Breaking Down Barriers: The Fashion Industry Embraces Gender Neutral

Barriqule

Gender neutral eyeglasses from Barriqule (Italy)

The current swirl of controversy over the question of whether access to restrooms and shower facilities should be based on a person’s birth gender or current gender identity brings to the fore a trend that the fashion industry has increasingly embraced over the past few years:  gender neutrality.  Also called gender fluid, no gender or bi-gender, this trend embraces the concept that a person’s choice of clothing and accessories should be based on what looks good and feels right, not which department displays the apparel.

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Gucci gender neutral line, photo via style.com

Back in March 2015, the British retailer Selfridges took a bold step in dismantling its men’s and women’s department for six weeks, replacing both with a unified department it called “Agender” that offered clothing, beauty products and accessories.   This mirrors a trend on the catwalks where male and female models wear fashions of their own and the opposite gender, and fashion shows are increasingly combined to display men’s and    women’s clothing  together and interchangeably.

 A Little History

This trend is not as new as it may seem.  European women “stole” the fashion of high-heeled shoes from men way back in the 17th century and, at the same time, cut their hair short, wore men’s style hats and added military elements, such as epaulettes, to their outfits as a fashion statement.

Fast forward to the 1920s and we find the “la garconne” look – women’s clothing with a distinctive masculine edge that freed women from the bondage of corsets and layered petticoats.  This was women’s liberation on both the physical and psychological levels!

gender neutral bowie

David Bowie famously promoted an asexual look.

Half a century later, Diane Keaton rocked the grown-up tomboy look in the movie the 1977 film Annie Hall and singer/song writer David Bowie was famous for his androgynous look in the same era.  Jean-Paul Gaultier pushed boundaries even farther by releasing a line of men’s skirts in 1985.  Calvin Klein grounded the movement with unisex clothing lines in the 1990s.

Japanese or Korean designers innately have sense transgender fashion. Remember Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Gentle Monster…

Not the Same Thing as Unisex

The gender neutral concept is a step forward from unisex.  It’s not about a garment or accessory styled for both genders.  It’s a shirt, coat, or eyeglass frame that speaks for itself and refuses to be limited by gender.   The focus is on the object itself and that breaks down gender barriers.

WOOW (France)

Gender-Neutral Eyewear

The eyewear industry was ahead of the rest of the fashion world with its debut of the “geek chic” look nearly a decade ago and the concurrent revival of vintage styles that gave young women “permission” to wear replicas of their grandfathers’ glasses.  Since then, sleeker lines, bold colors and revolutionary materials have made gender boundaries irrelevant in eyewear fashion.   Wear what looks good on you and expresses your unique fashion sense!

Collection 2016 by students of Rhode Island School of Design  Fred Mezidor, Adam Blake and Jacob Valencia:

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LE TRINOCLE by Lucas de Staël

Le Trinocle

Le Trinocle is a unique accessory, joining a binocle, a mirror and a magnifying glass, ready to be combined as you wish, thanks to the included magnets. Handmade in Paris, using genuine cow leather, Le Trinocle is available in 5 colors. Playful, modular and multipurpose, it’s an exceptional piece, redefining what eyewear accessories can be. Combine at will !

Available at Providence Optical as special request.

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LDS_Trinocle-colors

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova, Jan 2017

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova, Jan 2017

 

 

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.

State Optical chalkboard on Westminster St, Providence

State Optical chalkboard on Westminster St, Providence

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

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Makeup tips for girls who rock glasses

Glasses definitely make a style statement, but your eyes can get lost beneath your frames unless you adjust your makeup.

“Being a beauty expert, I’ve always been aware of how dlasses can transform the face and wanted to take the mistery out of how to choose the right glasses”- Bobbi Brown, founder and chief creative officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Inc.

Here are her favorite ways to make your eyes pop from behind your lenses she decribes in “Everything Eyes” by Chronicle Books.

  • Eyeliner is key; it really adds definition from behind your lenses.
  • Always define your brows with a shadow the same shade as your hair color. This ensure that your glasses don’t overpower your face.
  • The glass in your frames can hightlight undereye discoloration and darkness, so corrector and concealer underneath the eye and in creases is essential.
  • Waterproof mascara won’t smage on your lenses.
  • If you have strong frames, you can get away with stronger makeup.
  • If your frames are delicate, or in a nude shade, don’t let your makeup overpower your frames. Choose softer colors for shadow and create definition with a dark liner and mascara.
  • The color of your eye shadow shouldn’t compete with the color of your glasses. If you want to do the same color as your frames on your eyelids, try a base hue that’s a shade lighter, and go a few shades darker for the crease color. Finish with black liner and mascara.
  • For an easy look, go with a bold color on your lips and just corrector, concealer, and mascara for your eyes. Put on your glasses and you’re done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  An eye shadow color that is lighter and brighter than your frames will stand out, instead of competing with your glasses.

2.  When you have a mix of confident colors on your hair, lips, and frames, kep your eye makeup simple and clean with only a little liner and mascara.

3.  White frames highlight both your eye and makeup colors, making them a great choice to pair with statement eye makeup.

4.  Bold liner, with minimal shadow, looks amazing with thick, oversize frames.

 

Don’t go to Brooklyn to find Brooklyn Spectacles, they are here!

Established in April 2012 and based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Spectacles grows fast. Inspired by the challenging requests of her Brooklyn customers, Jenny Ma, the founder, has composed a collection that matches their expectations. She creates quality-crafted eyewear inspired by local independent artists, musicians and trendsetters.

