mizrahi, Hanae Mori, Behnaz Sarafpour as well as for iconic brands such as Converse, Liz Claiborne, and Jones New York.

He has garnered a multitude of awards for his designs including “Best of Category in Consumer Products” from I.D. magazine and the “Silmo d’Or – Prix Special Journalists de Mode” and nominated for Silmo’s highest honor for Technology and Fashion on three separate occasions. In addition, Blake’s bold experimentation has gained him a following in the fashion media being profiled in ELLE, Bazaar, GQ, In Style, and Vogue and has made appearances on E!, Access Hollywood, and MTV.


Beginning his design career as Assistant to award-winning designer and CFDA Member, Blake Kuwahara, he cut his teeth on brands like John Varvatos Eyewear and Carolina Herrera Eyewear. His awareness of fashion, trends, and the eyewear market led him to take on the role of Lead Designer for Lucky Brand Spectacles as well as various house brands and private labels including Rock & Republic.

Having worked with numerous designers, stylists & celebrities and as a former ABO Certified Optician and dispensary manager, Thomas has developed a clear aesthetic sensibility and a keen understanding of style and brand differentiation.

His eyewear designs have been featured in InStyle, Redbook, Allure and trade publications such as WWD Accessories and 20/20 Magazine.


Based in San Francisco, John established his firm in 1994. He’s developed a signature style that combines the rationality and rigorous detailing of Modernism with the warmth and humanism of artistic intuition.

His groundbreaking work for Urban Eyes Optometry won him an Interiors Magazine award and SF American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) award. Due to this recognition, he has become an expert in optometric practices, and has designed over 18 practices to date.

By combining rational thinking and an artistic eye, John creates a unique vision for each client while maximizing functionality and efficiency. As a licensed Architect, he is familiar with the practical side of construction such as building codes and processes, budgets, detailing, and contractors, providing full architectural services if required.

John is also known for his award-winning, high-end retail, restaurant, club interiors and innovative residential projects. He is a Certified Green Building Professional, seeking to make all of his projects more efficient, healthier, and less detrimental to the environment. His designs have been featured in 20/20 Magazine, Interior Design, CH&D, and numerous book publications.


Specializing in media relations, stylist & celebrity seeding, and newsworthy events, Niki brings over a decade of public relations experience in the entertainment, luxury, and consumer lifestyle categories. She has coordinated award-winning campaigns for top brands such as

Carolina Herrera Eyewear, John Varvatos Eyewear, Platinum Guild International USA, Kahlua, Crate & Barrel, Jamba Juice, Hollywood Life Magazine, FOX Broadcasting Company and TLC, just to name a few.

Having worked at top ranking companies including Clifford PR, Euro RSCG Magnet, and FOX Broadcasting Company, Niki is now at the helm of PR Lab, a full-service public relations firm based in Los Angeles.

With a degree in English/Cultural Studies, additional education in Film and TV, and her knowledge of entertainment publicity, she has been lecturing at UCLA for the past five years. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society.

becky chan & heather chan

As sisters, they loved creating art during their childhood, and after successful careers – Heather as a Creative Director at CMP Media and Becky as an Art Director for Wired Magazine – they collaborated once again to form their own graphic design firm.

From mom-and-pop shops to multi-national high-tech corporations, they design highly effective and successful brand identities, marketing collateral, print media, websites, packaging, and retail campaigns. They've created projects for a variety of industry leaders including Conde Nast, Sony, Jaguar, Gymboree, and Intel, and others. Their designs have been published in Print Magazine.

The integrity of their work is based upon respecting each client as unique and individual. Armed with a keen understanding of graphic nuances and a progressive design aesthetic, they create innovative branding solutions to best promote each company.

Blake Kuwahara Launches New Collaborative Design Collective:
Focus Group West

Press Release
March 18, 2009

West Hollywood, CA—Award-winning eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara is launching a new collaborative design collective, Focus Group West, a multi-disciplinary company designed to service various segments of the optical industry. Kuwahara recently resigned from his position as VP, Creative Director for REM Eyewear and Base Curve where he held this post for 5 1/2 years.

Focus Group West will be specializing in both product development and branding for the eyewear markets and beyond. “We believe there is a void in the marketplace for a creative resource that can provide design and branding services for not only wholesalers and fashion houses, but to independent optometrists and retailers as well,” Kuwahara said. “Focus Group West will serve as a hub for the interaction between product, graphic and interior designers, architects, and public relations specialists to design, develop and promote product, interior spaces and create brand identity for eyewear and fashion companies.”

Kuwahara will be joined by former colleague Thomas Ferguson who will be serving as key eyewear designer. Additionally, architect John Lum, who gained notoriety for his now iconic Urban Eyes dispensary design will be working with Focus Group West to offer his architectural services to all clients. Graphic designers Heather Chan and Becky Chan, whose expertise is in branding and corporate identity development, will head up the graphic design division. And rounding off the group, Niki Ostin of PR Lab, who handled the launch of Carolina Herrera Eyewear and John Varvatos Eyewear and works with top accessory, fashion, and entertainment brands will be overseeing public relations campaigns for clients of Focus Group West.

Focus Group West is currently discussing potential projects with clients both within and outside the eyewear industry. “The launch of Focus Group West comes at a time when retailers and wholesalers need to sharpen their game to bring to market product that will resonate with consumers and speak to the essence of the brand," Ferguson said. “A product line has to be at its strongest to survive and thrive in today’s market.” Kuwahara went on to say, “It’s our job and responsibility to take ownership of a brand and work hand-in-hand with our client and their licensors to make sure the identity and continuity of a collection remains strong and effective.”

Kuwahara, a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is also an optometrist. He left his private practice in Manhattan Beach, CA for more creative endeavors and was the creator of KATA Eyewear, which was a favorite amongst celebrities and fashion editors alike. In addition to his signature collection, Kuwahara designed and launched the eyewear collections for John Varvatos, Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, and Hanae Mori. He also has designed for such iconic brands as Liz Claiborne, Jones New York, and Converse as well as producing runway pieces for New York designer Behnaz Sarafpour and Rock & Republic.

Ferguson, a former optician, was the lead designer and Product Development Manager for REM’s Lucky Brand Spectacles collection and numerous house and private label brands for the company including work on the collections for John Varvatos, Carolina Herrera, and Rock & Republic.

Additional Information can be found at:

Press Contact:
Niki Ostin