AHLEM was launched in 2014 by Parisian-born, Los Angeles-based designer, Ahlem Manai-Platt. Following ten years in fashion Manai-Platt saw her future in perfect vision. "I live in glasses," she says of the apparent career move into eyewear, which first sparked interest among friends at a café in Paris. "We were discussing goals, and I showed the group a sketch from my notebook. The expressed excitement gave me the guts; the loss of a beloved pair of vintage sunnies shortly thereafter gave me the final push. And that's how the brand was born".
When it comes to eyewear, not all frames are equal. AHLEM is committed to quality craftsmanship, first and foremost. This means eschewing the easy in favor of the excellent. There's utmost respect for artisanal expertise played out in each pair of glasses. Throughout production, glasses travel to three specialized ateliers, and into the hands of nine skilled artisans—each with a particular craft passed down through the generations.
In her own words, Manai-Platt returns to a telling and true list of labels to describe her namesake brand: timelessness, elegance, beauty, simplicity. "I am a perfectionist," she says. "And so I like to question things—for instance, what makes something the best?"
Acetate is sourced directly from Mazzucchelli, the world's heritage house. Metal frames are made of palladium, electroplated in 22k gold, and feature hand-engraved titanium nose pads for optimal comfort and support.
Cridal lenses that offer UVA/UVB protection with built-in backside anti-reflective coating come from leading French optical company, Christian Dalloz. And vintage acetate used to accent metal temples is handpicked in France by Manai-Platt herself.
The part inlaid in the acetate is wider than the standard, and has a more pronounced curved anchor which takes up more space, sits deeper and has a better hold of the acetate. The hinge has 5 barrels and a thread lock technology.