Götti store opens in Basel

Götti Switzerland has opened its second store in Switzerland, in collaboration with a leading optician – Ramstein Optik. The elegant minimal “space” has been conceived for the presentation of the entire series of Götti Switzerland collections, and its broad choice of designs and materials, from natural horn to titanium and state-of-the-art 3d printed eyewear.

Götti Switzerland – a new store in Basel – the interior reflects the style of the eyewear

The minimal bright white interior design concept was created by Götti Switzerland and executed by local partners in Basel. In addition to the spacious display wall, which presents the products with wonderfully enhanced light, allowing customers to explore the collections with ease, the focal point of the new boutique is a large decorative chandelier of glass spheres and over 400 acetate frames which takes pride of place at the service counter.

Götti’s new store interior: minimal white with a touch of terracotta

“The second Götti brand store fulfills a longstanding dream,“ according to Sven Götti. “We found the perfect partner with Ramstein Optik. The basis for such a close collaboration has to be a specialty store, and a team acquainted with the collection for many years that uncompromisingly identifies with the brand.” Find out more at www.gotti.ch By Clodagh Norton

New opening: Mykita Munich

Interior design collaboration with Stephanie Thatenhorst

Mykita opens its third shop in Germany in central Munich, close to  Maximilianstraße at Am Kosttor 3. A historic listed corner location formerly used as a gallery space, the shop presents the design language and handcrafted eyewear collections from MYKITA in a welcoming luxury atmosphere where historical elements are offset with one-off furnishings and contemporary design accents.

In a different vein from the typical sleek, minimalist tradition of other MYKITA stores, the interior design was a collaborative effort between the Berlin eyewear maker and local architect office Stephanie Thatenhorst: behind the restored façade of the historical 19th century building, oversized arched windows and doorways set a grand tone followed up by the use of luxurious materials, including marble surfaces, bronze mirrors, glass lights and custom-built furniture pieces from Thatenhorst.

Luxury style at MYKITA Munich: designed in collaboration with Stephanie Thatenhorst

Inside, the eyewear collections are extensive, and include the designer collaborations with Maison Margiela, Helmut Lang and Bernhard Willhelm. A Zeiss Vision Center provides comprehensive optical services and the opportunity for a customised optical profile, to perfectly adapt the frame and lens to each customer’s face. MYKITA Shop Munich, Am Kosttor 3, 80331 Munich, Germany – www.mykita.com

Clelland & Co., Montrose, Scotland

A design-focused independent eyewear boutique, north of Dundee

“We do things differently here,” says Gary Clelland in his Instagram profile @clelland_and_co. The pictures posted on the account show just how far the store has come in a short space of time. Clelland bought the optical shop in February 2018 completely transforming it from a tired, old-fashioned traditional shop with run-of-the-mill frames into a treasure trove of modern independent eyewear, sourced from around the world. Above: a 1950s wood haberdashery cabinet – repurposed for storing the eyewear, takes pride of place in the shop

Retro style at Clelland and Co. – interior design by Pamela Taylor from Aberdeen

“I went to Silmo for the first time in 2017,” Gary Clelland told Eyestylist, “and I was blown away by the variety and quality of niche eyewear available, I knew then I had to bring some of that to Montrose.” In 2019, Clelland introduced Gotti Switzerland and SALT. Optics to the store and began a process of transformation which culminated in a wonderful redesign with the assistance of the stylist Pamela Taylor (@Pam_picks) from Aberdeen.

“For the interior, I didn’t want the shop to look like every other optician’s. Scotland is awash with ‘normal’ optical shops, and not many practices are brave enough to create a different experience for their customers.” The work on the refit was completed in February 2020, and by that time, more new collections had been selected for the store, including theo, Anne & Valentin and Lowercase, following buying trips to Opti Munich and 100% in London.

Interior details at Clelland & Co

“Fast forward 2 years from the beginning and we are now selling far more stylish eyewear with much better lenses,” says Gary. “Our retail environment has been completely transformed with a view to improving the customer experience. From lighting, to paint colours, to the materials used on the seating, it has all been done to help the customer feel relaxed and at home. We now work with far less suppliers but have more depth in each collection. I am now confident that we can bring our clients a fantastic selection from some of the best eyewear manufacturers from around the globe. Anyway why not, we think our customers deserve it!”

Clelland & Co is offering a unique selection of over 450 frames including Rolf Spectacles (Austria), Anne & Valentin (France), Bruno Chaussignand (France), Gotti (Switzerland), la eyeworks (LA), Lowercase (NYC), THEO (Antwerp) and SALT. Optics (California). For more information visit www.clellandandco.com

Clelland & Co., 153 High Street, Montrose, Angus

Tasoni welcomes Lapima SS20 collection

In an exclusive brand partnership the luxury Tasoni boutiques (Zurich, Switzerland) are releasing three glamorous Lapima sun models with a chic collab “Lapima + Tasoni” logo, discreetly appearing on the inside of the temple. The Brazilian SS2020 sunglasses collection (including models Teresa, Andrea and Joca) is the latest addition at the much-admired Swiss fashion stores which specialise in luxury brands and emerging designers for men and women, curated by sisters Taya and Tary Sawiris – and sourced across the globe. Above: SS2020 Lapima: the model wears model Teresa in mint. The frame has a bold square shape, inspired by 1960s retro sunglasses.

Lapima model Andrea, a co-created version with Tasoni – Mazzucchelli acetate, German OBE hinges in titanium, sun lenses by Essilor

The Andrea, a statement frame in the release, is a unisex piece inspired by scuba goggles, with the distinctive oversized shape based on the aviator. The colours of the shades are inspired by the ocean, ranging from delicate tones of mint, one of our favourite tones of the summer collections, and caramel alongside bold cherry and dark olive green (see Andrea above).

About the brand – Launched by Gisela and Gustavo Assis in 2016, Lapima is based on Brazilian design, with geometric lines that play with light and shadow in frames produced principally in Italian acetate. With backgrounds in dance and sport, the founders are both inspired by movement and aesthetic rigour, which set the path for creating the essence of a novel artisan sunglasses collection. The label is based on and continues to expand through constant experimentation, and proposes pieces which “frame the face” while still evoking a sharp image, filled with contemporary attitude. All Lapima frames are manufactured by artisans in São Paulo, Brazil.

Lapima sunglasses are available at Tasoni, St. Peterstrasse 1, 8001 Zurich (Switzerland) and branches including The Chedi Andermatt. For more information visit www.tasoni.com and www.lapima.com

 

 

Gogosha Optique, Echo Park, Los Angeles

Julia Gogosha’s Echo Park flagship is just 2 years old. She describes it with a twinkle in her eye. “A Tetris cathedral artspace playground is how I imagined it…with different sources of inspiration, including artists, sculptors and works of art for which I am passionate.”