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, interesting and technologically advanced. We believe the future of eyewear fashion is the discovery of styles beyond the ordinary.”

We presently offers two Brooklyn Spectacles collections: Wood Collection and Classic Collection. The Wood Collection is not made with real timber. While the frames are made of plastic, they have a finish that makes them appear to be wooden which provides the unique look of genuine wood while enjoying the comfort of the versatile synthetic material. The Classic Collection is a traditional polished or matte acetate with invisible hinge.

The collection is inspired by the bustling atmosphere of the neighborhood. We offer solid neat frames for a very competitive price range of $195. 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.

 

Contemporary glasses from the heart of Brooklyn New York, come take a look at our great new brand Brooklyn Spectacles.

 

Elegant and sophisticated. New Dita Eyewear.

Model STATESMAN is availiable at Providence Optical

John Juniper and Jeff Solorio founded DITA in Los Angeles in 1996 with the mission to create innovative, finely crafted eyewear with a totally unique look and feel. They always shared the same passion for photography and design. Together they were inspired to capture their passions not just on film but in eyewear as well, thus creating the first collection of Dita frames.

Frames FOLSOM and VIDA

Edgy yet elegant with an East meets West aesthetic and design influences ranging from Hollywood’s glamorous Golden Age to the mechanized beauty of the Industrial Revolution, DITA’s ability to enhance and transform a wearer’s persona has earned the brand a cult-like following amongst the world’s most influential celebrities, stylists and trendsetters. Dita became a well-known company in Europe.

Dita is an independent and somewhat underground brand for edgy, unique people with style of their own. The frames are based on traditional shapes but morphed in the design and technology to be unique and original.  

 

While the design is made in Los Angeles, Dita Eyewear manufacture in Japan,  in some of the oldest and the most respected factories dedicated exclusively to producing eyewear which use laborious combination of traditional and modern production techniques and technologies to transform the world’s finest metals and acetates into luxurious eyewear. Dita eyewear is an innovative and unique juxtaposition of timeless elegance and mechanical chic dedicated to creating original artistic statements.

Come to experience the exquisite quality and beauty of Dita!

SINTRA in crystal cream color

 

Award winning eyewear is here!

Silmo Ceremony where Lucas de Staël won the Silmo d’Or for the Best Optical frame.

There’s something about a repeat winner.  Think Serena Williams, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Lebron James, Meryl Streep.  You can rely on such people to give you an amazing performance again and again.  In the world of eyewear, Lucas de Staël has become a repeat winner, as he walks away once again with best ophthalmic frame design award from this year’s Silmo d’Or – the eyewear version of the Academy Awards. For a run-down of his previous Silmo award, see our blog posting of Oct. 17, 2012.

We’re proud to say that we’ve been working with De Staël for a long time. First, he brought us his innovative Undostill and Suprematic lines, which revolutionized the industry by creating frames from a single piece of steel with no hinges.  His next adventure was to craft frames of out of leather, including his Minotaure line, made of  cow skin, and separate collection made of goat-skin, which he dubbed “Monsieur Seguin”. The frames have hinged temples and high calibre stainless steel between layers of leather for durability. But don’t think boring leather shades like in shoe wear.  Think attention-getting mod colors.

Production of Minotaure cow-leather line at Lucas de Staël studio in Paris.

Fronts from Minotaure line.

His latest innovation is eyewear made of genuine stone like granite, slate and pearl schist. He has two lines using thin stone cuts, “Stratus” and “Petrus”. “Stratus” uses a combination of stone, steel and leather. “Pertus” frames have a stone front and stone temples. The the material is so thin that it actually bends.  Again, de Staël used a metal skeleton to provide support while minimizing weight.

Presentation of “Petrus” at Silmo 2014

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova at his studio in Paris

Fascinated by this unparalleled ingenuity, we visited de Staël’s studio-factory in Paris to see the manufacturing process for ourselves.  The site is as innovative as the eyewear it produces.  The two-story glass building nestled between two typical city buildings is light, spacious and well-organized.  Inside are machinery and tools created by de Staël and his team.  They have to create their own because no other technology can manipulate the natural frame materials in this unique way or produce such meticulous results.  For example, the layers of the frame have to line up with a minuscule 0.05 mm tolerance.

Production

Sheet of slate for “Petrus” line gives matté finish to the frame.

Fall Holiday 2014: Garrett Leight New Releases

Amélie Pichard for GLCO: Frame “Pamela” with sparkling acetate on the front and in the lenses.

California based frame maker Garrett Leight and French shoes and bags designer Amélie Pichard launch this fall a limited series of solar retro glamor eyewear.

The singular frame shape presented in different color versions to express three very different personalities of feminity: Grace Jones for her fierce and fearless nature, Juliette Lewis the tomboy and Pamela Anderson the lively bombshell. This timeless line is composed of all classic features of Amélie Pichard aesthetics like glitter, sparkles, and radiance. Sparkles are present on the frame, incorporated in the acetate or on the lenses.

Amélie is everything that she claims her brand to be: dreamy but realistic, masculine but terribly sophisticated. She makes shoes in her image: timeless, surreal, and glamorous, but fitted to everyday life.

                  

For this season, Garrett Leight California Optical is also releasing new models for his own collection. It is about a return to classics. You will see some familiar shapes in rich new acetate colors and larger sizes.

Stop by Providence Optical and check them out. We will offer a 10% discount on all GLCO frames for the Holidays!