Now aged over 50 and with a keen interest in design, fashion, architecture, furniture, cars, jazz, contemporary art, and a passionate autograph collector, Wolfgang initially studied marketing, being designated the best in his year for his degree dissertation, receiving his award from the then Germany Minister for the Economy. Following a number years in management, he enjoyed success designing for the legendary Bugatti brand, among others.
His many trips abroad inspired this lover of culture to design his own collection. At the end of the 1980s, he presented his designs to the industry for the first time, at the SILMO exhibition in Paris.
- Cooperation with the manufacturer “Tractor Productions” from the French part of the Jura – which itself was manufacturing a highly unusual collection of eyewear, with which it was supplying actors and fashion magazines – and the rise of a small, sophisticated elite of designers on the west coast of the USA (LA Eyeworks, Oliver Peoples) and Belgium (Theo), in whose circles he moved, pushed his new brand, “Proksch’s” into undreamt-of spheres. Suddenly, people like Seal, Brad Pitt, Elton John, Catherine Zeta Jones, J. Lo, Mick Jagger, Liam Gallagher and even the “Queen of Less”, Jil Sander, were wearing models bearing his designs. Diana Kruger, whose leading roles have included playing Helen in “Troy”, viewed at the time as a walking advertisement for Armani and now treated as a supermodel and worldwide star, was photographed in the Lindberg Studios in Paris for the Proksch campaign, which subsequently appeared in all the top fashion magazines. Other internationally famous models such as Jodie Kidd were to follow, otherwise only ever to be seen on catwalks wearing famous names. Glossy journals from Italy, France, Germany, and NY’s “W” made Proksch’s new style familiar to their readers in many reports and fashion features. The hottest stores in L.A. San Francisco, New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo displayed the glasses in their shop windows. - In 1998 and after a brief intermezzo with the Italian company Optiprojekt, which now goes under the name of “Allison”, he granted his name under license to Kaneko in Japan. The synergy of his unashamedly unpretentious design and the notorious quest for quality of the Japanese gave his products’ a unique radiance. Innovative, functional details and balanced proportions distinguished the decidedly modern style. Kaneko introduced the brand into its own “Facial Index” and “Complex Plus” flagship stores, in New York, Tokyo and Osaka.
1999 saw the creation of a surprising new range under the transformed “Wolfgang Proksch” label, which employed novel shapes and material finishes. The so-called “new teardrop” spectacle form, combined with unusually set arms, influenced the industry and served as a spiritual source for the very first Prada models. Design commissions followed from Oliver Peoples, L.A. for Paul Smith, from Sama Eyewear from Hollywood – including for Pamela Anderson, as well as for other international superstars such as Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy and Brad Pitt. His glasses, reminiscent of a horizontal figure eight, were bought in a small store in Sydney before – because he wore them in the taxi scene in the first Matrix film – going on to briefly send the Americans into a buying frenzy. They were to serve as the template for many imitations, in all conceivable finishes. At that time, Wolfgang was spending more time on the West Coast than he was in Germany.
Even today – though only available through select outlets – his spectacles are cast for films, including, for example, for the lead actor in the US ‘super series’, NSI:NY. - De Rigo head Massimo became aware of Proksch at the beginning of the millennium, inviting him to design for his fashion labels, including Loewe, Givenchy and Fendi (“F” arm design, worn among others by Kate Moss).
In 2003 und 2004, he designed - for a now globally known hot Berlin eyewear brand -trendy metal spectacles. - In 2005, he founded PM/D, for the worldwide distribution of his ByWP brand. With their patented plug connection and finished entirely in wafer-thin, high quality steel, the frames are now stocked by opticians in almost all countries in Asia: in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the luxury stores of the Puyi family, in Moscow at Interoptika, where Putin and Russia’s nouveau riche buy their spectacles, and in the major cities of western Europe and the USA. - For years now – and above all in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong - the name Wolfgang Proksch has been a genuine cult. With impertinent ease, he pulls off the balancing act between industrial design, technical finesse and that clear, sophisticated look.
In 2008, he twice received the coveted IF-Product Design Award and also twice the reddot Design Award, for outstanding design. For Wolfgang, his spectacles ideally embody the image of “sexy intelligence” – just “very Wolfgang Proksch”.