A minimal colour palette, injected with saturated tones of lilac, coral and mint, contributes to a bold deliberately architectural interior with the wow factor, designed with precision to house one of the most carefully curated selections of eyewear by internationally acclaimed independent designers. A variety of sunglass frames are displayed, intentionally visible, demonstrating their colour, shape and character and inviting customers to view them like works of art, and try them on. While the optical frames are housed in custom flat file/bleacher seating hybrid sculptural furniture cladded in speckled playground rubber. The space has been designed to include a state-of-the-art in-house workshop. Above: Julia Gogosha, Gogosha Optique – photo by Stephen Schauer

Interior sunglasses display: Gogosha Optique (photograph by Stephen Schauer)

Curated with “the best of each category”, the boutique offers a mix of design-focused core collections such as theo and Anne & Valentin, and design brands offering a variation of price points including Kaleos from Barcelona. Two internationally successful homegrown collections – Ahlem and JacquesMarieMage – are represented alongside some of the most avantgarde designers of the moment, Rigards from Hong Kong, Masahiro Marayuma from Japan and Kuboraum from Berlin. Julia is also innovative in collaborations and events with designers and labels bringing where she can a fresh slant to how she presents them to her customers. Launching for Spring, she has a new project underway with Dom Vetro, an LA label specializing in made-to-order and fully customizable frames – and more collaborative concepts are coming soon.

Gogosha Optique (photograph by Stephen Schauer)

For the current unprecedented situation, as the Coronavirus crisis affects businesses globally, we also talked about what this has entailed so far. In March, Gogosha was open for daily emergencies with one member of staff available in store to fulfil orders and attend to immediate needs such as repairs. The entire Gogosha team have also been providing virtual fittings during the lockdown from home. “We’ve been doing distance fitting appointments intuitively for years, mainly for longstanding clients who might have moved out of the area,” says Julia. “We will continue to adapt and streamline our services to deliver glasses right to the customer’s door. We consider vision essential and will continue to creatively pivot to best service our clients’ vision needs virtually and with a greater appreciation and greater focus on connection and conversation in a time of separation for the safety of humanity.”

Gogosha Optique, Echo Park was designed by John Chen of Formation Association. Gogosha first opened in 2008 in the former location of Silver Lake, east of Hollywood. Gogosha Optique is the winner of the Vision Expo Third Annual OPTImum Retail Award announced in April 2020. For previous articles on Gogosha on Eyestylist visit https://www.eyestylist.com/2017/05/gogosha-pop-2-0/ and https://www.eyestylist.com/2013/10/gogoshagoldsmith-shop-in-shop/

1555 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 – www.gogosha.com

 

Optyk Panski, Poland

An eyewear boutique setting trends in Krakow, Poland

A new generation of independent optical retailers is appearing in Poland, as young opticians develop a curiosity and passion for specialising in unique brands. In Krakow, Optyk Panski’s owner Pawel Szpytma established a new style of store in 2016, having taken over the family optical business in 2011. In 2019 the boutique which had moved to a location near Kazimierz and Podgorze, an historic, significant part of Krakow was developed with a contemporary architectural interior and a roster of exciting brands, which started with Tavat (from Italy) and AM Eyewear (from Australia).

Interior: a loft style with modern fittings and chic wood + leather materials

Eyestylist met Pawel Szpytma in Munich in January, and we asked him what had inspired him to open a shop of this calibre: “I was always curious for something new. I really wanted to step up my knowledge and skills. After visiting international optical fairs and discovering many independent eyewear brands, I realized how much more there is to do. When it came to the design of the shop, the idea was to mix a loft look with modern design details. I wanted to create a place with a luxury touch where you can also feel comfortable and at ease. I did a few of the finishing touches myself – I wanted to have this personal bond with the place.”

A luxury eyewear destination in Krakow

Today alongside Tavat and AM, which have become hugely popular with local Krakow customers, the shop stocks Cazal, SALT. Optics, Matsuda, Moscot and Lesca. “I am still gaining knowledge all the time working closely with brands I admire,” says Pawel. “They have taught me a lot about production and materials. Quality always was important to me and always will be.”

Optyk Pański is located at sw. Kingi 8, Krakow Poland. The name of the shop represents a play on words. It means also “your” and “royal, manor” – representing a place where customer can experience a service above the normal level. Optyk Pański has also become known for their after hours openings for customers and events including exhibitions and Whisky tastings. www.optykpanski.pl

Art in store: Les Belles Lunettes, Réunion

The independent store is showing an exhibition by talented young watercolorist, Pauline Bachel

‘Portraits v Self-Portraits’ is an exhibition created especially for the independent eyewear boutique, Les Belles Lunettes – located in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean close to Madagascar. As admirers of the subtle and unique work of the artist, Les Belles Lunettes has selected Bachel as the muse and face of their new campaign. “We then asked her to interpret the images in the campaign in her own style,” explain Karine Chane Yin and Patrice Fuma Courtis, art directors for Les Belles Lunettes, who currently produce 4 campaigns for the store each year. “Portraits v Self-Portraits is a two-tiered experience for the artist : she is both the subject of a series of portrait photos, and then through the projection of her interior world in the form of self-portraits created after we had shot the campaign photos.” Art Direction / Photography / Styling : @kplusp_art_direction – (the works of art featured in the exhibition are available to purchase.)

Les Belles Lunettes x Pauline Bachel: images and watercolours

Les Belles Lunettes is located in St Pierre, Réunion and stocks a selection of fine eyewear brands including Gamine NYC, Anne et Valentin, theo and Andy Wolf. Two further stores are in planning and will open on the island in the near future.

Les Belles Lunettes featuring Pauline Bachel

About the artist: Pauline Bachel studied applied Arts and Textile Design at the Lycee Ambroise Vollard, St Pierre, Réunion. Her first exhibition at ‘Cafe Social Club’ launched her career as an illustrator/artist and brought her recognition – with clients who include Apple. Inspired by the Creole culture, simple pleasures and travel, her beautiful works of art embody an idyllic tropical picture of nature with subtle references to a deeply personal focus on femininity.

34, Rue du Four à Chaux, St Pierre 97410, Réunion – Visit the website for more details: https://www.lesbelleslunettes.re/ – Campaign created by www.kplusp.com

Eyescan Toorak, Melbourne

Constrasting materiality with a refined finish at new practice, designed by Studio Edwards

Eyescan, Melbourne opens its new architect-designed store just next door to its well-known location on Toorak Road. The design, by award-winning practice Studio Edwards, presents an immersive and refined experience for the customer with a bold display of more than 300 frames throughout the distinguished contemporary retail space.

