Like jeans, cult eyewear brands have sprouted up all over the world each with its own distinct personality and philosophy. If you’re looking for some fresh new frames, here are four labels that you should definitely check out.
The story: Friends Dave Allison and Carlos Aviles were working for rival eyewear companies in Sydney, Australia, before they decided to start their own label in 2010. Sunday Somewhere is named after their favourite day of the week.
The style: Retro-futuristic. The brand references vintage shapes, but dramatic details and futuristic colours result in a wide catalogue of one-of-a-kind pieces. The founders don’t skimp on materials either. Italian acetate and German-made hardware are used in their frames.
You will know it by: Its sun-drenched ad campaigns that make us want to don a pair of shades and head straight to the beach. Its baseball caps printed with the brand’s logo can also be spotted on many a trendy head.
Price: $210 – $350
Where to try and buy in Singapore: Atlantic Optical, #02-09A Wheelock Place, and Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road
The story: Founded in 1979, the Australian sunglass label was relaunched in 2006. Its appeal is simple: super trendy shapes that are sold at an affordable price point (sunglasses start from US$69.95 on the website).
The style: Young, fun and cool, Le Specs draws inspiration from the worlds of street style and music and isn’t afraid of producing frames in crazy designs or out there colour combinations. Its latest collaboration with pop art duo Craig & Karl includes some eyebrow-raising designs, like the Hi-Brow (get it?), a frame that has a giant squiggle for the arms and bridge.
You will know it by: Its successful collaboration with fashion designer Henry Holland in 2011. Its sunnies have also been spotted on the noses of A-list celebrities like Rihanna, Miranda Kerr, Cara Delevigne and Beyonce.
Price: From US$69.95 (website). The Craig & Karl collection is priced at $139.95 each (Singapore retailers).
Where to try and buy in Singapore: Tangs Playlab Orchard & Vivocity, Ash E-shop, and Define Happiness, #02-24/25 Orchard Central
Cutler and Gross
The story: The London company was founded by optometrists Graham Cutler and Tony Gross in 1969, so why haven’t you heard more about them? The brand takes deep pride in producing handmade frames (each Cutler and Gross frame takes four weeks to make by Italian craftsmen), which means that production numbers remain limited. You won’t find a single injection-moulded frame here.
The style: The Cutler and Gross catalogue has over 1,000 designs that date all the way back to 1969. Its styles are timeless with several inspired by icons like ‘60s Italian film star Marcello Mastroianni (in La Dolce Vita) as well as the architects and designers who first wore the brand.
You will know it by: Its regular appearances on the runway. The brand has created runway capsule collections for several designers including Jonathan Saunders and Richard Nicoll. It also regularly collaborates with brands like Maison Martin Margiela and Alberta Ferretti to produce special collections for sale.
Price: From £295 (approximately $630) on the website
Where to try and buy in Singapore: Seen @ Dempsey, 26 Dempsey Road #01-03
The story: First established in London in the 1970s, eyewear designer Linda Farrow worked with some of the biggest fashion houses (Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Sonia Rykiel, just to name a few) to produce their eyewear collections. Farrow closed her company in the 1980s for personal reasons. In 2003, her son Simon Jablon and his wife Tracy Sedino stumbled across her archive and relaunched the brand shortly after.
The style: With a rich library of frames to draw upon (over 2000 original designs from the ‘70s and ‘80s) it’s a no brainer, Linda Farrow is vintage-inspired all the way. However, its frames are often updated with new materials and colours and plenty of imaginative designer collaborations are driving the brand firmly towards the future.
You will know it by: Its big name partnerships. Designers have flocked back to the revived label to produce eyewear collections. They include 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Kris Van Assche, Dries Van Noten and Jeremy Scott.
Price: From €186 (approx. $340) on the website
Where to try and buy in Singapore: We’re not sure, but there’s always the online store.