12 designers that do frames with 20/20 styleBY FASHIONBEANS EDITORS
- x ray is good glassed for men
Good glasses or sunglasses can be hard to find. Having to squint in the meantime doesn’t help. But nor does the fact that there are seemingly as many indistinguishable eyewear brands on the market as there are light receptors in your retinas (seven million, FYI).
Adding to the confusion, many are owned or made by a handful of companies: of the list below, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol and Oliver Peoples are all owned by Italian conglomerate Luxottica, while Tom Ford is produced in partnership with the smaller Marcolin. Eyewear is also notorious as a category where mark-ups are eye-watering (as much as 250 per cent on frames and 800 per cent on lenses, according to a Guardian article about “Big Lens”.)
Gauging quality is difficult too: tightening a few screws can be enough for a brand to claim that frames are “made” – or even “handmade” – in a country.
Whether you get what you pay for in terms of materials and construction is one question, but sometimes you’re paying for design or pedigree, which at least is worth more than a random non-eyewear designer label on your frames’ arms. So with that caveat, these 12 brands have historically had a rep for good optics, or are fast building one.
Ace & Tate
A play on common frame material acetate, Ace & Tate, founded in 2013, is oft dubbed the European answer to Warby Parker, which disrupted the American eyewear market with its direct-to-consumer model a decade ago.
Like its US counterpart, Ace & Tate is able to slash prices by cutting out middlemen and production chain profligacy: its Amsterdam-designed styles, which are handmade in Italy or China, somehow cost less than £100 in some cases – with prescription lenses. It also provides a free try-at-home service if you can’t look in on its London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow stores. Ace.