Interior at Eyescan: “a design language taking inspiration from the glasses themselves”

The interior makes use of existing raw brick work walls – in white – revealed to contrast with floating shelving. Blackened raw steel and walnut cabinetry form functional vertical frames supporting the shelves and highlight specific zones within the store. A walnut island display bench adds focus to the front of the store while to the rear, the ceiling is subtly angled downwards to define the waiting area and consulting rooms.

Eyescan offers a unique mix of fine eyewear brands ranging from the avantgarde styles by Lool Eyewear (Barcelona) to fine classics such as Persol, Moscot, Maui Jim and Garrett Leight. The Eyescan team is lead by Dr Harry Unger, ophthalmologist and Dr Natalie Savin, optometrist.

Eyescan, 467 Toorak Road, Toorak Victoria 3142 – www.eyescan.com.au – An architectural project by www.studio-edwards.com – built by Yarra Valley Commercial. Photography by Mike Baker

Pour Vos Beaux Yeux, Paris

Sitting among other different and unique shops and stores in an authentic Parisian arcade boasting an  impressive collection of vintage designer glasses; from statement Jean Paul Gaultier’s to genuine Ray-Bans – Pour Vos Beaux Yeux may only be equated to a pot of gold for eyewear enthusiasts – one of both luxury and incredibly unique vintage designs, just waiting to be discovered. Above: interior of the Paris store, run by Alexis Bouchara, + owned by Charles Mosa – expect to find vintage frames by Cazal, Ray-Ban, Sol-Amor, Alain Mikli, Vuarnet and Christian Dior.

The interior is small and quaint with four dark wood chairs lining the off-white wall on retro lavender, cream, teal and green patterned – almost, but not quite ‘gaudy’ floor tiles that enhance the old-time feel. A somewhat modern spin on this antiquity comes from the black and white photo collage of icons of the past: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and even Ringo Starr – to name a few.

Eyewear history: vintage frames at Pour Vos Beaux Yeux; above, the interior of the store

The boutique beautifully unites the antique and vintage eras of glamour with the vibrance and electricity of modern design, and the range of eyewear sold is no different. The oldest pair of glasses for sale dates back to 1890 – the frame comprises two simple bronze wire-like circles, held together by a tiny bridge, with no arms and a pair of pinching nose pads; the plethora of vintage designer pieces close the gap from ancient to new – with Lunettes Alf taking principle place as one of the most current artisan eyewear collections available in the store.

Lunettes Alf: a contemporary line of classic inspired eyewear at Pour Vos Beaux Yeux

Alf is a niche French-born eyewear label owned and made by two brothers. They currently have a range of 6 types of acetate frames available in 5 colours as well as a choice of 4 shades of photochromic lenses or ophthalmic lenses – the concept allows for each client to make their chosen pair of glasses unique and personal to them, but certain to be consistent in quality of wear and design.

This boutique is a must visit for vintage lovers, connoisseurs of antiquity, and infatuates of fashion as well as anyone in between: an optical ‘match’ for any and every suitor is guaranteed in this haven of unique and curated eyewear. For more information visit the store at 10 Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 Paris, France. http://www.pourvosbeauxyeux.com/

For further details about Lunettes Alf visit www.lunettes-alf.com  Review by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris for Eyestylist.com

Waiting for the Sun, Paris

Situated in the heart of the 3rd arrondissement – an area of Paris stretching from Le Marais to République known for its fresh, vibrant and consistent embracing of diversity and innovation, lies a special address in the growing world of sustainable fashion in Paris – the 100% circular and ecologically friendly brand store, Waiting for the Sun.

Like the area in which it is so justly located, this boutique is as current and ‘on trend’ as they come. A clear glass shopfront with incredibly ‘instagrammable’ shrubbery and plants combined with a quaint café serving organic tea and juices lure in passers by.

Waiting for the Sun: a minimal interior with natural materials

The interior of the shop is clean-cut, using natural wood and modern whites without being over clinical – a balance between comfort and professionalism and an apt setting for the brands evolving and varied collection of eyewear displayed around the store. To the right of the open-plan boutique is an island covered in a candy-like display of optical treats; the sunglasses and optical frames are laid out across this oasis and on the surrounding natural wood side-boarding along the white concrete walls, as well as being dotted across glass panels in the shopfront of the store amongst the micro-rainforest display. The use of natural materials is intrinsically important in the immersive ‘story telling’ layout of the brand’s pieces from the earliest wooden models to the latest eco-friendly acetate and metal “beta steel” and recycled frame selection.

A relaxed interior: Waiting for the Sun, Paris

The essence of the brand is encapsulated in this small, well laid out space. If you happen to be wandering around Paris and find yourself in need of an eye test or an update to your eyewear, perhaps an organic tea or even a quiet place to escape the bustling Parisian streets – look no further than Waiting for the Sun.

Recycled steel: model Zagreb from the BASE collection

Waiting for the Sun has released their new BASE collection for SS2020. The line is dedicated to young people with focus on sustainable materials including recycled steel at an affordable price. For more details visit www.waitingforthesun.fr. Review by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris for Eyestylist.com.

Decora, Tokyo

Opened in 2007, the exquisite Tokyo store offers an impressive architect-designed interior and one of the widest selections of frame collections we’ve ever seen.

Decora, Tokyo is located close to Tokyo Station in a tasteful shopping centre inside the Shin-Marunouchi Building. Their name means “deconstruction” – and refers to their focus on individuality and service “to help pick the frame most suited to your desire and needs.” Huge glass windows welcome the passer-by, who can see straight inside to the back of the store and its light, minimal interior.

The wide choice of frames available is mainly not out on display. Shop manager Takayuki Okabe, told us that like European stores, Decora has been designed like this to buck the trend in Japan and put greater importance on the personal consultancy with the customer, before the eyewear is picked out – in a peaceful and pleasurable atmosphere.

What is highlighted, is on show in architectural displays behind the main area of the shop, arranged with care and subtlety, honing in on the designs and shapes and less focus on bright colour or showy styles. The extensive choice of well known and lesser known brands from Japan available here include Yellows Plus, Yuichi Toyama, and the elegant Propo Design collection; European brands represented include LINDBERG from Denmark, Mykita from Germany and from LA, Jacques Marie Mage and Ahlem. Shapes like the classic round metal rims and the Boston, Panto and 3P shapes extend across the displays of eyewear to a beautiful, mysterious chest containing examples of rare vintage spectacles. The distinctive Diffuser Tokyo silver and leather glasses holders and accessories – the ideal accessory match for these luxurious frames – take pride of place in the window presentations of the shop.

