CLAUDIA WASHINGTON CREATES HEALING EYEWEAR BRAND, FUNKNCRYSTALS
How do you envision awakening your third eye? Is it through the food you eat? The essential oils you use? The meditation and chants you practice? Or, could you possibly envision opening your eye, while draped and dripped in majestic crystals, brightening all your optics. Eyewear designer and Brooklyn native, Claudia Washington’s, got the exact gems to brighten your vision and uncover your third eye in style. The owner of FunknCrystals, Washington, creates custom and one-of-a-kind eyewear, that promotes vision and wellness through crystal-infused confections. Each piece a vessel to strengthen one’s ability to bring clarity, concentration, insight, imagination, and funk into their daily lives.
The FunknCrystals creator talks the healing magic of crystals and how to promote wellness in style.
What inspired you to begin designing, specifically creating eyewear?
I actually started doing wall art made with wood and healing crystals. I felt that I could do more with the crystals creatively. I saw a pair of wooden frames online and decided to try to put the crystals on those and the rest is history.
How would you define your brand FunknCrystals?
A brand that embraces the concept of health, wellness, and alternative healing. Of course they are [also] cute AF!
Your specialty is eyewear, what about eyewear for you, makes it an essential or special piece for women to own or collect?
Eyewear is the ultimate accessory in my opinion. It accentuates the first thing people see when they want to communicate with you -- eye contact!
Many of your pieces incorporate healing crystals, can you tell us about your relationship to the crystals you use and their importance to your design aesthetic?
My crystal journey started with my Twin Flame experience in 2012. I believe in the healing and metaphysical properties that crystals carry. I have always been drawn to their beauty. I feel the uniqueness of the material and the application I use, make [my pieces] one of a kind items. Who doesn’t want to stand out?
What are some of your favorite crystals to work with and what makes them particularly powerful for you?
My favorite crystals are Amethyst and Selenite. Amethyst has the beauty of purple tones. The energy it emits is calming and soothing. Selenite with its iridescent sheen, is excellent for clearing and calibrating any other stone it comes in contact with.
Erykah Badu recently wore and posted one of your gorgeous amethyst sunglasses. What did that moment mean for you as a designer and brand owner?
OMG! Words cannot explain. I felt validated. I knew I had a great concept and product, but I had to make the world see it too. I created that frame specifically for Erykah, because she surrounds herself and her home with crystals. That was important for me to get my eyewear to someone that can appreciate the aesthetic, as well as the healing benefits.
You are apart of BADA Unite, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting accessory designers of color. Your eyewear is also being sold at Vedazzling Accessories, a boutique owned by WOC, with accessories made by People of Color (POC). Explain the impact in forming these kinds of networks and organizations, centered around POC, for emerging designers.
This is my favorite question! The impact of this organization and its purpose is amazing. I was connected to the organization through a long time friend. I truly believe in the concept of team. We should all subscribe to the unity concept. We grow faster together! Wilbur Pack Jr. (SK WiLbur) and Velvet Lattimore (Vedazzling Accessories), created BADA for this purpose. Personally, I have grown as an artist and business owner because of the organization. Wilbur and I have partnered recently, and he will be my exclusive supplier of eyewear clutches. So now, everywhere I go, I am promoting my product and his at the same time. This is what BADA has embraced. We can all benefit from this business model.
How would you then, define your role in supporting fellow designers of color?
I’m a trailblazer for supporting other artists of color. I promote and market other entrepreneurs all the time. I think it’s the key to success.
Who inspires you as a designer? And what motivates your creativity?
I can get inspiration from the biggest designers to the average Joe on the street. What inspires me is the challenge to create eyewear that each client will love, especially clients that don’t usually wear glasses.
Photos: FunknCrystals IG/Erykah Badu’s IG/SK WiLBUR IG/Shine4real’s IG
In what place are you the happiest? And how does that inspire you to create?
I’m happiest in the country with fresh air. My environment weighs heavily on my energy and creativeness.
What’s the overall message you aim to relay through your creations?
My overall message is health and wellness. We live in a time where alternative methods are being used to keep us grounded and centered. We eat differently, we exercise differently, why not incorporate these aspects into your eyewear as well. You can look good and emit positive vibes too [laughs].
What’s the future for FunknCrystals?
Oh, the future is bright. It’s bright because I have no expectations. I just want to get as many crystals out into the world as possible, and I am using the vehicle of eyewear to do it. I’m partial to runway and magazine spreads, but I’m [also] hoping to partner with a big eyewear company to create a line of crystal eyewear.