What is the first thing that you see when you meet someone?
Most of the time it is their face. That is why there is so much attention around the appearance of the face.
So, glasses have a huge impact on how faces look. Because of this, glasses have gotten a bad rap over the years. Some people feel that their child will be ostracized if they have glasses. Others feel like they are ugly when they wear glasses.
On the other hand, some people put on sunglasses when they go out at night to have the right look. And others pick the most eye catching frames to draw attention to their style. In all cases though, there is agreement that glasses make a difference to your look.
Finding glasses for your look is just as important or even more important than other pieces of fashion. So, something this important to how you present yourself to the world deserves proper attention. People naturally have different approaches to fashion so there is not one size fits all way to find the right style for your glasses.
In the past, we were limited by the choices of our shopping patterns. Some people only shop in the opticals in their neighborhood. Some people go to opticals in their favorite shopping district or mall. Others shop where their eye doctor tells them.
Today, the choices are endless, as shopping for glasses has moved online. So, people have all of these types of choices now. Let’s walk through some information to simplify and guide you to a choice that is best for you to make the process easier and more fun.
Shopping for glasses should be like shopping for your favorite shoes. Your face can make a bigger statement about your look than your feet can.
Let’s go into the world of eyewear fashion. Eyewear fashion is almost as extensive and global as the fashion world itself. So, I am focusing on only black eyewear fashion.
Now this doesn’t actually narrow the focus because we are as varied and global as the overall fashion world. But as a black man, living in America moving through different spaces, I know how to navigate, simplify, and highlight information about eyewear fashion that is culturally sensitive.
Let’s break eyewear fashion down into 7 things that we think about when shopping for ourselves: cost, name recognition, personal style, black business support, ease, quality, and community impact.
These 7 factors determine which eyewear designer will most closely align with your style.
There are many good online sites that are very affordable. They make glasses with good quality at a cheap price. Eyebuy direct, glassesusa, and zenni optical can be found on any web search for eye glasses. They have large selections and still provide a good deal. The add-on features are straightforward and transparent so you know you are getting the same deal as everyone else. You may find a better deal at a local optical but it will require more haggling and in person shopping from optical to optical. Just be sure to have a written prescription for your glasses so that you are not locked into one optical.
There are 2 types of name recognition in eyeglass fashion. There is the fashion brands that we recognize because of their fame in other areas of fashion like Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Versace. These are usually just a member of a larger mega company like luxoticca, safilo, and marcolin. So they are part of a machine that cranks out well known fashion globally in a coordinated and well orchestrated way. Fubu and Fenty are African american fashion brands that have pushed their way into this circle but have met some resistance as would be expected. The other type is recognized because of their fame primarily within the optical fashion industry like ray-ban, Oliver peoples, and Lafont. These are big businesses as well but their focus is eyewear fashion foremost. Coco and Breezy is an African American brand that has excelled in this arena.
Some people are very intentional with everything about their look. So eye glasses and frame style must fit their unique style. Designer eyewear is the best place to look for unique styles. Sometimes the designer brands are well known and popular and sometimes they are relatively unknown but may be really popular among small groups of people. Modo, Mykita, and Moscot are independent designer eyewear that have large followers. This category always has new and fresh designers who are creating variety to fit your style. Vontelle is an African American eyewear brand that has been designing frames since 2019. They broke on the scene to fill a style gap that was being ignored for black women.
Black Business Support:
Most of the black eyewear designers are in the category of independent optical frame and sunglass designers. They are competing against the giant monopolies of eyewear fashion and also against other independent eyewear designers that have decades of support around the world. In order to prosper, these brands need attention and support to grow to the level to be competitive and prosper. Bohten, Vontelle, Coco and Breezy, Swav, Nroda, Ember Niche, Fubu Frames, T-Michael, Anwuli, Godnii, Socotra.
Everyone likes when things are convenient. Online eyeglasses are very convenient because you can sit at home and everything comes to you; except the prescription for eyeglasses if you need an optical prescription lens. This can also be convenient if you have a relationship with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Get an exam when it is convenient for you and them shop at home at your leisure whenever you want for the year with that prescription.
You can also find a local optical that you trust and stop by and browse like you would do in any boutique store. Most opticals have pretty convenient hours. The key again is having your prescription already done and ready when you shop. Warby Parker was the most successful in making online eyeglass purchases easy and transparent, but now there are many other companies that are just as easy if not easier. Bohten is an African- inspired eyewear that has at home trial of frames before making a final purchase. Now that is easy.
The optical industry has a common pride in the technology and artisan craftsmanship that is combined together to create one end product- the eyeglass. There is a wide spectrum of how technology and artistry is used. Frame quality comes from meticulous attention to detail. It must be strong to handle the constant daily use and be designed with artistic care to still fulfill its function. Morgenthal Frederics has a long history of quality dating back to 1913. T-Michael is a black designer who has taken his meticulous approach to luxury tailoring and applied it to an eyewear line.
Many of us are concerned with how we can protect our community and how we can protect the world. The eyewear companies that feel that same responsibility use their resources in unique and varied ways to help meet this concern. Bohten focuses on sustainability and uses local African resources. Swav reinvests in a fund to help young visionaries in our community get started. Look for the brand that aligns with your values.
All this can be accomplished online once you have seen an eyecare provider and received an eyeglass prescription. You can also have a personal shopping experience with a knowledgeable guide by going in person to an optical and choosing from their selection. Finding an optical that you can trust and identify with, can make shopping for eyewear a luxurious experience that is usually found in high fashion boutiques. Enjoy shopping for eyeglasses. They can be the centerpiece of your entire look! Shoes, handbag, jewelry, glasses!