Soulful Style with Aliana Rose Eyewear

Ever wondered what it takes to build a brand from scratch that speaks volumes about craftsmanship and pays homage to strong, powerful women? Meet Dr. Sophia Visanji, the brain behind Aliana Rose Eyewear, an extraordinary label rewriting the rules of the eyewear industry. Today, she opens up about her journey, the soulful stories that shaped her collections, and the invaluable wisdom she’d impart to her younger self. Prepare to be inspired as we dive deep into a world where fashion is more than just aesthetics—it’s an ode to heritage, power, and the beauty of vision!

Dr. Sophia Visjani, Optometrist and Founder of Aliana Rose Eyewear

Who is Dr. Sophia Visjani?:

Dr. Darryl Glover:
If you don’t mind, maybe you could share where you’re from, where you went to school, and your “why.” How did you get into eye care? Let’s get this party started, my friend.

Dr. Sophia Visanji:
Okay, so I’m Canadian. Originally, I’m from Calgary, Alberta. I went to school at NECO in Boston and graduated in 2014. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a decade; it feels like I graduated just yesterday. Right after school, I moved to New York.

I had one year left on my student visa, and I thought, “Let me go somewhere exciting like LA, New York, or Chicago.” I chose New York, fell in love with the city, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m the East Coast Director of Zac Eyes, a startup based in LA that expanded to New York. I also have my sunglass line called Aliana Rose Eyewear, and I’m on social media as the Monocle Muse.

The Rise of Monocle Muse: Melding Optometry with Fashion

Dr. Darryl Glover:
So, let me know where you want to go with this brand. You’ve made a name for yourself. You’ve infused your flair for photography and fashion into having the proper eyewear. But where do you want to take this brand?

Dr. Sophia Visanji:
The Monocle Muse, has been an incredible platform for me to attract new patients and advertise for my eyewear and sunglasses companies. It’s turned into its own little business as well. I create content for tons of fashion brands. I’ve worked with Bloomingdales, Who What Wear, and even featured in Vogue India. There have been so many opportunities in the fashion space that it’s essentially created a second career for me, which has been amazing. Now, I only see patients two to three days a week, and the rest of the time, I’m working on content and campaigns for fashion and lifestyle brands. That’s where the direction is now: to continue creating cool content, work with these brands, and build out that business.

Behind the Shades: The Soulful Story of Aliana Rose Eyewear

Dr. Darryl Glover:
If you don’t mind, share the name and walk us through how you developed that name. What did that process look like? Starting an eyewear line is no easy task.

Dr. Sophia Visanji:
It has indeed been a labor of love. The name of the brand is Aliana Rose Eyewear. I come from a family primarily of women; I’m one of three girls, so we were a house full of women. I combined the names of my sisters and mom to create “Aliana Rose.” It’s my way of paying homage to the strong women in our family. I became Dr. Visanji, my dad’s surname, but I also wanted to honor the women.

I aimed to create unique styles inspired by different eras, like the ’90s and the ’70s, and various places worldwide. I love to travel and find inspiration in the colors, culture, people, and architecture wherever I go. My first collection was named “Zanzibar,” after my paternal grandmother’s birthplace. She passed away many years ago, but she was from Zanzibar, and East Africa and Tanzania inspired the colors. The ’90s-era slim frames were also an influence on this debut collection.

My second collection is called “Cali,” and it’s based on different places in California that I love. So there’s a Malibu frame, a Joshua Tree frame, and a Palm Springs frame, all inspired by ’70s aviator styles. Each collection is rooted in a specific era and a place that has inspired me.

Wise Words From Dr. Sophia Visanji

Dr. Darryl Glover:
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Dr. Sophia Visanji:
I’d say, be as authentic as you can to yourself. Really get to know what you like, what you’re passionate about, your journey, and your purpose. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. You don’t have to have all the answers upfront; you can go with the flow and adapt as your journey unfolds. Interests and circumstances will change, so don’t be afraid to pivot when needed.

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