Highway Overpass Meets Contemporary Necklace: A New Line of Eyewear Is Born

Ludwig

Contemporary Jewelry:  Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.

Road Architecture:  Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.

What do the two have in common?  Look closely.  It’s all about texture.  And  Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.

The Steinar frame is made of steel and real concrete, yet it's light enough to wear.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Lung’s Steinar frame is made of real concrete, yet it’s light enough to wear. Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor.  Photo by Patrick Han (cargocollective.com/patrickhan).

The Ludwig frame celebrates industrial I-beams as both structure and decor. Photo by Patrick Han.

It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces.  Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs.  And then something strange and wonderful happened:  She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer.  Lung explains:

I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.

For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step.  She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way.  In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials.  Says Lung:

Gunta, 2016. Polycabonate, duct tape

Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.

Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

Archytas playfully showcases screws as a design element. Photo by Patrick Han

– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws

– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and  its origins

– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements

Akira blends steel and  duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture.  Photo by Patrick Han.

Akira blends steel and duct tape into sleek shape with velvety texture. Photo by Patrick Han.

– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece

– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.

Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses will be available soon at RISD Works store and  at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!

Archytas

Archytas, 2016. Steel

You Asked for It, We Have It: Luxury Eyewear Made in America

State Optical.It sounds like a classic tale of the American dream and yet it’s contemporary.  Jason Stanley and Marc Franchi (who are cousins, by the way) bought a tiny optical business called Frieze Frames in Ventura, California back in 2009.  Their dream was to create a line of luxury eyewear not only headquartered or designed in America, but actually manufactured in the USA.  Everyone told them why it wouldn’t work – the high cost of labor, the lack of people skilled in the trade, you name it.  But, like true heroes, they didn’t just give up.  By visiting eyewear factories in France, Italy and China, they gained expertise in the manufacturing process and indeed brought it to America, albeit on a small scale.

Then, in 2013, Stanley and Franchi’s superior American product caught the attention of the big eyewear firm Europa International, which had tried, unsuccessfully, to woo overseas partners to open up manufacturing lines in the US because American consumers were asking for eyewear made in America.  The Frieze Frames’ owners’ passion and dedication was just what Europa was looking for and a partnership was born:  State Optical Company. Please watch this video:

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-state-optical-frame-makers-bsi-20160311-story.html#

State EyewearTogether, the new partners enlisted the aid of experienced frame designer Blake Kuwahara, who created 12 ophthalmic and six sunglass frames for the STATE’s “Made in America” collection, which made its official debut last September.  Kuwahara’s vision was brought to life in a beautiful new state-of-the art facility outside Chicago where specially trained American workers undertake at least 35 steps to produce each frame (and up to 70 steps for ultra-luxury models).  Over 50% of the production is done by hand in a painstaking process that requires a full two weeks.  These frames are not molded, but rather are cut from blocks of material, then the details are cut into the frame and the pieces are hand polished.  The texture and balance of the frame, along with superior machined metal components, gives a luxury aesthetic and tactile experience.

State Eyewear

21 drilled holes to represent Illinois, which was the 21st State to enter the Union.

These classic, sleek and yet elegant acetate frames bear a logo with special meaning.  At the end of each temple, you’ll find a pyramid of 21 points that are drilled into the frame and then filled with a contrasting color epoxy.  Why 21?  Because Illinois, home of the new US factory, is the 21st state.

Planning a summer vacation to the Midwest?  STATE Optical welcomes visitors to its Chicago-area plant.  That’s right; you don’t have to be a business owner or an eye doctor.  All are welcome to witness the beginning of what STATE hopes will be a new wave of products manufactured in America.

State Factory in Chicago

We’re proud to offer STATE Optical’s high quality, luxury eyewear line.  Come see for yourself what Made in America really means.

Meet new members of edCFDA (Eyewear Designers of The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc)

Javits Center, NYC

Eyewear show at Javits Center, NYC. April 2016

In 2014, the CFDA launched the Eyewear Designers of the CFDA (edCFDA), a working group within the CFDA. Created by 12 CFDA Member eyewear designers, the group’s aim is to inspire, empower, and promote awareness of eyewear design and the vitality of the optical industry through promotion, education, mentoring and collaborative initiatives.