Eyewear Cords by Diffuser Tokyo
Fresh flowers at Decora, Tokyo

For those who would like to see an example of one of the finest independent stores in Japan, Decora is a haven of minimalism and luxury style while maintaining an unpretentious and friendly atmosphere. It’s a rare example of a retail environment in which to choose a unique timeless pair of spectacles in the hands of experts with a deep knowledge of the history and culture of eyewear and its most directional and refined representative collections of today.

Shinmaru Building 2F, 1-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-Ku – www.glasses-co.jp Decora owns a second store in Kobe, Japan. The store stocks similar brands including Mykita, Yuichi Toyama and Native Sons. Special thanks to Takayuki Okabe, Decora and Masaki Hirose, Diffuser Tokyo.

Auerbach & Steele, London

Auerbach & Steele have moved to a new location, a few doors down, at 123 Kings Road, London

The prestigious optical store on London’s fashionable Kings Road – Auerbach & Steele – has moved to a state-of-the-art 3 storey architect-designed retail space just a few doors down from its original location.

Visible from the street, a vast minimal contemporary open space at ground level is now home to one of the UK’s most comprehensive and diverse selections of fine independent eyewear collections for which the practice has become a trendsetter and point of reference.

Auerbach & Steele: a stunning display of innovative eyewear

Distributed through the basement and two further floors beyond the main retail space, the practice also offers 2 private consulting rooms for eye testing and styling appointments, its own lens lab and one of the UK’s most unique dedicated spaces for beautiful, colorful kid’s eyewear. In line with its reputation for clinical excellence, the new location is fitted with cutting edge testing equipment, for the most comprehensive eye examination.

High ceilings and beautiful displays at Auerbach & Steele, London

Curated by Gail Steele and a long-serving team of optics and design experts, the eyewear collections at Auerbach & Steele offer something for everyone including minimal design labels from Scandinavia, colorful British eyewear classics, exciting 3D printed frames and the most highly regarded avant-garde and statement eyewear from cities like Berlin and Zurich.

Gail Steele told Eyestylist: “Since we opened Auerbach & Steele in 1996, I have been dedicated to marrying absolute clinical and technical excellence alongside the dispensing of ever changing beautiful, cool and unusual frames which we source, and often have made,  from around the world. We are thrilled to now be able to offer our special service from our beautiful new luxurious space spread across four  floors.” Visit Auerbach & Steele at 123, King’s Road, London, SW3 www.auerbach-steele.com CN

MYKITA, Bangkok

Industrial elements, custom-designed furniture, and colour and texture inspired by the Thai capital. A new MYKITA store has opened its doors in Bangkok, developed by the in-house architectural team at the German design house. Located in the Sindhorn village development in the Pathum Wan district, the shop defines the brand’s high-tech aesthetic in an open, minimal space with distinctive mirrored walls and delicate green foliage.

MYKITA Bangkok opened November 2019

The ground-level space has the familiar white interior and wall. Pale green touches are added on the expanded metal ceiling, eyewear storage trolleys and the metal detailing on the oak furniture. On approaching the shop, the entrance to the in-store optical lab is visible through floor-to-ceiling glass front, providing a showcase for the handcraft and high technology that defines MYKITA’s Modern Manufactory.

MYKITA Bangkok stocks the full collection of optical frames and sunglasses including the designer collaborations with Bernhard Willhelm and Maison Margiela. A Zeiss Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care. Sindhorn Village (Room C115/2), Soi Langsuan, 10330 Bangkok www.mykita.com

Monkeyglasses store, Copenhagen

Denmark’s first sustainable optician shop is now open

The Danish eyewear label Monkeyglasses has opened a flagship store in Denmark, as they celebrate 10 years in eyewear – placing complete focus on sustainability.

“We have created a flagship store where we can show the full potential of the market for sustainable products,” says Mai-britt Seaton, CEO & Designer. “In the store, our guests can experience a wide selection of  sustainable products: our frame designs in all the available colours, Zero Waste accessories made from surplus materials from our eyewear production, eco-friendly contact lenses and eyeglass washing kits with organic coconut soap and hand-tied washing brush. Our idea was to bring together a complete universe where environmental concerns are a given.”

Monkeyglasses store, Copenhagen – the plants were grown from cuttings given to the store by friends
Upcycled materials and design elements from the former building

The furniture in the shop is second-hand or has been built by hand by the Monkeyglasses team. The interior style is inspired by classic Danish mid-century modern with dark woods and sturdy metals, finished with a high level of craftsmanship. Modern touches come in the form of upcycled materials such as the scrap iron used for the counter and the former backyard gate (pictured above), repurposed for the design-office partition wall, preserving its patina, aged over many years by the Danish weather. For more information about the brand and the new store visit www.monkeyglasses.com  Photography by Robertsosis.dk – CN

UK: luxury eyewear at Clarke & Roskrow

The pretty town of Market Harborough has become home to one of England’s most beautifully restored optical boutiques in an historic 3-story townhouse. Statement colours, extraordinary attention to design details, the reintroduction of heritage features and a warm and elegant atmosphere: the renovation and refurbishment of Clarke & Roskrow took nearly 16 months from start to finish, and resulted in a stylish contemporary practice that rivals some of the UK’s most successful contemporary optical retail spaces.

An optician’s since 1974, Clarke & Roskrow, which the Clarke family bought in 2014, had an old-fashioned appearance, despite the historic building in which it was located. Anthony Clarke remembers his first ideas on how to develop it and create something quite new. “The practice was tired and the building was being under utilised, operating from two rooms on the ground floor.  I had an idea in my mind of how it could be transformed; something akin to a small, luxury boutique hotel, full of “period features” but with a modern and slightly quirky twist over several floors.  I wanted the new space to take inspiration from its heritage whilst simultaneously giving a clear indication of our new forward-thinking path.”

A contemporary colour scheme, inspired by the past

“I had to “think out of the box” to get 93feet interested in our project,” he says, on finding the right partners for the work, often a particularly challenging stage in a project of this scale. “I sent them a video of me and the interior, recorded on my iphone.  The next day I got a call from their designer Jim Butterell. The rest, as they say, is history!”

The restoration project and rebranding took place simultaneously. “For the building work, we approached several local building/construction firms. James Barby of Rockingham Construction had the “can-do” attitude and proven track-record of high-end finishes that we were looking for. 93feet understood what we were trying to achieve with the interior of the building and our “brand identity”, whilst Rockingham Construction were able to bring the design element to life, remaining true to the original design brief.”

A welcoming entrance hall at Clarke & Roskrow

The rooms are painted in bold yet warm heritage-inspired tones and feature an array of restored fittings from fireplaces to Victorian style ceiling coving, picture rails and authentic reclaimed wooden flooring. Contemporary Danish furniture is mixed with custom built pieces, designed and made by 93. Some eye-catching light fittings and works of art create an added finesse to each room where the luxury eyewear is displayed for customers to try on.

