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A cocktail that's a treat for the eyes

By Tiffany Tan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-19 09:15
A cocktail that's a treat for the eyes

Jesper Lindquist's latest designs are a collaboration with the Beijing restaurant and bar Migas. Miguel Angel Emerico / For China Daily

Imagine visiting an outdoor bar on a lazy summer afternoon. You order a cocktail and start getting comfortable on a lounge chair, when the waiter leans in: "Would you like to try a drink that comes with a pair of sunglasses?"

Jesper Lindquist hopes you say yes. The 32-year-old Swede wants to build a niche for Dienastie, his new sunglasses brand, by offering it at open-air bars, beach events and pool parties.

"If you're out there in the sun, won't you want a pair of sunglasses?" Lindquist explains in an interview at Migas, a Beijing restaurant and bar, whose summer menu includes a passion-fruit cocktail and a pair of Dienastie glasses for 300 yuan ($50).

To mark the collaboration, a model in six color variations were specially produced, inspired by the color scheme of Migas' rooftop bar.

More limited-edition glasses are in the works with a Chinese blogger, a Chinese singer and other personalities, whose names Lindquist prefers to keep secret for now.

But the Beijing-based graphic designer says they're all people who embody the brand's tagline "Play hard, Die Nastie" - individuals who seize the moment and follow their hearts.

Outside all the marketing strategies, Lindquist wants his products to also sell themselves. Since his eye is on the Chinese market, he has focused on creating glasses that specifically fit Asian features.

Dienastie's frames are noticeably wider around the face and roomier, so they sit comfortably on the bridge of the nose and don't pinch the cheeks.

"This is something we learned from our Chinese friends who always complain about uncomfortable sunglasses," Lindquist, who launched Dienastie in March after seven years in China, says in an introductory e-mail. "They've always wanted fashionable ones, but those were never comfortable on their faces."

What about more style choices? A visit to Dienastie's website - most of its sales take place on various shops online - shows just 17 models with only slight design variations. (Each pair costs 399 yuan when purchased in China.)

By next year, Linquist says he hopes to double the number of available models. He then whips out his cell phone to show a photograph of an all-black pair with winglike protrusions around the lenses. Bat-glasses?

"You can imagine wearing them with a cat suit," says Erik Biedron, Dienastie's sales manager and Linquist's childhood friend. These glasses are a product of another collaboration, Lindquist says, and a preview of how edgy their limited editions can be.

"We want to do different things and try different partnerships," Jeff Hinson, the bar manager at Migas, says of the collaboration with Dienastie. "There's a desire, naturally, to push the boundaries."

Next on their agenda? A "sunglasses at night" party.

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