Looking Back, Looking Forward

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What is old is new again as vintage inspired eyewear continues to fill the pages of magazines and appear on catwalks. The trend in the eyewear industry shows that wearers of all ages are looking to recapture this retro look. Fortunately for eyecare providers (ECPs) and their patients, the look of yesteryear is easy to find.
Long gone are the “granny” styles; frame designers know that today’s wearers maintain an active lifestyle and are fashion conscious which is reflected in the many flattering styles available.
New designers create frames in funky, bold designs that are able to accommodate a patient’s eyecare needs including those of older wearers who may require a digital progressive lense.
For those of us who have been in the eyecare field for many years, the styles customers are looking for are reminiscent of designs from companies such as Art Craft, Tart Optical, Joy, SRO, Victory and Shuron. Another famous style making a comeback is the infamous Clubmaster, a men’s frame Ray Ban first introduced back when Bausch & Lomb manufactured frames.
One collection that will attract male consumers is set to debut this Fall. Viva will launch a vintage inspired line using unique colors which give these retro designs a more contemporary look. The GANT men’s collection is comprised of classic rectangular frames with stainless steel fronts in vibrant hues such as red, olive and navy along with more traditional hues of black, brown, gunmetal and silver.
Embellishments for this frame include the GANT navy colored temple tips to compliment the handmade acetate two-toned temples. The Rugger Optical collection includes a retro-styled small round frame described as a “geek chic” Clubmaster inspired frame and thick, rectangular shaped frame.
Other retro-inspired collections available to ECPs are the RETRO and Pussy Galore lines from Spectacle EYEworks Inc. In the words of Spectacle EYEworks’ owner Mehran Baghaie: “I believe fashion continuously recycles itself. A style or fashion would be always susceptible to resurface itself in different shapes or format … For that reason we are seeing such strong presence of vintage cat eyes and retro bold shapes,” said Baghaie. “With my new collection of RETRO, I was definitely still influenced by the geek chic of the previous RETRO styles, yet I moved toward a more clean, earthy feel. Bold yet approachable.”
He noted that with the new Pussy Galore collection, which were originally inspired by the authentic cat-eye styles of the 1950’s and 60’s, he tried to capture an ultra-feminine look. These designs contain sensuous curves which will create a heart-shaped face with the upsweep direction.
“These frames define femininity as it meant to be defined,” Baghaie said.
Rapp Optical is yet another company that specializes in retro eyewear. Mel Rapp started as an optical retailer and now designs and manufactures hand-made ophthalmic frames and sunglasses. All frames are made of the same combination of materials; an acetate front and raw titanium temples. Some examples from the women’s collection are the Felini frame, which is an oval cat eye or the Franca, an extreme cat eye frame. Another option is the Valentin, which is best described as an off round frame. For men, the Burt frame is a large rectangular frame, which is a classic retro frame with a more contemporary flair.
This has also been captured by WestGroupe with an excellent array of retro eyewear that ECPs should definitely consider. There are three collections: FYSH, EVATIK and KLiiK. All of the collections are made of either acetate or stainless.
The FYSH collection is a women’s line that has a number of stunning models. The F3494 is a slight cat eye shape made of acetate with a lace design on the front and temples. The unique look of this frame is both retro and modern.
Another great looking frame is the F3498, a retro shaped stainless frame with a vintage stripe design on the temple.
EVATIK is the men’s line that includes the stylish E9083, a round acetate frame with spring hinges or the E9084, which has a stainless steel front with acetate temples.
The KLiiK line contains frames for both men and women. Like the FYSH and EVATIK lines, available frames include shapes like cat eyes, Clubmaster-inspired and round shape frames which have distinct features such as stripes and pops of color on the inside of the temples.
Another option is the Seraphin line by Ogi Eyewear. Seraphin draws upon the past to synthesize new, alluring styles through the placement of acute details, rich color and handmade materials. Vintage luxury is all in the details, as beautifully demonstrated with the unveiling of two of Seraphin’s newest styles, the Heather and the Aurora. The Heather calls attention to luxurious details with characteristic 1950’s vintage flair. This coveted cat-eye shape features unique carved metallic embossing, accented by intricately placed Austrian crystals. Seraphin’s newest bestseller, the Aurora, unites soft curves with a large swooping arch silhouette for a look the demands attention. Inspired by the sophisticated appearance of granite,
the Aurora utilizes a refined marble technique to offer blends of pink, blue, brown or black, complemented by bursts of metallic to create multitudes of dimension and style.
Other popular retro styles frames from Seraphin include Niles (Classic P3 shape), the Heather (cat eye), the Griggs (Clubmaster-esque style), the Marquette (cat eye), the Ann and Quinn Sun (both Jackie-O Styles).
Lastly Brooklyn Spectacles offers a wide array of frames all with bold designs, quality craftsmanship and a comfortable fit. “Our mission is to design eyewear that is fashion-forward, nteresting and technologically advanced. We believe the future of eyewear fashion is the discovery of styles beyond the ordinary.”
Brooklyn Spectacles presently offers three collections: Wood Collection, Classic Collection and Ultem Collection.
The Wood Collection is not made with real timber. Instead, it is an acetate plastic surface with a wood-like finish which provides the unique look of genuine wood while enjoying the comfort of the versatile synthetic material. The Classic Collection is a traditional polished acetate and the Ultem Collection is a new aerospace-grade polyetherimide (PEI) resin material that is exceptionally flexible and lightweight and is resistant to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Styles include the “Monti”, a modern take on the classic P3 shape from Wood Collection while the “Columbus” is a fresh take on a 50’s style half rimless in the flexible and lightweight Ultem Collection.
ECPs who are looking to carry the hottest retro styles should consider carrying the lines mentioned above.
These frames are perfect not only for wearers looking for a fresh new look and feel but for those patients looking for a hip new style. •

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