A relaxed and sunny space where customers can discuss styles and colours

“I wanted an environment that gave clients an experience, something memorable and quite different from a traditional optician’s. I am very pleased about the response that we have had from clients, the overwhelming majority of whom are thrilled with the transformation; of course I’m also delighted that our project won the Federation of Master Builders Award (Commercial Project, Midlands – June 2019).”

Today, focus is placed on exceptional eye care and a handpicked selection of independent eyewear brands, mixing well-known names with emerging labels. The selection this season includes LINDBERG, Maui Jim, Anne+Valentin, Leisure Society and the iconic eyewear collection from l.a. Eyeworks. Anthony Clarke takes the view that his clients deserve the very best choice in interesting, colourful independent frames, right on their doorstep.

Elegant fittings and vintage-inspired lighting

“If you want to sell beautiful and luxurious eyewear whether in a large city or small market town, you have to have an environment that reflects that,” says the owner. “The general public tend to assume that you’re a competent clinician, but we’re also judged on the quality of the products that we sell and increasingly, the experience that goes with it.”

18 Church Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7AA – For further information about the independent eyewear specialists Clarke & Roskrow visit www.clarkeandroskrow.co.uk Photography by Adam Fairclough. CN

Lafont Boutique Rouen

History permeates the French port city of Rouen on the River Seine. Hero and martyr Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in Rouen in 1431; Edward IV of England (1442-1483) was born there, as was the novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821), and François Hollande, former President of France (2012-2017), and Claude Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral Series in the 1890’s while visiting there. Now French optical brand Lafont is creating a new and exciting history of its own – with a charming, inspiring boutique in Rouen’s historical  Old Town.

Lafont Children’s Corner in the Rouen Boutique

The Rouen boutique is the first shop outside Paris for the Lafont family-owned business. Optician Fatima Deflinne explained: “There is a family history of friendship between the Lafont family and the previous owner of this shop, and when he was ready to sell, he approached Philippe Lafont. The shop is over one hundred years old, and has always been an optical boutique.” Ultra chic colourations of aubergine and olive green harmonise elegantly in the shop, located within a three-minute walk of the acclaimed Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen, plus intriguing shops and cafés. The complete range of Lafont’s diversified eyewear designs for men, women and children are on display. A specific area for children has been carefully allocated where they can play with toys or use colouring books, while also trying on the latest immensely desirable children’s frames.

Intricate detailing crafted in Lafont’s Parisian atelier for the Rouen Armada frame

The shop participates and supports city events, the most prominent activity being the International Rouen Armada that takes place in June every year. This is a major robust celebration on the River Seine, where the finest and beloved sailing ships arrive from all over the world to cruise and navigate along La Seine from Rouen to Le Havre.  This year, as a tribute to the genuine love story between the city, the world of sailing and Maison Lafont, the Lafont Parisian workshop created a striking design to be sold exclusively in the boutique. The graceful, navy blue Armada frame is accented with a carved sailboat above the contemporary frame top.

The Lafont design celebrates the International Rouen Armada

Everything in the Lafont Boutique is personalised, and that includes customised, handwritten invitations that are sent to customers to experience and appreciate new collections. “We only use real invitations that are sent in the post,” explained Deflinne, “and visitors are welcomed with a glass of champagne. Rouen is really a community and everybody knows everybody.”

For Lafont, authenticity is linked to the credibility of the designs handmade in France, which have been awarded the distinguished certification ‘Origine France Garantie.’ For more information on Lafont products and shops, visit www.lafont.com JG

Chicago: Lab Rabbit Optics

“My philosophy toward eyewear is simple: longevity and versatility are key”, says Coyote DeGroot.  “I want the frame to last, from both from a structural and stylistic standpoint.  The frame must complement, not overwhelm, the wearer.  And it should also be suitable for all occasions, weddings, job interviews, bachelor parties, funerals….”

Lab Rabbit Optics, located by Wicker Park in Chicago, opened nearly 9 years ago. Today, Coyote sells a wide selection of independent collections, from classics like Randolph Engineering to avantgarde designers from Japan. “My customer base is very diverse in terms of both lifestyle and age,” he told Eyestylist. “I make eyeglasses for attorneys, musicians, television and film producers, bike messengers, retirees, bartenders, professors, performance artists, doctors, deviants, and over-achievers.  Every day is a surprise.”

The development of an own label came naturally, owing to a serious passion and interest in design. “My own frames are designed in-house and handmade in Japan in limited quantities of 20-80 pieces per colour. The collection is comprised of nine different models, with another two in production.  They have unusually sturdy hinges, and lots of titanium, along with Mazzucchelli and Takiron acetates.  I try to offer something different in terms of the design, and I experiment constantly.  My customers really like having access to unique, limited edition frames, from a Chicago-based brand.  I’m now preparing for the frames to go into select optical shops outside Chicago.”

Frames on display: Lab Rabbit

Asked about the attitude of young people toward independent labels in Chicago, Coyote is realistic but he sees a trend that suits his style. “I think buying cheap, fast eyewear via the internet is a phase that a lot of consumers go though.  Many of my customers have purchased glasses from Warby Parker or Zenni in the past, and now they’re ready to invest in something better: cool handmade frames, more optically precise lenses, and attentive, personal service.  My shop definitely does NOT look like the average optical shop that most people grew up visiting, but it’s growing in popularity among the adventurous, and among those who recognize the lasting value of good quality products and service.” For more information visit: www.labrabbit.com CN

L.G.R: open in Rome

Luca Gnecci Ruscone has opened a second L.G.R store in Rome, the city he grew up in and home to his sunglasses and eyewear company. Like L.G.R in Milan, the chic individual design takes inspiration from the atmosphere of Ottica Bini, the store which Luca’s grandfather, Raffaello Bini, ran in Asmara (Eritrea, Africa) between the 1930s and the 70s. It was in that store, in 2005, that Luca discovered some old and elegant frames dating back to the 40s. He then decided to take them to Italy to embark on a new business venture.

This combination of Italy and Africa, which represents the brand DNA, is part of every detail of the store. Wooden furniture and coconut elements have been carefully and elegantly manufactured by Italian craftsmen, while the fabrics and the chandelier designed by L.G.R have been made in Morocco. The wooden display niches in Venetian Neo-Gothic style have been inspired by the windows of the old Ottica Bini as has the colour palette of sand, green and turquoise. On the walls, the evocative illustrations by Giampiero Celani Piendlbach embellish the environment.

