After chasing glasses designer Cao Wilde from Wilde Sunglasses for days while he walked through the jungle in Cambodia, we finally got in contact with him and managed to steal just a few minutes from him to ask the following…
Who is Cao Wilde?
“I’m a mix. I was born in Manchester, England, and lived there until I was ten. Then we moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where I stayed until I was 18. After that, I moved to Mérida -Venezuela, where I studied Systems Engineering & Computing, plus languages. I’ve always practiced extreme sports like climbing, triathlon, skydiving, skateboarding… After 5 years, I moved to Miami, where I worked as a graphic designer and web designer. Then I lived in Barcelona for 11 years, working for different brands, always involved in artistic and brand development.”
Is Cao your real name or a nickname?
“It’s my artistic name. When I returned from England to Venezuela, my cousins couldn’t call me Carlos Alberto. They started playing with words, and I ended up with Cao. Fifteen years ago, I added the last name, Wilde.”
Where are your parents from?
“Venezuela. Both were studying in England on a scholarship, but then they returned to work in Venezuela.”
What has your status as a “world citizen” added to your brand?
“I like to represent all of Latin America so that Europeans realize that Latin Americans are doing interesting projects and producing quality products that transcend time. We can become a reference. For me, that’s the most important work we are doing as a brand, to represent all Latinos.”
Wilde Sunglasses Stores
Where do you have stores?
“We’ve had 12 stores total. Right now, we have two in Barcelona, one in Madrid, one in Osaka, and another in Valencia -Venezuela.”
How did you end up in Japan?
“Japan has been a very important place for me in terms of inspiration. In fact, the brand, the concept, and the first models emerged when I was on my first trip to Tokyo. That’s where all the inspiration for the collection comes from. I always had the desire to open a space there, and life crossed paths with a friend, a Japanese guy named Teppei Kikugawa, who lives in Hiroshima, and I worked with him for five years. We always had the intention of opening a space, and the opportunity arose. It’s been a dream come true.”
Where does your passion for glasses come from?
“From Bono of U2. Since I was living in Venezuela, I was a fan of his work, and the character always wore glasses. So, I started collecting them. At that time, it was all about the skate movement, which was what reached Latin America the most, glasses from that era. Until I got to Europe, I understood the vintage movement and started connecting with all the big fashion houses like Christian Dior and Gucci. Then I started selecting pieces from the 50s and 60s, and that’s where my passion for brand development began.”
Name three iconic figures with glasses.
“Bono, Lenny Kravitz, and Alex Turner -the lead singer of Arctic Monkeys.”
The Madrid Flagship Store: Mind-Blowing
Tell us about how you decorated and arranged your store because… WOW!
“It’s a tribute to music because of my love for it. The project started because of my admiration for U2’s Bono, and when I moved to Europe, I began collecting cassette radios, which were objects that connected creatives. I created that environment within the glasses project, which has now merged with one of my passions, which is music, and our shared love for it. We have the glasses collection on the first floor, and downstairs, we record music sessions and create other content apart from production.”
So, do you own a record label?
“No. This is pure passion for music and support for my friends, clients, and artists who don’t have the space to produce a video or live music session. This space gives them the opportunity to record and document any musical situation they have in mind.”
Do you only design glasses for men?
“No, it’s a project for both girls and boys, a unisex line.”
Who do you design for?
“It’s very broad because we work with creatives, elite athletes, businesswomen, people related to technology, and professionals from many areas such as lawyers, engineers, doctors… Also, many elderly people love the project and design.”
Where are the glasses produced?
“The first production line is done in Barcelona, where we have our own workshop, and we do the entire production. It’s a completely family production born from the idea of making limited editions with the best possible quality so that the glasses last 20 years.”
Being such a spiritual person, what energy do you infuse into your products?
“It’s in the intention and the development of the amulet because our glasses are amulets. Everything that is tangible is energy, and we feed it with Palo Santo inside the store plus the frequencies of the music, and the salt lamps. It’s a whole ritual that we have created around the amulets of the collection so that they have the strength that each person carries with the models of the collection.”
Is there any sustainability aspect?
“Since 2008, I have been working with ecological, recycled, raw materials for all products.”
Does your brand have any social cause?
“For the past seven years, we have had a foundation called Milagro, in the city of Mérida, where I studied. We have adopted 26 girls whom we help with food.”
Famous Faces Wearing Wilde Sunglasses
Who are your most famous clients?
“Daniel Habib, Maluma, Tomás Rincón, Maickel Melamed, Karol G, Molotov, Spinetta, Franco de Vita, and Juanes.”
How does an independent brand reach celebrities?
“There are recognized people who are interested in brands that are not so well-known because they can offer visibility, you know. They are looking for exclusivity and a direct connection with the designer.”
A Bit of History
Do you know when sunglasses first appeared within humanity?
“In the ice age. People used bone glasses to shield themselves from the cold breeze. Later, the great emperors of China also started using magnifying glasses to see better and read, making them wiser.”
What do your glasses do for the self-esteem of those who wear them?
“They enhance self-love because taking care of what you’re looking at, which is your life, and taking care of your eyes is the most important thing. Especially when it’s a handmade product with a social mission behind it. All that creativity is a sign of self-love because you’ve chosen well.”
Do sunglasses serve to hide?
“Yes, because they give you a sense of security, that no one knows what you’re looking at, and you can be in private. They also hide if you have tired eyes and keep a certain distance from people who want to approach you.”
Is it true that everyone looks good in sunglasses?
“It all depends on the attitude!”
What’s next for Cao Wilde?
“I want to understand how technology patents are released so that glasses can carry information and take the brand into the realm of technology.”