21 Jun Meeting with Valerie, in charge of the prototype hub
In summer 2019, we will be showcasing one job every Friday. This time, we will take a look at the prototype hub with Valérie Prillard, who has been working for Morel for 25 years. We asked her a few questions about her job, how her career has changed and the particular features of this aspect of the eyewear industry.
I joined Morel 25 years ago, when I finished my studies. Before graduating I was already interested in the eye wear industry. I’ve always felt that I fitted in here. It’s dynamic and multifaceted. I am involved in lots of different things, including the wide range of materials that we work with, from wood and mother-of-pearl to our more routine use of acetate and metal. We also have a great deal of freedom, due to the fact that we have our own collections. The working relationships here are great. In my case, I work closely with the design hub, and we make progress together.
“when we think about eyewear, we can’t imagine all the work that hides behind it”
Designing frames is an extremely complex process, due to the various materials and techniques used to make them. I don’t have any work experience in other industries, but I find this one rich and varied. We tend to think that glasses are two circles, a bridge and two temples, but don’t imagine the work that goes into it.
In my case, I get given a design and have to come up with the first prototype of a pair of glasses that might enter into the collections of the future. To do this, I chat with the designer and start to make flat templates, using plates and wire. Then comes the formatting, and the work of refining the prototype.
My job leads me to model complex materials, such as stainless steel. At one time, we had to shape stainless steel using pliers and I even ended up with tendinitis for six months.
On the other hand, there is a feeling of accomplishment, of finality when a frame reaches the production stage. This is even more the case for the designers, who consider their creations as their babies.
Being awarded the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” meant a lot to me, personally. I became more confident. I also learned a lot about my job. Now, I manage my own projects, something I never did before.
I think my job will evolve. We have already seen the major breakthrough of 3D printing, which is increasingly used in frame design. Our job is constantly undergoing technical evolutions, as is the case in production, with new machines and new working methods.