In April 2016 new members,designers Patty Perreira (BARTON PERREIRA), Blake Kuwahara (BLAKE KUWAHARA), Christian Roth (CHRISTIAN ROTH), Daniel Silberman (ILLESTEVA), Gai Gherardi (L.A. EYEWORKS), Shane Baum (LEISURE SOCIETY), Jeff Press (MORGENTHAL FREDERICS), Robert Marc (ROBERT MARC), and Selima Salaun (SELIMA OPTIQUE), presented new eyewear designs at International Vision Expo in New York during the first ever Eyewear Showcase.

Selima Salaun (SELIMA OPTIQUE)

Selima Salaun (SELIMA OPTIQUE)

Emily Teel, a regular contributor to Edible Philly and Foobooz, the food bloger for Philadelphia Magazine, has a soft spot for all things gastronomical, she is also a devoted eyewear aficionado. She had an opportunity to interview two NYC-based designers – Selima Salaun and Robert Marc about their favorite palces to go out.

Selima Salaun

eb: When you do go out, is there a neighborhood that you like to stay in?


ss: I try to take [clients] to the new, hip places. Like, for instance, The Standard [Hotel in the Meatpacking District]. It looks like a “Barbarella” setup.

eb: For the folks who are not as lucky to be able to dine with you, where would you suggest?

ss: I adore Daniel Boulud; his food is amazing. DBGB is much cheaper than his places uptown, and if you go see a show at Lincoln Center, just across the street is Boulud Sud. I also love Mercer Kitchen, Locanda Verde, and Momofuku.

Robert Marc

rm: … I think the West Village has so many small, chic, fabulous places to have a great dinner. It’s just a charming, wonderful part of the city with cobblestone streets, townhouses, [and] small, quaint restaurants.



eb: Are there places that you really love there?

rm: Sant Ambroeus. Great little place. And I Sodi. Both are small Italian restaurants, so I’d recommend reservations. Another great place is En, a fantastic Japanese restaurant. It is very glamorous, big, fun, and really wonderful.



eb: Any New York “must-visit” spots for you?


rm: Right now? The High Line and the new Whitney Museum of Art. Absolutely spectacular. Because the show is later this year, the weather is going to be nicer. Which is great, [because] the High Line starts at 34th Street and 12th Avenue, really right next to the Javits Center, so you can walk down the High Line all the way to the Whitney at the other end.

Robert Mark & Charlotte Labyt

Robert Marc (ROBERT MARC EYEWEAR) & Charlotte Labyt

Gai Gerardi (L.A.EYEWORKS)

Gai Gerardi (L.A.EYEWORKS)

Patty Perreira (BARTON PERREIRA)

Patty Perreira (BARTON PERREIRA)

Blake Kuwahara (BLAKE KUWAHARA) & Onega Astaltsova

Blake Kuwahara (BLAKE KUWAHARA) & Onega Astaltsova

MIOF – Moscow International Optical Fair

MIOFFeb 16, 2016
MIOF ( 18th Moscow International Optical Fair)

Providence Optical Video Clip  Onega Astaltsova and Olga Mosheyeva (editor-in-chief of ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine, Moscow, Russia) presented an award in Category PRIVATE LABEL for eyewear collection at Golden Lorgnette National Award ceremony. Mosheyeva said: ” You are a paradigm for the other companies. You proof that you are able to create  beautiful collections that have success in Russia and abroad. ” The winner is the company SCOLANI with brand RUSOMANIA from the city of Ekaterinburg.

Scolani_eyewear_3

     Scolani_eyewear_4Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 3.16.55 AM

Golden Lorgnette is an annual award of optical industry in numerous categories that honors eyecare professionals. Onega Astaltsova was invited to Committee of Experts for the award.

