Last Thursday I attended my first eyewear event of 2014 and as I said in that post a proper write up will be coming your way and here it is. I heard of Black Eyewear way back in 2012 when I saw them featured in Look Magazine then I hadn’t heard much from them until all of a sudden I was invited along to their 100th frame design event and to celebrate their London stores 1st birthday. So it was a double celebration for the brand! Black Eyewear’s London store is based in Goodge Street so it is extremely easy to get to and their main store is actually based in St Albans. I had a chat with founder Robert Roope to find out more about the brand.
The brand certainly had an interesting beginning. Robert has always worked within optical and during his work trips around the world he used to collect vintage frames as a hobby. After many years of collecting his loft slowly became the treasure chest of vintage glasses and it was his children who suggested creating a website and selling them online. The business went well and just like that Robert started to slowly think about designing his own range, that was the birth of Black Eyewear.
Why Black Eyewear?
So, why did he call the brand Black Eyewear? Well it all came from his experience working within optics where he found black frames always sold out first. He found it hard to get hold of black frames so he decided to dedicate his brand to black and muted colour frames.
The shop on Goodge Street is tiny I am not going to lie but it did have that cosy feel to it but I guess on the night of the event it was more like crowded. The decor is very simple, all white furnishings which make a good contrast to the black frames and it does feel less like a typical optical store. It just felt like a quirky boutique. There are no eye examinations available and I did ask Robert how does that work because it seems inconvenient to the customers, then out came an interesting fact which I never knew about (priceless information).
Robert said back in the day there was no such thing as opticians which offer you eye tests and also sell frames. Everything was actually kept separate so as a customer you would go to a dedicated optometrist to get your eyes tested and sometimes that may just be in someones house. Once your eyes are all tested then you would go to a glasses shop to buy your frame and hand over your prescription- boom! Then its done. I did ask how his customers find this way of shopping since everywhere now offers an “all in one” service. As it turns out customers LOVE it! Customers have the freedom to pick unique frames from the boutique and it is actually more cost effective for them. How interesting!
Beside this interesting fact what did I think of the glasses? Colour wise, they are not my cup of tea simply because I like colours and there wasn’t that many colourful frames but this is down to my own personal taste. Quality wise I feel they are ok, not a 10 but definitely not as low as a 5 so it is somewhere in-between but that all depends on which one of the frames you are buying. However, I do LOVE the shape of the frames- they are HOT! If you love vintage style frames then you NEED to check them out and each frame is dedicated to a jazz musician because Robert is a huge fan of jazz so if you are a jazz fan then there should be a frame for you.
Ben’s 2 cents on Black Eyewear
Hi, me again! I got the chance to attend another event, mainly as the photographer but still, I was glad not to be sitting in front of a large computer screen of an evening. Actually, now I think about it I just swapped the large screen for the smaller one on the camera! Anyway…
As Siu has mentioned the collection of 100 frames have some great shapes but what really caught my attention was Roberts way of designing and naming them! He loves his jazz music, and his glasses, so he combined the two. He thought of some of the biggest jazz icons and thought to himself “what would they wear?”. From that he came up with design concepts and tweaked them until they were ready to go into production. Each frame was then given the name of the musician that it was created for! He has actually been asked many times by customers to create a frame for a particular musician, just so they can see what he can come up with!
I have never heard of frames being designed like this before but it certainly works for Black Eyewear! To check out their full range of frames and to find out more about the brand visit their website.