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Portrait of a Designer

                                                                                                 By Paddy Kamen

                                                                         As a child, Michael Castillo was always

                                                                         trying to figure out how things worked.
                                                                         He certainly got it right with eyewear
                                                    THE                          persistent and inquisitive  child,
                                                                                 Michael Castillo took things apart
                                                                                 and  put  them  back  together—
                                                                                 sometimes! “I didn’t always get all
                                                                        A the parts to fit back together, but I
                                                                         loved the challenge and learning is sometimes
                    ACCIDENTAL                                           a  messy  business,”  he  says.  “As  I  matured,
                                                                         I became fascinated with building scale
                                                                         models of spaceships, planes and boats.” His
                                                                         natural curiosity was nurtured by his father
                                                                         and uncles—aviation engineers who had a
                          DESIGNER:                                      knack for mentoring young minds. Castillo
                                                                         remembers, “They seemed to know how
                                                                         everything worked and fueled my passion for
                  MICHAEL                                                Born in East Los Angeles to a family of five kids,
                                                                         the how and the why of things.”.

                                                                         by age 12 Castillo was obsessed with drawing:
                                                                         superheroes, cars, planes—you name it.  Did he
                                                                         aspire to becoming an engineer or designer? Not
                CASTILLO                                                 really, nor did he gravitate to art school as one
                                                                         might imagine. Castillo was considering careers
                                                                         in the military, or possibly architecture when
                                                                         he answered a call from a friend who told him
                                                                         about a summer job in quality control at local
                                                                         eyewear manufacturer DITA. “That was in the
                            FOR DITA                                     summer of 1995, when I was 22. I started in
                                                                         quality control and over time I took on varied
                                                                         responsibilities: from warehouse management,
                                                                         to lens tinting, lens cutting, and lab work.” Now,
                                                                         from the perspective of middle age, Castillo
                                                                         observes: “I was raised in this industry, it’s a big
                                                                         part of who I am.”

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