For Max Vallot and Tom Daly, founders of New York-based District Vision, simply creating a sports eyewear company wasn't enough. No, the fashion-world veterans wanted to fuse high-tech athletic gear, community, meditation, and collaboration—and, in doing so, create an all-encompassing resource for runners hoping to get truly fit.
“We don’t see ourselves as traditional designers,” says Vallot, who, along with Daly, launched District Vision with their ultra-lightweight Keichii running sunglasses last November. “We’re at the center of this experiment, and everybody along the way is feeding into it.” It's a global experiment, too: That “everybody” includes design engineers in Japan, running clubs in New York, London, Tokyo, and Mexico City.
It also includes customers, who Vallot and Daly consider the most integral part of their feedback loop. “District Vision doesn’t really start with technology,” says Vallot. “It starts with real runners around the world.”
Which means that their tagline, “tools for runners,” encompasses much more than just their runner-specific sunglasses—although their models like the Keichii, Nagata, and new-for-September Black Rose lens have already earned legions of fans among running fanatics worldwide. Vallot and Daly are spearheading new efforts to help runners connect, mainly through events and collaborations with running clubs around the world. They've also just launched a new Meditation for Runners program, with the aim of helping harriers zen out via live events and online videos.
“The mental aspect of running is underestimated compared to the physical,” says Daly. “So when we talk about tools for running, we really see meditation as a tool for enhancing that mental capacity.”
Ultimately, Vallot and Daly are crafting District Vision into a holistic lifestyle brand, one that provides everything a runner could possibly need to live a life that's more healthy and balanced—and, armed with a sweet pair of glasses, a hell of a lot more stylish.