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Sunny Graz

Multi-tasker Graz Mulcahy is a Modular DJ and the brains behind not just one but several sunglass brands. Dazed talks to him about his ever expanding accessory empire

Graz Mulcahy might be a Modular DJ but he's better known for his range of sunglasses. He started his accessory career by making sunglasses with a business partner, using the moniker AM. Shortly afterwards, fellow Aussie label Ksubi launched a sunglasses line and Mulcahy was drafted to give it the same edge he had injected into AM. Having worked with and for with other creatives, including Chronicles of Never, Graz soon realised he had the skills and experience to go at it alone. Graz suglasses were born, and the brand have slowly started making waves in the US and Europe, where Graz had just returned from when Dazed Digital sat down with him over toast and vegemite at his favorite breakfast restaurant near Bondi beach to figure out the secret behind his success.

DD: How was your trip to Europe?
Graz Mulcahy: It was super successful. We got into all the stores we wanted to, even the impossible ones that take four or five years to get into.

DD: What country would you say is your biggest concentration of stores?
Graz Mulcahy: I don’t know if I have a specific country, although France seems to have the most flourishing market for eyewear. They have lots of optical stores that are into selling independent brands rather than the cheap overproduced stuff out there. Europe seems like the last frontier for sunglasses in the sense that Europeans have taste and are willing to spend money on what they like.

DD: How did the idea for a sunglass company come about?
Graz Mulcahy: Well in the beginning my partner and I who I formed AM with both thought that there were no good sunglasses at the time and it was almost a joke at first and then it kind of started from there. We tracked down this consultant and had to beg, borrow and steal to get it going, and then we got ripped off by the consultant.

DD: What did you do after getting your money taken by the consultant?
Graz Mulcahy: We finally forced the guy to give us the contact in China and I saved up and travelled to China and ended up in various villages trying to figure out the manufacturing process. For a guy like me coming from a place where there were no traffic lights, it was just completely wild trying to navigate through these villages in China. It was a deep end kind of thing.

DD: Was it easy once you found the manufacturer? 
Graz Mulcahy:  God no, in the beginning the sunglasses were just stick figures. They were making squares and we were telling the makers where to cut out the part for the nose. The first ones were so different though that people just liked them.

DD: After AM and starting up Ksubi’s Eyewear did starting Graz Eyewear come naturally to you?
Graz Mulcahy: Well yeah starting another business came naturally but I was actually feeling a real block in design and working with sunglasses. After taking a year off I started to get the motivation to do more sunglasses. In 2008 I started Graz Eyewear. It started out real small with only two designs and I only gave them out to friends and 10 stores in the world. I wasn’t doing much with the new start-up, and then people really started hassling me to do more. I was so nonchalant about it and then people started banging my door down.

DD: What’s your long term goal for Graz Eyewear?
Graz Mulcahy: I really want to create something great and iconic.