Artist’s impression: L.G.R Rome, Via della Fontanella di Borghese

“After Milan, opening a store in Rome was my priority, not only for commercial purposes, but also for personal reasons. I grew up in Rome, it is my home, this is where our company has its headquarters. We are determined to grow and in the future we plan to open other monobrand stores in Italy – Florence may be the next one – and abroad.” says Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, Founder and CEO of the brand.

The new store presents the 2019 collection of sunglasses and eyewear, with L.G.R highlights such as Reunion and Asmara (Explorer line) and the new exclusive limited edition, RAW #2. L.G.R., Via della Fontanella di Borghese, Rome www.lgrworld.com CN

 

One Hip Chic Optical Rochester New York

A very dear friend in Rochester, New York keeps an “eye” on what might be intriguing in eyewear. He alerted Eyestylist to this forward thinking, fashion savvy boutique in the American city that is closely associated with the industrial, cultural, and philanthropic endeavours of George Eastman, the Kodak founder. Tamra Asmuth (above image) is creating her own legacy in the Northern New York State city, nestled on Lake Ontario, with a distinctively elegant boutique – One Hip Chic Optical. Nowadays, customers are looking for something “different” – an experience that is personal, with speciality items, and excellent service. Asmuth delivers: with beautiful eyewear from artisan creators, and handmade shoes.

Frames are stored in handcrafted cherry wood cabinets, made by a local artisan

Everything about One Hip Chic Optical is individual, with custom furniture, complimenting her unique taste in eyewear. Several years go, Asmuth moved to the present location on Monroe Avenue, and spent six months overseeing the renovations. She describes the techniques she utilised in creating the boutique. “A large wall covered with custom-made wallpaper welcomes each visitor to One Hip Chic Optical. Underfoot, a plywood floor cut in a mosaic pattern is a continuously changing art piece as layers of paint colours and textures are added. One of the first things I did in this house – built in the 1930’s – was to commission a local fine furniture maker to craft sets of drawers made of quality cherry wood. The drawers, each lined with handmade paper, contain the frame inventory. I take orders at a custom-made stainless steel desk, and dispense glasses at a glass desk. People can relax on a soft, pink velour couch. Since day one, every choice made at One Hip Chic Optical has been with the creative person in mind. Each detail is meant to appeal to the senses.”

Frames are displayed on handmade textured paper

Independent labels are the highlight at One Hip Chic Optical. “I’ve long been a fan of theo and Anne & Valentin,” said Asmuth,” and have recently fallen in love with styles from Blake Kuwahara. I also carry Colibris, the German label for small faces. And I happily discovered Metronome from Japan. I am continuously looking for a new and unique “voice” in eyewear.”

Sole by One Hip Chic Optical

With Asmuth’s fashion sense it was only a matter of time before her optical business evolved into another realm. “My customers often consult me about various style choices. I was recently asked to help design a dress for a formal event for one of my customers. Last week, another customer asked for hair colour advice. Based on this fashion aspect, opening a complimentary business to One Hip Chic Optical felt right.

Art, fashion, eyewear and shoes reign harmoniously at One Hip Chic Optical

Asmuth continued: “Immediately following the renovation project of the new location, Sole by One Hip Chic was born. The second floor of the business location houses handmade shoes from around the world. The shoe business is very different from the optical business. The seasonality of shoes and the variety of sizes offer a challenge the optical business doesn’t have, but it’s a challenge I welcome.” Asmuth’s vivacity, enthusiasm and style statements bring exciting new dimensions to the expanding possibilities for eyewear boutiques. www.onehipchic.com JG

Oskar Kohnen designs Charlottenburg store

Lunettes Selection: second design store in Berlin

Functional elegance meets innovative style in the newest store from Berlin vintage and contemporary eyewear store Lunettes Selection. The retailer’s latest store is a stone’s throw away from the iconic shopping boulevard, Kurfürstendamm.

Founder Uta Geyer explains: “European design and handwork are celebrated in the store’s furnishing and fittings, and at the same time are represented in the selection of glasses on offer.”

Lunettes Selection: designed by Oskar Kohnen Studio

Designed by the Berlin/London practice Oskar Kohnen Studio, the new store is furnished with pieces from 20th century European designers and great minds of modernism, including Jacques Adnet, Pierre Paulin, and Bauhaus.

For eyewear, Geyer has selected fine designer models from Italy, France, Belgium, and England, as well as offering in-house line Lunettes Kollektion, which is hand-finished in Italy. Eyewear expertise and craftsmanship is also brought into focus through a customized eye exam service, done on-site with traditional optical measurement tools by a master optician, and through prescription lenses crafted from high-quality Zeiss glass. For more information visit www.lunettes-selection.de and www.oskarkohnen.com CN

Vision Studio, Melbourne

Studio Edwards designs flagship store for Vision Studio, Melbourne, Australia

A gallery-like space invites visitors to engage with and discover the Vision Studio store, located in Melbourne, Australia. Studio Edwards designed the concept with an aluminium perforated facade that hinges open to reveal a luxurious interior displaying eyewear by brands such as Dior, Dita, Mykita, LINDBERG and Thom Browne. The displays on the inside give space to 200 pairs of glasses set on shelving with storage for a further 800 pairs of glasses.

Interior displays are carefully choreographed
The space has an angular plan configuration with the areas requiring most privacy to the rear and semi private consulting spaces tapering to the front.
The side walls are lined with translucent display shelving which appears to float above the pastel coloured cabinets – visually connecting to the mall outside through gaps to each side of the aluminium facade.
Interior: translucent display shelving, pastel cabinets and New York marble
The materials have been cleverly juxtaposed – brash New York marble is set off against the sheer pastel matt surfaces while translucent solid surfaces sit next to raw concrete and slithers of raw aluminium.
According to the designers, the store has been conceived as a physical extension of the Vision Studio brand. They worked closely with the client and graphic designer Louie Quilao to create and refine the final design. For more information: www.visionstudio.com.au / www.studio-edwards.com CN – Photography by Tony Gorsevski

Coterie: eyewear + jewellery

Coterie, the luxury eyewear retailer in China, has branched into jewellery in its latest department store concept. “This is our attempt to move further along the road of accessorizing eyewear,” David Leung told Eyestylist. “By adding “real” jewellery to our assortment, our consumers can mix and match more freely.”

Coterie: display of earrings and necklaces

The brands featured alongside the sun and eyewear collections currently include the Italian luxury collection by Cynthia K Sakai, Vita Fede (also producing Limited Edition sunglasses handcrafted in Japan) and  YvMin Jewellery by Zhang Xiaoyu  and Li Min, based in Beijing. The selection of high-end eyewear labels include international brands such as Balenciaga, and Gucci, as well as the Korean brands Fixxative by art director Veronica Kang, and Irresistor.

