Hip To Be Square

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By Kelly Waterhouse

It’s okay to geek out.
Everybody’s doing it, from celebrities to software business icons, school children to retirees; the eye fashion trend today is geek chic. And that’s cool.
“More than ever eyewear is an extension of a person’s fashion identity and many want to wear a frame that says something about them as a person. ‘geek chic’ accomplishes exactly this—the
glasses are bolder, more daring,” says Katelyn Rademacher, global brand manager for Kenmark, whose licensed brand Original Penguin is regarded as one of the industry leaders in geek eyewear.
“Instead of blending in, the frames serve as a statement accessory, like a hat or a great pair of shoes. I also think consumers get a kick out of the irony of the look—something that used to be ‘uncool’ is now hip and trendy, and there’s nothing cooler than being able to pull that off,” Rademacher said. “It also doesn’t hurt that many celebrities have embraced the look—Ryan
Gosling, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Timberlake have all been spotted rocking the geek trend.”
In fact, geek chic was the inspiration behind Geek Eyewear® out of Beverly Hills, California.
Founder Alena Lehrer launched the eyewear brand with a company manifesto that promises to “celebrate diversity, individuality and the creative enthusiasm of geek culture.”
Lehrer explains that geek culture has extended to all areas of pop culture including fashion, sports, technology, music, gaming, film, art and entertainment.
“Geek chic is an attitude,” Lehrer explained. “It’s a direction in fashion where nerdy equals being lighthearted and sexy. Top TV shows in the Big Bang Theory prove it’s cool to be individualistic, to strut your smarts. Being interested in technology and the larger challenges facing the world is important. We identify our passions through our choices in eyewear; Wearing Geek Eyewear signals, “I’m cool, hip, chic, aware, interesting and fun.”
A self-proclaimed geek, Lehrer combined her love of arts, fashion, entrepreneurial spirit and background in healthcare to create a company that embraces a global community for fellow geeks.
“I remember growing up and feeling self-conscious when I had to wear glasses as a kid. I am so proud to be part of a brand that embraces individuality and creative expression,” Lehrer said. “There is no age barrier to looking hip, youthful, slightly irreverent, fun yet thoughtful. Since eyewear is the ultimate fashion accessory, there’s nothing more important than what
you wear on your face. We offer over 40 different styles so there’s a pair of Geek Eyewear® for every face shape.”
And every age too. The Geek Eyewear® collection is a spectrum of frame colours and choices for all ages.
Committed to offering affordable quality, most Geek Eyewear® frames retail for under $100. Plastic frames are handmade from acetate. Metal frames are made from upgraded materials such as stainless steel. All frames are 100 per cent ophthalmic quality. Geek Eyewear also offers options like polycarbonate lenses that are light and strong, plus sunglasses available in a wide variety of colors.
Original Penguin Eyewear offers a different take on geek chic, which Rademacher describes as a one-of-a-kind eyewear collection, paying homage to 1950s Americana while incorporating modern trends and design improvements to enhance the fit.
“The collection is thriving and boasts great sell through and reorders thanks to its original designs and throwback feel. Original Penguin is cool, easy-going and appealing to a wide range of consumers,” she said, noting that eight new optical frames have been added this season.
“Fall’s new releases incorporate a lot of retro round shapes, colour, mixed materials, wood details and pattern usage. A handful of new frames (The Snapster, The Arnold and The Wayne) feature a metal checkerboard pattern placed over a wood-textured insert on the outer temples. It creates an earthy, slightly Moroccan feel, but still looks clean.
Clubman and brow styles are also big this season,” Rademacher said. “Other frames, such as The Anderson and The Jax, are offered in blue shades, which is another fall trend.”
The frame names are a hit with consumers too.
“It is important for style names to help tell the overall brand story through a theme that is carried out with each pair of glasses. Giving a human name to a frame injects personality in an object, making it identifiable and relatable. “The” before the name signifies there is only one, and it is unique—just like the Penguin consumer,” Rademacher said.
Noting that the frames are made of acetate, metal or a mixture of both, Rademacher says the colours change
with the season’s trends.
“This fall’s palette incorporates a few shades of blue, earth tones, and tortoise shell is also back in a big way,” Rademacher said, adding the unisex appeal of the Original Penguin line is an added feature for retailers and consumers alike.
It’s hip to be square with geek chic eyewear.

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