Opti Munich 2016 – Highlights from the vision show

Opti Munich is an annual trade show in the eyewear industry. For the first time this year, we choose to attend this show. A total of 576 exhibitors from 37 countries were present and visitors from 81 countries. This year’s exhibition highlights ranges from a new lens technology for safe driving to the glasses frames made out from pepper or chili and dill to the work of art frames made of paper.

The focus was on quality, creative spirit and incomparably family-like atmosphere. Opti triggers new trends, as the trade fair is flexible in meeting the needs of the market, and setting off new impulses.

Kinto Eyewear – Belgian indépendant Eyewear since 1978. Specialized in petite faces and known for repairable spring hinges.

Thomsen Eyewear – Danish brand, original and contemporary frames made in titanium with classical shape with a bit of color.

748fd254-1335-4d9b-a159-36b8bdcae8eaBarriqule – Born in 2014 in Italy from the idea of Lorenzo Del Tufo. Unisex glasses and sunglasses collections characterized by cellulose acetate fronts and temples in oak recycled from exhausted barrels. Barriqule video

 

 

Paul Hueman – Korean eyewear company specialized in the Asian Fit.

Projekt Samsem – Founded in 2015 in Berlin, the focus of PROJEKT SAMSEN is to create timeless and remarkable goods for everyday life. 3D printed glasses with innovative hinge,
PROJEKT SAMSEN combines new ideas and technologies with timeless aesthetics and values.

All these lines will be soon available at Providence Optical and also in addition new products from existing lines Garrett Leight, Etnia, Lunettes Kollektion, Woow, Dutz Eyewear and Intrigue.

 

 

Benchmarks: Eyewear Decor

Our aviator eyeglasses mirror was mentioned in the article of November-December 2015 edition of INVISION by CORRIE PELC

ART SMART

Eyewear-inspired elements create just the right professional atmosphere
Art can be a tricky thing. What one person loves, another may not. And it’s always very personal — you can tell a lot about someone by the art hanging in his home.

The same is true for your business. The artwork and decor you choose for your eyecare practice or optical shop will be a direct reflection of who you are, the sort of clientele you want to attract and the type of atmosphere you are trying to create.
The six examples here all show how art can be used to make a business more memorable and reflect what the owner wants the business to be. People with artistic skills may decide to go the DIY route and create their own office decor, while others may look to the work of outsiders. Whichever way you go, aim for a look that speaks to both the uniqueness and professionalism of your businesses.

Onega Astaltsova, an artist who is also managing optician of Providence Optical in Providence, RI, says good art will help elevate your business. “As ECPs, we have a professional obligation and the art has to be professional too,” she explains. “You still need to follow the rules of business and not just your personal taste. Good art will help you look professional.”

Need some more inspiration for your space? You’ll find lots of good resources online. TheOpticalVisionSite.com and Pinterest are great resources for decorating ideas, as are Facebook groups such as Opticians on Facebook. You might also work with a local artist, gallery owner or art consultant to help you find or create the look you seek.

DSC_0340

MIRROR, MIRROR
Providence Optical, Providence, RI

➤ With a background in art, it’s no wonder why Onega Astaltsova decided to design an eyewear wall mirror for Providence Optical. Astaltsova says she chose a metal aviator-shaped frame design for the mirror to complement the shop’s large selection of vintage frames. She created a hand drawing of the frame she wanted to depict, then transformed that into a vector computer rendering from which polycarbonate and PVC plastic parts were cut and put together. The finished product is set off by large quotations from literature that help reinforce the idea of Providence Optical as a place that celebrates all the arts.

Etnia Barcelona

Etnia BarcelonaIn ultimate essence an eyewear frame is all about its composed materials, the build of said ingredients and the tech prowess of those materials in active structure. And the whole of that product/object is then in complete coordination to fit on a person’s face and function in securing a lens properly in relationship to that person’s eyes. 

Etnia Barcelona is leading the way with its unique approach to eyewear, making them a worldwide driving force in the optical industry. They are an independent brand of eyewear who has created a wide range of colors, collections and designs for everyone who wants to express him- or herself beyond the cannons imposed by momentary and passing fashion and trends.They are pioneers in the study and application of color resulting in truly unique color combinations and vibrant tortoiseshells that stand apart from the rest. Their designs and overall aesthetic is heavily influenced by fashion and art, both classic and modern, thus offering a wide array of styles for today’s customer.

The eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona was an idea born from the mind of David Pellicer, a man who spent his childhood around sunglasses. He grew up playing in his grandparent’s sunglasses factory in Barcelona, Spain and he grew increasingly interested in how they were made. David Pellicer is carrying on a family legacy that goes back 3 generations, bringing with him vast knowledge of the industry and a passion for glasses.

 

Pioneers of Colour

etniabarcelona_080_03

CEO David Pellicer’s entire eyewear oeuvre is a work of color artistry in and of itself.  The Etnia brand spends as much time inventing the colors of new frames and lenses as they do on the crafting of the frames themselves. In fact, Etnia Barcelona is one of the only eyewear manufacturers to have created some unique five hundred colors patented by them. Etnia’s unique colors and acetates are produced by master artisans Mazzucchelli in Italy, who use only the finest, 100% organic cottons to blend acetates which are then aged for twelve weeks, resulting in the highest quality material possible.

They conducts colour studies twice a year to incorporate new tones into the latest designs, and inspirational moods are generated to imbue the newest collections with life and richness. This dedication has established the company has a true pioneer in the study and application of colour.

Thinking of the Environment

They are also passionate about incorporating sustainable materials into their creations. All Etnia Barcelona glasses are produced using 100% natural acetate. Not to mention, all of their eyewear is made from natural organic compounds, which means they are recyclable and biodegradable.

Etnia means comfortable fit for all ethnicities

etniabarcelona_080_13 Launched 2003 in Barcelona, Spain, Pellicer’s goal in creating Etnia Barcelona was to bring unique colors, the height of technological innovation, a supreme level of wearing comfort, and an avant garde sense of artistry to the world. He also brings an exclusive knowledge of facial anatomy to the table, which makes his frames some of the best fitting, most comfortable glasses in the world. As Pellicer explains, “Comfort and design are the strong points of Etnia Barcelona glasses. Our exhaustive knowledge of facial features is transferred to each piece, thereby producing some of the most comfortable eyewear in the world.” The goal is to create a product that works for many face types, which came from the name “Etnia”. Every pair of Etnia Barcelona is the final assembled product of many smaller pieces of carefully crafted perfection. Likewise, Etnia’s unique hinge mechanism, which allows the glasses to fit fluidly to any face, are made and polished by the manufacturing giants, Comtec.

Etnia is establishing itself by always producing colorful and trendy models at accessible prices.

 

Hello Fall!

Now that cooler temperatures finally have arrived, we can turn our attention to fall fashion.  If you’re ready to update your look, here’s a quick look at what is trending in the Land of Eyewear this fall:

Updated Neutral Base Tones

Neutral base eyewear

Earthy neutrals have dominated the fall fashion scene for a while, but we’re seeing a new twist on the palette this year.  Warm, rich, earth tones are more complex this season, yet they provide a comfortable base for designers’ use of bold color statements.  The juxtaposition of classic and bold creates a dynamic, compelling look.

Pantone colors

Pantone’s latest color trends offers a sneak peek of the coming season. One of the new key neutrals is Desert Sage, a cool and soothing greenish-gray.  It is timeless, unobtrusive and has a visual interest in its own right, yet it pairs well with many others colors. Similar in tone is Dried Herb, an olive green resembling the hue one might see in a safari suit or military uniform. With the popularity of gray tones still at the forefront, it’s no surprise that Stormy Weather is also one of the top color choices this season. Oak Buff, a mellow golden-yellow, is a brighter neutral that gives off a warm, sunny feeling. Marsala, on the other hand, was a top pick in the spring and has returned to bring its reddish brown hue into fall fashion lineup.

