Lifestyle

Why H.E.R. Wanted Creative Control in Her New Sunglasses Collaboration

H.E.R.
Courtesy of DIFF Eyewear

H.E.R x DIFF

H.E.R. has a well-documented affinity for sunglasses. She wears them at photo shoots, on social media and during interviews. The Grammy-winning singer wore shades throughout both awards show performances in January and in 2019. Her choice to obscure her visage with sunglasses has successfully kept her music -- and not “how she looks” -- top of the industry’s mind (much in the way of Sia’s iconic bangs). It’s fair to say, sunglasses are part of how H.E.R. operates as an artist.

Now, H.E.R. has teamed up with DIFF Eyewear, the brand known for its charitable work and celebrity endorsements from the likes of Kendall Jenner and Jonathan Van Ness, for a sunglasses capsule collection. Featuring four distinct designs that take on DIFF classics -- including the oversized Bella shades in black with gold detailing, and the rounded Driver shades with blue-yellow gradient lenses -- the collection is perfect for the upcoming summer festival season. Or really, for any time you want to feel that magic H.E.R. brings to everything she does.

Billboard spoke with H.E.R. about the line, why she chose DIFF, and the festival where she’s most excited to show off her new shades this summer.

You're an avid sunglasses wearer, so it would seem that a design collaboration was inevitable. What made DIFF stand out for you among the competition?

It was a long process getting to this point. I've gotten so many different offers from eyewear companies to collaborate, but a lot of those people didn't want to give me creative control. They wanted me to be the face, yet not be involved in the design.

But sunglasses are my thing, and I knew I wanted to do it the right way. And so when we started having a conversation with DIFF and I began looking into them, I realized that I would be able to do my thing with them creatively. Plus, they're really a charitable company, which means a lot to me. Giving back and creative freedom? It's the best of both worlds!

Courtesy of DIFF Eyewear
H.E.R x DIFF

Tell us about the design process. How did the line’s aesthetic emerge?

I'm really into mirrored sunglasses, but I wanted to do something different from an aviator [and a style that] I would wear on stage. So that’s where the Drivers come in. I also did the blue to gold gradient lenses, which look just like my album cover. I thought that was really dope, and it's a sentimental piece for me. And then we did the bigger size shades, which I also wear on stage, those were the two contrasting designs that I really loved.

That's good you got to put so much of your own creativity into these.

Exactly! That's really what I wanted. And these shades are unisex and they work with any face, and I'm so happy with how they turned out.

Festival season is fast approaching, and this collection is perfect for showing off your style while vibing to music outdoors. Which festival are you most excited to wear these new sunnies at?

Definitely my own fest, the Lights On Festival in September! I'm the first Black female to own her own festival, 100 percent, with no partners. I’m extremely proud of that! So I'll be wearing them there for sure, and they just might be available for purchase on the site as well.

Courtesy of DIFF Eyewear
H.E.R x DIFF

How do you hope people feel when they're wearing your DIFF sunglasses?

I want them to feel their inner H.E.R.! When I wear my sunglasses, I feel mysterious. But at the same time, you can still get to know me. Some people when they have shades on, they feel closed off to the world. But I think these glasses do the opposite. They're a lot more bold and a lot more lively, and help someone like me actually be less of an introvert!

The H.E.R. x DIFF collection will be available starting Feb. 28 at diffeyewear.com.