Using tech to launch an eyewear brand for Black people

Interview date:

February 4, 2021

Ackeem Ngwenya

Product Designer

Ackeem Ngwenya is a product designer and founder of Reframd, an eyewear brand which produces glasses specifically for Black people's noses and facial types. Reframd uses perametric algorithms, 3D programming and virtual reality to create customized eye glasses. Ackeem describes their clientele as "Afropolitans", Black people from around the world living in cities with a multicultural lifestyle. These people are socially conscious and support brands focused on Black empowerment and equal opportunity.

Ackeem's story is inspirational. He grew up in rural Africa. After moving to Cape Town, he enrolled himself in an art program, eventually earning a full scholarship to Stellenbosch University, a historically Afrikaans university for white students which was in the process of de-segregating. From there, he studied at the Royal College of Art in London.

"What worked for me is to try to solve problems which are closer to myself whether at home or in my immediate environment. For one, it makes you become more aware of what the problem is and what impact it has on your immediate environment. It doesn't have to be a complicated problem. It can be a simple problem...It's an approach you have that 'I can do something about this particular deficiency that I have'. That is also very key. You as an individual, no matter who you are, have the capacity to make a difference, to make the change you want to achieve."
Reframd eyewear
Reframd eyewear
Reframd eyewear


  • Challenge kids to think about why and how products are made.
  • Encourage kids to prototype and create things.
  • Normalize failure as part of the creation process.