Created in 2015 by Richard Trèfle along with his wife Christelle Hoton, Bellatrix is a “Made in Guadeloupe” French-Caribbean award-winning eyewear brand.
The brand has been noticed by international celebrities such as Spike Lee who he met and most notably impressed him during the 2018 Cannes Festival, which led him later that year to order a made-to-measure and custom-made pair of glasses.
Bellatrix means tenacity in Latin and originated from Richards’ vision to create beauty and originality by hand. Bellatrix’s unique selling point (USP) is to provide services that allow the customer to choose optical and sunglasses frames adapted to the morphology of the face and have them custom made by hand. Richard Trefle was trained in France by the best & most renowned French Eyewear Craftsman (Maître Ouvrier).
“It is in France you find the best glass artists, the most brilliant silversmiths, the greatest finery makers, the most skilled embroiderers and the finest organ makers. There are 50 of these “maîtres d’art” (art masters, a title bestowed for life), that have been blessed with the talent of preserving these are gifts from generation to generation.” source: Eurochannel
Richard regularly attends international Optical Trade Shows in France in order to gain as much exposure as possible and in order to remain competitive with the rest of the eyewear market, as he sully operates and proudly offers made in Guadeloupe premium eyewear brand. The price range for his most exclusive custom-made pairs ranges from 800 to 1800 euros. The average retail price otherwise ranges between 489 and 689 euros.
As well as creating unique frames, and also thanks to the wide selection of shapes and colours Bellatrix has to offer, Richard prides himself on his brand values, design uniqueness and commitment to be focused also on ecological glasses. Richard achieves this by integrating unique and intricate techniques whilst using raw materials such as infusing fabric, sand, French lace, or coconut fiber to name a few, inside the frames.
Having met Christelle Hoton in Paris first last year (2019), whilst shopping at one of my favourite independent designers’ pop-ups, GLAM ETHNIK (founded by Nadine Ramin, also known as Ayden, who also happens to be from the island and is an independent fashion designer, TV Host & Producer. GLAM ETHNIK has an exclusive brand collaboration with Bellatrix and often collaborates together.
Ayden wearing a Bellatrix pair of sunglasses exclusively made for her and collaboratively created with Richard which inspired him in creating a butterfly range of frames as it is intentionally shaped like the map of Guadeloupe, also known as France’s “Butterfly island” or “Caribbean Butterfly”.
I later was introduced to her husband, Richard Trefle, whilst I was in Guadeloupe for a fashion event, in July 2019. I was fortunate to finally meet him in person, at his atelier, in Baie-malhaut (Central part of the island) and to be introduced to his universe. The lunetier, kindly and candidly answered a few questions whilst showcasing some his best, yet very bold and unique glasses and shades. Some might find them for an acquired taste but this is why he is one of, if not, the most successful optician on the island. After such a challenging 2020, I felt compelled to put the spotlight on yet another independent designer brand, Bellatrix, which is currently sold or distributed internationally in Guadeloupe, the United States, South America, Switzerland & France.
1) What are your customers’ feedback on the Bellatrix brand?
It’s a surprise but above all the result of precision work, we have very satisfied private and professional customers. In particular, is the customisation of the frames. The customer creates the pair. Combined with our technicality and our imagination, they can only be satisfied.
Model: Solaire Solitaire – RRP 550 euros (Unisex)
2) Who best suits your brand, men or women?
Bellatrix glasses are suitable for everyone. Especially to those who wish to get a custom-made product, made by hand, and a company with strong values and a real story behind it.
Model: R45 Jungle – RRP 689 euros (Women)
3) Bellatrix seems to be very attached to Guadeloupe, can you explain why you chose to develop the brand on this small island?
We are fortunate to bring together many positive elements: We operate in a Caribbean context that sets us apart from other brands, close to America, whilst benefiting from the French know-how. As long as it is possible, we will continue the creation and production on the island.
R56 MCNB RRP 459 euros (Men)
4) In what Bellatrix’s expertise is different from other eyewear manufacturers?
We have developed real know-how, in particular from our fifteen years of experience in eyewear and our regular training with the best workers in France, so now we always combine our very unique artisan techniques, infusing them with our Caribbean heritage mixed with a French touch.
R44 EBENE ROYAL – RRP 689 euros (Women)
5) In the fashion industry in general, the development of new materials that are eco-friendly is taking on a great scale. What are thoughts when it pertains to the eyewear industry in particular?
We are particularly attentive to it. The basic product of our glasses is cellulose acetate which is a cotton derivative. Some of our glass’s frames are decorated with natural materials (sand, coconut fibre, wood …). We want to combine noble products with natural material. Part of our collection also uses cellulose acetate shavings recovered from the fall of other frames. We try to reuse materials as much as possible.
(I was actually lucky to be kindly gifted this custom-made and had mine personalised with my company name, Kay Flawless, as I needed a new pair of reading glasses – which I still wear to-date). The materials used for these specs were recycled.
R42 MCVN – RRP 449 euros (Women)
6) Last but not least, 3 words to sell a pair, Bellatrix according to you?
Innovation, Passion, Personalisation
R26 ICM – RRP 450 euros (Men)
Richard who is a very funny guy and far from being shy, yet is incredibly humble and talented with an acute eye for details, so at the time of the interview, he failed to mention his brand was up for an award. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised but also very proud to find out that my fellow Guadeloupean friend was the recipient of the Best Artisan 2019 at the 10th Edition of The SME’s RMC Trophees, in a ceremony which was held at the Microsoft Headquarters in Paris, in September that year.
My favourite quirky pick of his current commercial collection:
The R40’s, currently retailing at 689 euros
BELLATRIX was born from a labour of love and the fruit of a very passionate and country proud founder’s fertile imagination. Almost 16 years on, Richard Trefle continues to strive for perfection, being inspirational for many other talented craftsmen on his island whilst remaining eco-friendly and always aiming for international recognition. We can only wish him the aim for stars, as the sky’s the limit.
Bellatrix is also sold online and worldwide: https://bellatrix-optical.com/
For all enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org