Saturday, May 30, 2009

So you reckon you got a good deal at Costco?

Hi CityC,

I have been following your blog for a while now and I have some news to tell you. You talk about all these small stores and not going to LensCrafters and stuff. Well, I hate to tell you but youre wrong about the big box stores being more expensive! I went to Costco Optical today and found Tommy Hilfiger glasses for much cheaper than the small store down the street. It was roughly half the price. I guess they just have better prices because they buy more volume.

A. Fernandez

Hi A,
I know what you mean, you found a good deal.
You found yourself a deal, but is it really? You found a pair of Tommy Hilfigers at Costco for a good price but was it the best price?

A few facts about Costco Optical... (and this goes for most stores like Walmart Optical, Sam's Club and such)
1. They sell strictly discontinued models that distributors are trying to unload
2. They do have buying power because they buy in bulk, so they do have good prices
3. Their lenses are ridiculously overpriced for terrible lenses
4. They have a HUGE amount of overhead, as opposed to a small store
5. They RARELY do their own lab work, which means you have to wait a week for your glasses
6. Lack of a lab means that they have to pay someone else to do their lab work.
7. They do not have their own lenses, they use other labs for their lenses, so they dont have the same buying power in that aspect.

So, yes, you found a good deal on your Tommy Hilfiger glasses
BUT they are probably discontinued. This translates into no warranty and no after service for parts. Also, they are older styles. So if you break them, they are basically finished. Also, you probably paid double what you would have paid at another store. So buying there is a win and lose situation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Polycarbonate is soooooo GOOD! or is it?

Polycarbonate is known to be a great material in the eyewear industry. Some companies use it to make lenses and even eyewear. But why do companies and store use Poly? Lets take a look at the pros and cons.....

-Bullet-proof: Well, that's what chain stores claim, but it's at a few inches thick that it is bullet-proof

-Scratches easily: Great for stores, because they have a repeat customer whether you like it or not.
-Poor vision: The material itself does not support great vision like other materials. It is basically the worst visually.

Why do all chain stores sell them?
-Liability: The lenses rarely break
-Scratches = repeat: they would love to see you back

In conclusion, the newer polycarbonate lenses are better than previous technology polycarbonate but still not as good as high index. BUT if you're looking for lenses for when you are out playing beach volleyball, you found a good product. If you are looking for something more than that, look into other materials. Don't let the chain store's advertising fool you into buying an inferior product. Be educated!

Colors, as of now!

A lot of people contemplate which colors are hot for the season and look around them for advice.

In my opinion, this season for sunglasses look into...


The mattes are looking good. Not a lot of companies are making the matte colored plastics yet, but give it a few months before everyone starts jumping on the band wagon.

They look great. They are not as flashy which gives it a subtle color and they keep it clean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Established: 1985
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Founders: Optometrist Poul-Jorn LINDBERG and son Henrik LINDBERG, architect MAA.
Training: Industrial design and architecture, as well as 10 yrs in the eywear industry
Philosophy: Function and fashion. Looks nice, light weight, flexible, adjustability handmade craftsmanship, innovative design and materials.
Inspirations: Always seek global inspiration
What sets them apart: All designers at LINDBERG are design school graduates. Everything is designed in-house and surprisingly enough keep production in-house also.
What keeps them going: Beauty lies in the details. Be original and innovative

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who manufactures what?

There are several ways that companies and factories will manufacture frames. Let me take you through a few of the processes.

1. "Factory X" will see trends and start manufacturing models. Company B will buy the frames and stamp their names on it. Company C will stamp their name on it and sell it too.

2. Company ABC will buy the rights to a name like Prada. They will then have their "Company A designers" to design it and manufacture at "Factory Z". They will then distribute it and sell it. In this case, Prada actually has NONE of their own designers on the project. They may have a head designer that will give them the okay to produce it to their likings, but they will not deign it.

3. "Factory Z" will have models that they commonly make for companies like Company ABC. They will just sell the frames with a new name and there we have a "generic" frame with Prada styling. OR they will have left overs from a run that Company ABC made or their defects and then sell them to other companies. Voila the fake!

