“It’s personal, it’s family. It’s three generations
of eyewear, passion, design and manufacturing”
C.H. Filmer Sceats started his practice as an optometrist back in 1925. He was the first optometrist in Australia’s capital, and there he looked after embassy staff from all nations. Filmer increased his ophthalmic knowledge and skills during the Second World War, working alongside some of the best ophthalmologists throughout the Greek and African campaigns. He was made an Officer in the Royal Australian Army 1943.
“Our optical heritage still influences
us in how design and make frames today”
This unique experience gave him empathy, compassion and an inclusive philosophy. With these strong principles and an early induction into the art world growing up with his opera singing father, led him to become one of the most respected and creative optometrists and bespoke optical in the country and this guided his work when he opened his Sydney city practice. In the 1960’s Filmer employed a bespoke frame maker in his practice on the corner of Martin Place and Pitt Street, Sydney.
“In the 1960’s Filmer started making
brightly coloured bespoke frames”
In the 1960’s Filmer started making bespoke frames in his practice in Sydney. These handmade, brightly coloured optical frames gave his practice the feel of an artisan’s salon, as they were made specifically for individual patients. This process involved the selection of personal acetate colours and special bridge fittings.
“Jono grew up warching his father perform
eye tests and expertly fashion bespoke frames”
Raised on these same principles, Jono grew up watching his father perform eye tests and expertly fashion bespoke optical frames for his clients. He developed a great love of the craft and inherited the same devotion to quality and workmanship, in pursuing his passion for design and interest in pop art. Breaking the rules is something Jono knows all about. Although Jono had grown up immersed in the optical industry, a brief foray into finance and stock broking, Jono enrolled in art school after discovering the Yellow House, a radical art milieu started by Sydney artist Martin Sharp, and home to some of Australia’s most influential artists. It was the start of Pop Art in Australia.
“After inheriting a box of 1950’s cats eye
frames from his father he began his own label”
After inheriting an inspiring box of 1950’s cats eye frames from his father, he began designing his signature frames under his own label. When other brands were playing it safe back in the 1980’s, Jono was a creative innovator; shaking up the industry by always doing the opposite of what people expected. The first frames and sunglasses were a bit ahead of their time and the optometrists thought them too unusual and colourful. It was not until Vogue magazine did an article that demand started.
“I am inspired by challenging what’s
acceptable and creating fresh designs”
With a passion for change, superior craftsmanship, and a distinctive culture rooted in Sydney and fashion eyewear Jonathan Sceats became the number one eyewear brand in Australia, selling over one million frames. Each style in the collection is conceived and designed in the Sydney Studio, taking inspiration from everything including nature, fashion, films, books, travel, magazines, and archival pieces. Careful attention is paid to each aspect of the fit and balance of the frame. The collections include a range of styles from timeless, intellectual pieces to progressive, trendsetting fashion designs.
“Jono spent his youth on Sydney’s beaches,
where sun and endless parties were the way of life”
Jono spent his youth on Sydney’s beaches, where sun, surf and endless summer parties were a way of life. It was a time when brands like Mambo had no rules and were started in garages by the beach with surf culture as their inspiration. These days not much has changed. It is still the girls on the beach who create what’s going to be hot for summer and it’s all about making sure they have the look. But it is not enough to simply follow trends. Jono’s history of bold experimentation with design was recognised when he was appointed inaugural Chairman of the Design Council at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. He also represented Australia in the design section of the World Fair in Barcelona, with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney holding a permanent exhibition of his early work.
“Fashion eyewear, is all about creating
something new and being excited about change”
Jono’s major influences are art, nature, fashion and design. Always the first influences are the new coming looks in clothing and fashion as glasses should relate to these new styles and looks. There aren’t many optical designers who travel with their own antique metal file handcrafting eyewear samples to get the shape and fit just right, but then again, Jono isn’t your usual designer. When it comes to designing fashionable eyewear, it’s all about creating something new and being excited by change.
“There aren’t many designers who travel with
their own antique hand files, constantly crafting eyewear samples”
We’re inspired by challenging what’s acceptable and from this, creating fresh designs that people not only like but look great wearing. Almost anything can influence a collection, from nature to fashion. Jono’s eccentric flair for life is an embodiment of the Jono Limited Edition brand, but underneath the mayhem is a product that Jono takes very seriously. Whether it is supporting the collaboration between independent designers and independent optometrists around the world, hand filing his own samples or creating unique and individual pieces that always deliver; Jono always puts the needs of the optometrists and their clients first. We see a great future in the collaboration between the independent designer and the independent optician working together to create something individual and dynamic, and hopefully creating.