Bold, Bright Accent Colors

Bolder and brighter colors have entered the scene to add some visual pop in combination with a neutral base. Examples include:

Pantone colors 2

  • Cadmium Orange, a warm but dramatic orange
  • Cashmere Rose, a softer pink hue
  • Amethyst Orchid, more in the purple hue – a beautiful shade that is both vibrant and enigmatic
  • Biscay Bay, a cool teal with undertones of both blue and green that evoke evokes thoughts of soothing tropical waters.
  • Reflecting Pond, a more serious and contemplative shade that is reminiscent of deep, dark waters.

Unisex Color Combinations

Unisex frame shapes have been around for a while, but this fall we’re seeing the evolution of a more gender-neutral color palette. Distinctly “masculine” or “feminine” colors have given way to color combinations that are bold, yet appropriate for both genders.  We are seeing a truly unisex color palette.

Classic Black

The timeless quality of black has secured it an enduring place in the palette of eyewear colors.  It remains a style stronghold, though it is losing ground to a range of bright colors.

Patterns

Geometric/bold frames

Geometric, bold and colorful frames, Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Dazzling shades are popping up in a growing trend of prints and patterns. The clothing industry inspired this decorative movement, peppering glasses with floral motifs, geometric designs, stripes and ethnic prints.

Shapes: An Eye for renewal

The vintage wave is still rolling and is taking us to new places.  Modern, updated butterfly shapes (inspired by the cat-eye) are emerging, launching a neo-retro look.

Round frames (they’re back!) are oversized for women, since small round glasses are reserved for men this season. Octagonal glasses – a cousin of the round shape – offer an escape from the rigidity of rectangular frames with more edgy geometric interest than a classic round.  This is a shape to keep your eye on!

Panto eyewear

Vintage panto glasses with polarized lenses. ($117)

The panto is one of the most iconic shapes in the history of glasses design. The term panto comes from the word “pantoscopic”, which literally means “seeing everything” or “wide view”.  These frames are a combination of round and oval shapes with a high hinge.

Here at Providence Optical, we have the latest new designs as well as never-worn, real vintage glasses, with polarized lenses and anti-reflective coating for just $117 – a very affordable option.

Materials: Combinations in View 

The female preference for plastic has taken on a new dimension: metal frames that appear to be plastic! Surface treatments offer very realistic simulations that allow for the bold look of plastic with the lightweight advantage of metal.

DSC_0375

Kicking it up a notch, laser cutting techniques are used to create metal lacework of an exquisite finesse for very refined frames. Taken to the extreme, laser-cut frames appear as light, airy “wires”.

 

Combination of materialsBut why limit yourself to one material?  Increasingly, designers are combining plastic and metal for aesthetic combinations that are original, and where materials blend seamlessly into one another for unprecedented looks.

 

 

Innovative Materials

The quest to find innovative eyewear materials lives on.  Naomed, for example, has released a new line of eyewear made seaweed.  Leather with embedded stainless steel for strength also is on the scene.  Designers also are embedding fabric and paper fibers into plastics for a lighter weight, textured look.

Wood finishing eyewearAt the same time, the use of wood as an eyewear material continues, but is evolving from a chunky appearance to a more sophisticated and elegant silhouette.
This fall’s new trends open up possibilities for a wide range of looks from bold and artsy, to playful, classic or understated.  The look that’s best for you depends on the shape of your face, your coloring and the attitude that you want to project.  Our skilled opticians are ready to offer their expertise in helping you find the combination of style, colors and materials that fit well, feel good and look great.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is this frame so expensive? – All glasses are not created equal.

 

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In an era where you can get really cheap eyeglasses from an online vendor, you may wonder why the frames offered in retail shops are so much more expensive.  The answer is simple:  It’s not the same product.  Before you settle on your next pair of specs, here are some important things to consider:

It’s  Not Just a Fashion Statement; It’s a Medical Device

Of course we all love the fashion side of eyewear.  It’s fun to try on new styles and see how each one changes your overall look.  Chunky frames, for example, make a bold, artsy statement while ultrathin metal frames provide a minimalist look that lets your lovely face take the center stage.  What matters more is that eyeglasses are a medical device and you’re going to live with this device for the next year or two.  So, durability, safety and function matter just as much as the fashion side.