Coterie: Vita Fede displayed alongside sunglasses

Coterie has opened concessions in Galeries Lafayette Shanghai and MIXC HangZhou and the performance is described as “very encouraging”.  “We may plan to open more in the near future,” says Leung, whose vision for optical retail continues to lead the way in the region. Find out more on Instagram @coterie_store and at www.coterie.cn CN

Optik Studio, Luxembourg

An eyewear store with the feel of a creative gallery, Optik Studio is located in Luxembourg city. An exclusive stockist in the country for 90% of the brands it carries, their goal is to make people discover how beautiful designer eyewear can be. “We’ve tried to do something different,” explains Maxime Drouna. “Our brands come from all over the world…France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain… and each of them has its own universe: you won’t see the same frame in two different collections; we are conscious that we must cover every trend.”

At present the mix includes Pugnale Eyewear, La Petite Lunette Rouge, L.G.R Sunglasses, Meg Eyewear, Mr Lenoir, and Masunaga. “There are a few more that we shall be launching shortly,” says Drouna who is passionate about original design.

In keeping with the collections, the interior of this store is elegant, understated and comfortable. “We have two little spaces where we can welcome our clients with a cup of coffee. It’s then our priority to find the right pair of glasses for every face. We don’t have large tables or dazzling lights. Instead when you visit, we would like you to feel at home.” Optik Studio is also offering a successful service for home and office appointments. For further details find the shop on Instagram @optikstudio.lu. 20 Rue Beaumont, 1219 Luxembourg – CN

Shopping in London: 4 new stores

London’s choice of eyewear and independent design brands is rising quickly. Several new optical stores have opened across the city in the last few months. New mono brand stores and exclusive independent boutiques are changing the face of optics in a city where consumers are more informed and interested in eyewear fashion and good design.

1. Chakshu London

The new boutique style practice Chakshu is located in Camden. The store has been created by a team of optometrists who have also launched their own eponymous house brand  in premium Italian acetate. Their additional brands, meticulously chosen to suit a variety of styles, offer the latest designs. They include Lunor, SALT. Optics, and from Paris, FACEAFACE.

Chakshu London Opticians has been created as an independent practice “where you will receive a highly professional service from a knowledgeable and experienced team.” The eye examinations are conducted using state-of-the-art equipment, including an OCT 3D retinal scanner.

The co-founders have worked in a variety of different optometric settings from smaller independent stores to large retail chains. Combined, they have over 30 years’ optical experience between them. Chakshu London, 97 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PP  https://www.chakshu.co.uk/

2. FourFourFour

Located in Chiswick, West London, FourFourFour opened in March 2019. This is a sister store to Barnes Nineteen at 19 Barnes High Street, and it stocks a variety of design labels including Henau, Nine, Silhouette and Garrett Leight. A modern and minimal interior – which moves away from the clinical look of some traditional British optical stores – is becoming the norm in the UK as eyewear is seen as an important fashion consideration. 444 Chiswick High Road, London

3. Izipizi Paris

Izipizi is the latest opening in the Soho/Carnaby Street area in central London. This is the French brand’s second stand-alone store in Europe; the debut store is in the Marais district of Paris. Located in the popular shopping district of Soho, this new corner store displays all of the brand’s adult and children’s collections in a small yet well designed open retail space. www.izipizi.com

4. For Art’s Sake

This is another stand-alone retail store, located in central Covent Garden in the busy covered market.  The store borrows bold design details from the brand’s penchant for eclectic style: decadent blue velvet furnishings and brass fixtures have been designed to “elevate the statement-making frames”. Many new retail features have been incorporated, from a selfie station to personal shopping (in five languages: Mandarin, French, Spanish, Italian and English), a concierge option, tax-free shopping, “Click and Collect” as well as exclusive colour choices for some of the frame designs. For Art’s Sake is designed by Xiwen Zhang who is featured on 2019’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list. www.fasforartssake.com CN

Stoffels Optik, Zürich

Michael Stoffels has transformed part of the historic Zunfthaus zur Meisen in the Lindenhof Quarter, Zürich, into a state-of-the-art designer optical boutique.

Michael Stoffels opened his eponymous store in November 2018, replacing the well-known store on Storchengasse which had been run by the family in this location since 1983. The new prestigious boutique is located in the Zunfthaus zur Meisen, an historic 18th century building celebrated for its Grand Guild Hall and its exceptional central position overlooking the river Limmat. The interior of the shop merges contemporary and traditional features with striking colours and an artistic style with elegant, one-off pieces of furniture and art works.

Striking colours at Stoffels  – inspired by Marrakech

Stoffels, who created the interior design for the store with Jaqueline van Maren, architect and interior designer, said the aim was to open a hip optical store in the very traditional historic setting, with a unique experience compared to other stores and an open and appealing outlook for young people. “We wanted to attract attention in a well-known location,” he added, “where thousands of people walk by every day. The brilliant colours are inspired by Yves Saint Laurent and his love for Marrakech, and the vibrant “Blumlihalle” (hall of little flowers) in Zurich, painted by Augusto Giacometti, nephew of the famous Swiss sculptor.” The exotic interior and its elegant furnishings create a setting that is more like a luxury living room than an optical retail space.

Close-up at Stoffels: elegant displays of fine eyewear

The shop has opened with a selection of handpicked niche collections which include Eyevan, Lucas de Stael, Retro Specs, Moscot, Carin and ‘Stoffels Own’ collection which is handmade in Switzerland.

Other outstanding features of the interior decoration include an impressive wall painting created with a bespoke wallpaper, designed especially for the wall and the colour scheme of the shop, by Jakob Schlaepfer from St. Gallen. Stoffels explains: “Jakob Schlaepfer is one of the most famous producers of haute couture textiles. The wallpaper is covered with a hologram foil, which is illuminated at night and gives a beautiful glittering effect visible from outside to passers-by.”
Munsterhof 20, Wuhre, CH – 8001 Zurich
For further details visit www.storchenoptik.ch CN

 

Lunetier Ludovic Brussels Belgium

An energetic hub embraces Brussels. It is a hive of remarkable activity for culture, cuisine, fashion, and international politics. The city boasts vast green spaces and lovely parks; numerous museums; architectural landmarks; and it is the capital of the European Union. Belgian fashion designers have captivated the global style stage, and include Dries Van Noten; Raf Simons; Ann Demeulemeester, and Martin Mangela. Chocolate, chips, waffles and beer are known to dominate cuisine; however, elegant gastronomy is alive, well and flourishing in Brussels, and beyond the city centre.

