Dan Levy, Emmy-winning writer, director, and actor known for his role on Schitt’s Creek, has taken his passion for fashion off-screen and into the real world with his eyewear brand D.L Eyewear. The company has grown a cult following for selling opticals, sun, and blue light styles, all inspired by Levy’s own need for stylish and practical eyewear.
Levy actually launched the brand in 2013 as a side project with a simple website and a few frames. While filming Schitt’s Creek, despite doing no major update to the site or releasing new styles, he noticed a significant uptick in sales as the show became a global success. As soon as they wrapped the series in 2020, it was clear that DL Eyewear was filling a void for not only Schitt’s Creek fans but for those looking for a fresh outlook on eyewear.
Since revamping two years ago, the brand has experienced significant success, seen on the likes of Aubrey Plaza and aggregating over 100,000 followers on Instagram. On September 30th, DL Eyewear will launch its fall collection with a campaign shot by Gemma Warren. Below, Levy and his Co-Creative Director and DL Eyewear President Elena Doukas tell us about the brand’s revival, creating their new collection, and their mission to make eyewear more affordable.
Why did you decide to relaunch DL Eyewear?
LEVY: I paused the company once Schitt’s Creek started to take off because I couldn’t give it the time it deserved. But what I noticed over the next few years was that frames on the website were continuing to sell. Especially after they started appearing on the show. So when we decided to end it after season 6, I thought, “there’s more interest now than when I launched the brand, and we haven’t done a stitch of marketing or promotion in years; what could happen if we really have it a go?” I’ve never looked back since.”
What sparked your love of eyewear?
LEVY: Well, I needed glasses to start. When you have to wear something on your face every day, you have to find a way to love the experience of wearing glasses. When I was younger, eyewear was still a predominantly practical thing. So the idea of using my glasses as a form of self-expression was never really front of my mind. But over time, things changed, and I grew to really love the idea of glasses as accessories.
You started to make your own frames in 2013. What wasn’t available to you in the eyewear market at the time?
LEVY: Affordability is huge for me. Great glasses came at a high cost. I would have to save up for a single pair back then. Today, I want to make frames at a price that allows somebody to collect and interchange their frames with their mood or evolving personal style.
What was the thought process behind the price point?
DOUKAS: We both wear prescription eyewear, and we both like to experiment with different eyewear styles. We know how costly it can be to find a well-designed pair of prescription lenses. But we also realize that not every frame we have suits every outfit or occasion. We wanted the frames to be at a reasonable price point that would not only work with a healthcare plan but allow someone to be able to build an eyewear wardrobe over time. It’s not about endless eyewear consumption but finding staple pieces that work with the intricacies of your style.
What’s the ethos of DL Eyewear?
DOUKAS: Our motto is “See With Love,” which serves as a guide in many of the decisions we make. When we relaunched the brand, we wanted our mission to be about making people feel good and also wanted some aspect of giving back to our community. We currently donate a portion of our proceeds to LISC (the Local Initiatives Support Corporation), an organization that does great work in creating economic opportunities for small businesses, focusing on those owned by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and entrepreneurs in historically underserved neighborhoods.
Your fall collection launches on September 30th. What’s the inspiration behind your latest styles?
DOUKAS: The whole collection has an undertone of ’70s shapes and colorways. We wanted our campaign to capture it all with a classic sitting school portrait format. We’ve always wanted our customers to feel like they can build an eyewear collection with us over time and wanted the campaign to demonstrate the level of versatility behind each frame.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned running DL Eyewear?
LEVY: That it’s about more than just glasses. Like most projects Dan works on, we wanted it to be about making people feel good, and our community has only added to it. It’s been inspiring to see how fun our customers make new releases and how kindly they interact with one another. They make it a joy to come to work every day.