Top notch eyewear manufacturers pay attention to both sides of the equation.  They hire designers who are in tune with – and sometimes even innovators in – the fashion industry.  At the same time, they use manufacturing processes that include rigorous testing and inspection to ensure the frames will fit properly and stand up to the normal knocks of everyday life.

 Plastics

Most plastic frames are made of acetate, but this category covers a wide range of blended materials, which can include cellulose, nylon, cotton, wood and even castor oil.  The weight and durability varies depending on the materials used in the acetate and the manufacturing processes.

KEY FACT:  The very best handmade acetates in the world are manufactured in Italy. Mazzucchelli 1849 is the worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of cellulose acetate, a plastic material traditionally used in the production of spectacles and sunglasses. They develop also exclusive acetate designs for some of the high end eyewear companies.

Fused layers of acetate

Color blends (think tortoise shell and similar color swirls) cost more to manufacture.  Each color is created separately and then the colors are brought together in a complicated way that allows the colors to coexist without blending completely into a new, solid shade.  Because each color has a slightly different chemical composition, this process requires testing to ensure that the colors will adhere to each other so that the frame doesn’t break apart at points where the color patches touch.

 

 

 

Layering

Layering

Layering is another factor that adds cost to the production of plastics.  Frames that have a different color on the inside and outside cost more to produce, but they give a flash of alternate color that makes them interesting and fashionable.  Similarly, a shiny, clear inside layer (sometimes called “crystal”) balances the heavy color on the outside of the frame and makes it look less overwhelming.  This is especially helpful if you want a bold look, but have delicate facial features.  Some high fashion frames have as many as four transparent layers in different shades that give the effect of looking into a deep, clear pool of color.

 

 

Polishing:  For plastic frames to look their best and feel comfortable, particularly over your ears, polishing is an extra step that costs more, but is well worth it.  Some high fashion frames with carved designs in the temple are hand polished for as much as 15 minutes, which makes the design look smoothly embossed rather than roughly chiseled.

TIP:  Before purchasing a frame, hold the temple between your index finger and thumb and slide your hand up and down over the portion that fits over your ear.  If it doesn’t feel really smooth, it’s likely to irritate the top or back of your ear.

sheet of titanium

sheet of titanium

 

Metals

All eyewear metals resist corrosion and warping and they bend easily for a really good fit, but the durability and the weight depends on which metals are used.

prozess_mMetal blends (known as monel) are the least expensive type in this category, but also the heaviest and least durable.  They frequently have an outer coating that looks good, but wears off to reveal a dull gray metal underneath.

Stainless steel is more durable and slightly more expensive, but is still relatively heavy and only comes in only one shade.  Typically it does not have an outer layer that wears off.

Titanium is more expensive, but it’s very lightweight and strong, so manufacturers can create frames that are much thinner and yet stronger.  Titanium also can easily be coated with matte color for a wider range of fashion options.

 

powerlaw_montage2_1Hinges

Hinge failure is the number one cause of eyeglasses breaking beyond the point of repair.  Hinges can either break internally (especially spring hinges) or pull apart from the point where they are joined to the front of the frame.

 

 

TIP:  Before you purchase a pair of frames, hold them in the palm of your hand and open and close one temple.  You’ll be able to tell right away if it’s a cheap, weak hinge or one that has resilience.

KEY FACT:  The very best hinges in the optical industry are made in Germany.

 

Fit Matters

Online websites have fun tools that let you upload a picture and “try on” various eyeglass frames, but the truth is, you can’t tell how a frame will fit and feel without trying it on.  Even if a frame feels good when you first try it on, it may not be the best option for you.  A trained optician can point out subtle problems, like when the nosepiece on a plastic frame is the wrong shape for your nose and will cause slippage, or when the temples are too close or too far from the side of your face to get and maintain a comfortable fit.  Getting the frame to sit properly and stay there is crucial to comfort and to your vision.  Why?  Because lenses have an optical center that must ride over your pupils or you will have blurred vision or eye fatigue.  This is even more critical if you wear progressive or bifocal lenses.