Lunetier Ludovic Brussels

Brussels includes nineteen municipalities, and a stroll of the historic Sablon area enchants the visitor with tempting antique shops; vintage clothing; designer labels; charming cafés; and speciality food shops. For distinctive and original custom-made eyewear – set your sights on the remarkable and influential Lunetier Ludovic Boutique. “My wife Vinciane and I opened the boutique in 2015,” recollects optician and owner Ludovic Elens when we met in Brussels, “and we specialise in bespoke glasses. We do feature some brands, but I am an eyewear crafter…that is my passion. We offer the finest quality and personalisation.”

Lunetier Ludovic interior

Lunetier Ludovic is a bright and airy space over three levels; the street level displays frames where customers try on the designs; the lower level is Elens craft shop; and the upper level houses the office. “It was very hard to find a location; every week we went to a different area. We chose the Sablon as it has many interesting shops – art;  jewellery; chocolate; antiques; and luxury products,’ says Elens.

Ludovic crafting his designs

The frames crafted at Lunetier Ludovic are truly luxurious works of art. Clients chose their materials from the intriguing collection that Elens has acquired – including sheep and deer horns that he works in layers. “We never throw anything out”, declares Elens, “as you never know when a particular piece of acetate or horn might be useful.”

Bespoke Ludovic design in acetate with Knot and Lemon Tree Wood

Each design takes approximately two weeks to create – and then two to three months for the actual crafting of the frame. “I want to design the frame that the wearer wants to wear,” Elens emphasises, “as we have many clients who are unable to wear a regular frame from a designer or manufacturer – perhaps due to an abnormal facial issue. However, that can be overcome with the correct design and bespoke fitting. There are details in the designs that you may not see, but the wearer can feel.”

Sculpted sun design by Lunetier Ludovic

Lunetier Ludovic has an amazingly diverse international clientele that range in age from two-and-one-half-years old – to eighty-one years old. They all wear Ludovic designs, which are individually personalised. Some clients are very specific about what they want. “We had a client who was a Roy Orbison fan, and he wanted frames exactly like what Orbison wore, so that is what we created.” Discover more about Lunetier Ludovic and the boutique’s unique, and beautifully handcrafted eyewear at www.lunetierludovic.be JG

Somers Optiek: colour + celebration

theo’s exceptional Somers Optiek store in Antwerp, a window on the eyewear label’s world of colour, love, energy and design, always has a trick up its sleeve. In anticipation of the Chinese New Year in February and theo’s passion for all things ‘Valentine’ (14th February), the boutique is now resonating with the vibrant colours and textures of colourful dragons from the East.

Photography: © 2018 copyright protected Artworks,
Photography & Graphic Design!

Somers Optiek first opened in its current location behind the KBC Tower – a landmark ‘Art Deco Skyscraper” – in 2008. Since our last visit in 2012 – see Joan Grady’s feature at https://www.eyestylist.com/2012/11/somers-optiek/ – the store has expanded, with a new fresh open space designed to cater to a young customer and their particular requirements for styling, colour and design. The space was designed by APRIL ONE’s Karine Ribbens (www.aprilone.be).

The store features a comprehensive selection of new and past designs by the iconic Belgian company, many of which are hidden behind the scenes, ready for customers to explore and try on at their leisure. Just a few frames are displayed on cabinets or in alcoves to highlight new colour, shapes or special releases. Somers Optiek offers a comprehensive eyecare service with state-0f-the-art eye testing available in the lower level consulting rooms as well as styling expertise from ‘theo’ trained frame specialists. Visit online at www.somersoptiek.be / www.theo.be  CN

Somers Optiek, Eiermarkt 41, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Photography: © 2018 copyright protected Artworks,
Photography & Graphic Design!

EYE Q Stylist Optician, Barbados

Alicia Hartman opened Eye Q in 2011 at the luxury location Limegrove Lifestyle Center on Barbados platinum west coast, a shopping hot spot featuring luxury fashion stores – Vuitton, Burberry and Ralph Lauren. Despite a worldwide recession at the time, the shop quickly became the leading independent optical boutique on the island. In 2018, the owner launched her own independent sunglasses label, PFB (Peoples from Barbados) dedicated to the Bajan community and its unique all-embracing lifestyle, filled with warmth, colour and natural style. 

“Many people thought I was crazy to take on a project of this scale with no experience in retail, marketing and management,” explains Alicia Hartman with  a smile. But with the support of her husband Sam and family she achieved what she set out to do,  “with passion and love”.

Alicia set out to offer personalized stylist consultations offering the best eye care with a stylistic approach and a laid back yet professional atmosphere. “Initially we brought the world to Barbados through a combination of designer and independent brands,” she explains. “From day one, I preferred independent brands,  but I did incorporate some of the well known designer brands as crowd pleasers.”

Over the years she gained the trust of clients and was able to focus on creative independent brands. With this came Peoples from Barbados in 2017, Alicia’s own collection of sunglasses. “The shop has a real purpose beyond eyewear and I’m excited. It’s as if we’re taking Barbados, the people and the culture to the world through a truly unique colorful understated and glamorous collection!”

Attention to detail: EYE Q / “Peoples from Barbados” sunglasses

The store itself offers a clean minimal space designed to showcase the frames – with Caribbean flair, and a personal playlist of music that reflects the owner’s love for travel and other cultures. “Initially there were wall decals of different people in glasses. We referred to them as the #eyeqpeoplez with a “z”. In Barbados “my peoples or my people” is a connecting phrase, to make someone feel a part of something special. The idea was always to have a personalized stylistic approach bringing people together in Barbados, regardless of there class or colour – and with one thing in common: “great taste in glasses and the desire to be unique and stand out from the crowd”.

Today a few things have changed. “To liven up the minimal space there are life size black and white portraits of beautiful Bajan faces in PFB eyewear by local photographer Adrian Richards. We wanted to showcase the real Barbados – not just the “postcard images”.”

Personalised eye styling: Alicia fits PFB sunnies on carnival dancer

This season, the collections in the store include independent brands from different cities around the world. “On an island, it’s important to do that! The demographic here ranges from aristocrats to fishermen to artists and celebrities.”

When I select designs I have a specific client in mind. I must offer glamour (Linda Farrow / UK), colour (theo /Belgium) , and technological sophistication (Mykita / Germany). With the Peoples from Barbados collection, we can also offer our own distinctive DNA ‘with Bajan Soul’. “I have aspirations for PFB, to make my Bajan people proud of who they are. I plan to promote Bajan artists and local talent and to encourage them to think independently – to live their dreams!”

Peoples from Barbados Eyewear is available at EYE Q and Selima Optique, New York. Find more details at https://peoplesfrombarbados.com/ CN

Eye Q Stylist Opticians, Limegrove Lifestyle Centre Holetown, Barbados