4. Then we have high end like "Designer 123". Designer 123 will design a nice model. He will then find a factory that has the machines and equipment to make it to his standards. He will then have sample made and see if they can create to his standards. If they are still to his standards, he will start production. Usually he will continue to maintain his standard by overviewing all the production.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Anglo American Eyewear Profile

Established: 1882 (one of the oldest frame manufacturers)
Location: London, England
Materials used: Italian Zyl
Philosophy: Create the highest quality Zyl eyewear in the industry
What sets them apart: An old company that prides themselves on their history and craftmanship. All frames start hand made and re-inspected to ensure that the feeling and finish is not lost in the manufacturing process. They are made from Cellulose Acetate which is cotton based to ensure that it is hypo-allergenic.

Profile: Dita Eyewear

Location: L.A., California, USA
Founders: John Juniper and Jeff Solorio
Training: Grade school friends who have a passion for photography and design.
Philosophy: Create eyewear that will stand the test of time
Inspirations: Designers of the past and legends who carry themselves with their eyewear.
What sets them apart: An independent company who designs inhouse while working directly with manufacturers. No middlemen allow them to react faster to the market and keep better communication with their manufacturers and clientel.
What keeps them going: The clientel who appreciate quality products and craftsmanship.

Profile: Oliver People

Location: L.A., California, USA
Founders: Larry Leight
Training: Degree in Ophthalmology
Philosophy: Design stylish and very high end quality eyewear. To make frames that not only help you see well but also highlight the wearer with glamour.
Inspirations: The 50s and 60s were a time of glamour which is always shown in the collection. Also living in L.A. helps him keep his focus.
What keeps him going: The ocean and the beach of L.A.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Who is an Optician, Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Obstetrician?

People often confuse an Optician, Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, and Obstetrician. Let's break it down...

Fits and inserts lenses into eyewear. Also does contact lenses.

Does eye exams. Not an M.D.

A M.D. who specializes in eyes. They do surgeries like Lasik and Cataract surgeries. They will also do eye exams.

Delivers babies

Now you know!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Looks that will last

A lot of people are scared of getting new eyewear in fear that they will be "last season" by the time they are comfortable in them. When times are tough (like now) sometimes it's better to pick a pair that will last you a longer time. So how do you pick a pair that will last?

Pick neutral colours such as black, brown and tortoise. Colors like yellow, red, metallics, violet goes in and out of style by the season. Keep it simple

Pick a material that is simple in style. If it's plastic, try something with a simple shape without detailing that will be able to date it. If it's metal, try something relatively simple without huge amounts of detail, which brings us to the next point...

An example would be"bling", although it seemed nice at the time, at some point you will have hoped that you passed on them.

In short, if you want eyewear that will last, pick something that cannot be dated easily. Anything funky or "stylish" will be easy to date.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Christian Lacroix

The French Christian Lacroix is best known for this haute coutoure. Lacroix started producing his own line of ready to wear clothing in 1987. At a young age he was inspired to draw costumes and design fashion. Take a look at what he has produced in the earlier days of his personal line....

Monday, May 4, 2009


Cazal has been in the eyewear industry since 1975. They have been Made with quality in mind. Known as a company that specializes in unique designs, they have received global recognition.

Click on the pics below to see them super-sized. These are vintage frames.

See what Cazal is all about at

Friday, May 1, 2009

How to Measure Frames

To CityConnection,

I just read your post about how to read the frames, but I can't really understand how to read the sizes. Am I supposed to just eyeball the dimensions by looking at the pictures of the frames? I want to know that they are rectangular as opposed to square-ish. How can I ask for more measurements?

Jon C.

I know what you mean. Let me explain the dimensions that we usually measure in the industry.

A= Horizontal length of lens
B=Vertical length of lens
ED (Effective diameter)= The longest radius from the center of the lens to the furthest point of the lens, and then multiplied by 2.
DBL= Bridge width

There are sometimes slight variations depending on whether or not you you include the inside of the frame to the measurement. But in general this is how we (and now, you) measure eyeglass frames.