 

Guarantees

Make sure you ask about the manufacturer’s guarantee.  Cheap frames typically are warranted for 90 days.  Quality frames usually carry at least a one-year guarantee and some have two-year coverage.  Some manufacturers of children’s frames also offer free replacement if your adorable little rough-houser breaks or loses his glasses within a year.

Eyeglasses Frames and Hollywood: Guess What They Have in Common

lunettes-kollektion-production-

If you’re a fan of retro eyewear, or if you’re old enough to remember when it was the “new thing,” you know that early plastic eyeglass frames were thick and pretty heavy for the poor nose that had to hold them up. New colors for plastic eyewear emerged in the mid-20th Century, giving birth to the idea that eyewear is a fashion statement rather than a medical necessity. A variety of shapes also emerged in this era, but they were all pretty thick. We’ve come a long way since then to the modern, ultra light plastics that feature flexibility and über thin lines in a wild array of colors. Let’s take a look back to see how we got to where we are today.

 A Volatile Beginning

 SchönbeinThe first composition plastic used for eyeglass frames was celluloid – yup, the same stuff used by Hollywood filmmakers – which was invented way back in 1869. Technically, it was called cellulose nitrate, or nitrocellulose. The word “nitro” isn’t just a coincidence. This stuff was highly flammable. The story goes that German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868 ) used the family kitchen to conduct experiments with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. Even great chemists have “oops” moments, so when Schönbein spilled some of the mixture, he used his wife’s apron to wipe it up. The aprons of the day were made of 100 percent cotton, so Schönbein unknowingly mixed cellulose fibers from the apron into his nitrate compound. He hung the soiled apron up to dry above the stove and then he had a second “oops” moment when the apron exploded.

Despite its flammable nature, cellulose nitrate – nicknamed “zyl” by the optical industry – was used for eyeglass frames from the late 19th Century all the way through the mid-20th Century. We finally wised up and found other, less volatile, plastics for eyeglass frames, but cellulose nitrate is still used today in the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder, printing ink, wood varnish, foil and film lacquers, automotive paint, fingernail polish, leather finishes, adhesives and coatings to protect silver and other tarnishable metals. And now you understand why you shouldn’t smoke, light a candle or crank up your space heater in the presence of any of these products.

 The Next Generation

 Acetate framesCelluloid nitrate’s cousin and successor is a compound known as cellulose acetate, or “acetate” for short. This more stable compound comes cellulose, usually derived from wood pulp (birch, eucalyptus) or cotton, treated with acetic anhydride (basically, vinegar minus the water molecules) to make the fibers soft and pliable. In this form, it is used to manufacture cloth. For eyeglasses, cellulose acetate is bound with plasticizer, such as diethyl phthalate, to give it the strength and rigid structure needed to mold frames. While the CDC has issued health warnings about direct exposure to diethyl phthalate, it is so strongly bound into the acetate that it cannot leach out at temperatures below 122 degrees.

Cool New Eyewear Materials – Thinner, Lighter, More Color Options

I_THIN_II_5407 by Italia Independent

The latest eyewear plastics are nylon-based, which makes them stronger and more flexible than cellulose acetate. Because nylon molecules have a strong bond, eyeglass manufactures can use less of it, which means thinner, sleeker and lighter eyewear – up to 72% less weight than cellulose acetate. Nylon also accepts dyes very easily, which means a wider range of colors, including translucent shades that look like frosted glass. The only down side is that they are vulnerable to shrinking when exposed to heat, so don’t leave those designer sunglasses on the dash of your car!

If you really want a pair of glasses that you can abuse, look for frame made of Ultem ® (PolyEtherimide) resin. It’s resistant to heat, UV rays and chemical exposure. Because of these properties, it’s widely used in the medical and chemical industries. Like nylon compounds, it is light-weight and can be molded super thin. You can get temple pieces as narrow as 1.2 mm for that “barely there” look. And, your eyeglass frame could be 50% lighter than a comparable one in metal.