A few weeks ago, Michael Bastian invited me to spend the day with him on the USS New Jersey—the most decorated battleship in US history—which is now docked in Camden, New Jersey and serves as a naval museum. He was shooting the campaign for his much anticipated sunglass collaboration with Randolph Engineering. And the line is great. It's five timeless styles in 15 different color variations including white, red, yellow and, my personal favorites, matte black and navy.
Gold Sportsman, $225
Shot by superstar photographer Eric Ray Davidson and featuring model (and former military man) Michael Lewis, the shoot was a blast. These are just a few of my own outtakes seen here.
For the uninitiated, Randolph Engineering is a Massachusetts based, family owned company that's been in business for over 35 years. They provide sunglasses and eyewear to the United States military who, not surprisingly, is their biggest customer. Bastian told me that he started wearing Randolph shades back in college.
"I had always wanted sunglasses that were more squared-off than the classic aviators, and I think I stopped someone on the street who was wearing my ideal—the Randolph Intruder," he remembers. "In those pre-internet days, I can't remember how I got my hands on them, but I definitely did, and I've been quite loyal since then."
For his early fashion shows, he simply put his own sunglasses on the models. That is, until he needed more, contacted Randolph and a collaboration was born.
During the lunch break, I sat down with the designer and asked him about everything that's going on and what he sees looking forward for Michael Bastian the man and the brand. "This is really a great time in my life personally and professionally—really exciting and hopeful," he says. "After five years and a lot of negotiation, we've finally got our license back and we're relaunching the business in a proper way. It feels like we're brand new again, and that's always a great feeling." Sounds like his futures so bright, he's gotta wear shades.