An artist in every sense of the word,
Ronit Fürst creates hand-painted eyewear.

Art is in Ronit Fürst’s genes, as she explains
in an interview with Envision: seeing beyond
magazine from her head office in Kiryat Ono,
Israel, just outside Tel Aviv. “The paternal side of my
family was very artistic; my father’s grandparents and
mother produced fine lace and my father studied
photography in his youth. I guess I inherited those
genes because from my earliest years I have been
passionate about creating things.”

After studying fine art in high school and university, Ronit embarked on a successful career as a potter. She wore eyeglasses from age nine and enjoyed them from the beginning. But it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that Ronit decided to take matters into her own hands, literally, and apply paint to her frames to make them more interesting. She loved the experience of having a colourful and uniquely artistic frame and the feedback from those who stopped her on the street to ask where she bought them was remarkable. Thus a flash of inspiration turned into a successful eyewear brand with its eponymous label. This was in 2000, when, as Ronit says, “subdued colours and minimalist, rimless design was in fashion. Creating hand painted plastic frames with a multitude of colours and designs was unique.” It was Ronit’s husband, Ehud Bibring, who first recognized the business opportunity and led the creation of Art Optic Ltd. Bibring heads sales and business development, while Ronit works as creative director and their son, Tom, manages the family-owned factory, which is located in a kibbutz in northern Israel. “We began producing our frames for the Israeli market and in 2003 dispatched our first international order to the Netherlands,” says Ronit. “Today, they are sold all over the world, with about 75 per cent of sales to the international market.”

The company uses only top-quality materials and components in every aspect of frame production. In Canada, Ronit Fürst is distributed by the Suzanne Sendel Agency and is sold in select stores nationwide. Ronit designs for everyone who wants to wear art and stand out without being ostentatious. She personally creates all the designs, which are executed by a team of talented artisanal painters. “They become ‘professional’ Ronit Fürst painters after a year of training,” she explains. “Some of our painters have been with us from the very beginning and their input is very valuable to me.” After painting, the frames undergo a coating procedure, which bestows a finished look, either shiny or matte, and protects them from dirt and scratches. One can see the brush strokes on each Ronit Fürst frame on close inspection. They are meant to be quirky and are designed to look different from every angle, with fine detail and tiny embellishments, graduated colour schemes and asymmetric designs. Inspiration comes naturally to Ronit: “All of life inspires me and that is reflected in my sculpture, paintings, writing and work as a goldsmith. I believe that art should be a part of our daily lives and adding even a slight touch of art to eyewear can make a significant difference in the impression we make, and the way we look and present ourselves to the world.”

Ronit has also designed jewelry, leather handbags, furniture and ceramic housewares. “All developments in my artwork act synergistically,” she explains. “For example, our newest line, the ’Precious Metals Collection’, was born from my being a goldsmith and the jewelry I created, and from my abundant use of gold luster in my sculpture and ceramic design.” The talent behind the Ronit Fürst eyewear collections is impressive and the story of one seemingly small inspiration that led to this successful artisanal, family business is amazing. Was it coincidence, or kismet? Like most inspired events we’ll never know, but thousands of faces are shining brighter around the globe thanks to Ronit Fürst.

Some of our painters have been with us from the very beginning and their input is very valuable to me.