Spectacles Blog Rotating Header Image

Specialist Glazing Lab in Leicestershire… Shepshed

Finally someone to glaze my special new glasses…

Spectacles Blog in Reykjavik SpecsMeet Shepshed Optical. They are the one place that I finally found could confidently glaze my Reykjavik Specs specs. The specs themselves are so fine and sophisticated (bendy, unbreakable and hinge-less) that to put lenses in is quite a risky business. The lenses have to be strong and they have to be fitted carefully. My usual resources failed me.

Hard to break... hard to glaze...

Hard to break… hard to glaze…

That’s me by the way, on the left, in my tinted prescription pair: Not Shepshed, as the line above may imply! Awkward photographing oneself… Usually (why is that), I don’t show my face in spectacles photos.

So I traced Shepshed through Reykjavik Eyes and a very helpful man called Clifford (though I unfortunately got his name wrong at first) said yes, yes, yes to all my questions. (Except do you want me to help Shepshed with a new website). Yes they could glaze them: Yes, I could have tints on one pair: Yes, the price was right. They of course usually only work with the trade but were happy to help me in my hour (month!) of need.

Reykjavik specs - one piece. no hinge

No hinges… no screws… beautiful.

The clever thing about these glasses is their manufacture which is near to indescructible. But that does make them harder to glaze. Look at the frame on the picture, above right. What makes them so clever means that the frame is not continuous. These two pairs of glasses are the most flexible frames I have come across.

And the picture on the left, shows the tinted pair – in all their one-piece glory – with no hinges and no screws. You can bend them all you like and they ping back to shape and the lenses stay in. And dare I say so myself… they look good on me.

Guess Who’s Going To Spectacles Wearer of the Year…!

Spectacles Wearer of the Year 2013, This Week…

spectacles wearer of the year entrants

Some of the entires… now closed.

Is is Spectacles Blog’s charm, wit and style or is it personal connections… Or is the blog just so highly respected  internationally – or is that my tongue in my cheek?

Nevertheless on Tuesday I’m off with camera and notebook to Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House to see the Specsavers awards and hopefully to hob-nob with the specerati ©.

But what to wear? And importantly, what spectacles to wear? Should they be my Specsavers basic range (my everyday £25 pair which both do me very well and suit all occasions)  or my custom mades or my snazzy expensive ones…?

Melanie C (ex of the Spice Girls and now melanie Chisolm in her own right) is playing some songs (in glasses? … she is wearing specs on the invite – and if you watch the video below, I guess she would…) and the ubiquitous (at least from a specs p.o.v.) Gok is hosting.

The actual awards are for the general spectacle-wearing public – all ages and criteria. I think it’s regional, so the finalists will be representing alll areas of Britain (and Ireland?) Not sure if they have to be SS glasses though. I expect so. Entires are now closed so I can’t do anything to encourage you to enter. Maybe next year. Spectacles Weraer of the Year 2014, first mention?

Watch this space for news and views…

PS The evening and event are for a good cause – Kidscape, which is a charity countering bullying and giving support. Each entry to the competition earns the charity £1. Good stuff.

Vintage Round Glasses From I Need Spex…

  Edwardian Spectacles in Gold, Library Tips & All…

ineedspex edwardian glassesWell, I found these lovely looking specs online and I ordered some and they are quite delightful – at least to a the spectacles specerati, like me – with their elegant “library” temples and small round lenses and lovely soft gold colour finish. You can find them too here at I Need Spex

When I talk about library temples, it means that they are straight without the bent hook over the ears… Why? So that you can easily slip them on and off when studying in the library (where you’d find all diligent Edwardians of course). That makes them ideal readers – though I shall be using them for TV because I don’t need readers.  I’m afraid to say that I’d like to wear these in bed – with my dressing gown of course but I don’t need to…

The other feature of these replica vintage styled specs is the saddle bridge. They just sit on your nose – no nose pads. And because there’s hardly anything of them there’s no weight.

jfj in edwardian round spectacles b.w. sm.

For more info on general specs’ parts – see spectacles parts glossary with a picture here and for extra bridges & temples see more spectacles parts here

Given the Edwardian style, I though our pictures should be in black & white… The price is quite Edwardian too, though not in guineas, but probably not far off what a gent would have paid in 1910, at just £29 which includes prescription lenses, all in.  I’d say excellent value.  Love them, all round – pun intended.

PS 1. Although these glasses are not strictly vintage (as in old themselves), I have tagged them so as they are vintage styled… PS 2. The image is not me… it’s someone younger & better looking…

Kirsten Flipkens Prescription Sports Spectacles

Spectacles Blog Shamefully Short on Sports Spectacles & Glasses info…

Kirsten Flipkens' prescription spectacles glassesOh of course we’re all wise after the event aren’t we…?! Everybody knows Kirsten Flipkens and  everybody knows that she plays top level tennis in prescription glasses… And yes Ms Flipkens (I love the name), has just got through to the quarter finals at Wimbledon 2013 and may go further.  And I’d not seen her before…

I, of course, was keeping a close eye on her specs during her match. After, the gloriously slimmed down commentator Lindsay Davenport  was kind enough to inform us that her glasses were prescription – and not just sunglasses. And beyond that, this marvellous source of tennis trivia said that no-one had won a grand slam in spectacles in (I forget the number but let’s say) 46 years. I guess lenses are more popular.

But as far as being a sportsperson these days goes, you have to have a brand and a point of difference so why not be the beacon for sports spectacles – apart from the sponsorship opportunities.

Spectacles Sports Sponsors… Poor Show…

Kirsten Flipkens' prescription spectacles glasses.2So I dashed off to the tinterweb to find out more and to tell the truth it’s pretty poor on who-ever prescription glasses these are… and I assume that they are Oakley on the whole (see various styles in the image above where at least 3 of the 4 are). I cannot find any PR puff at all. Maybe all the emails are queueing up in by inbox… Meanwhile I stole the picture, below right, from her website which is terrific: yellow ball/yellow specs.

Checking Ms Flipkens’ official site, indeed shows Oakley as a sponsor. No big surprise there… But where’s the buzz? Even Oakley’s site doesn’t talk about her glasses.

PS And yes we too are a bit poor on the sports specs category. No excuses…

Reykjavik Eyes… Meanwhile…

While I Await My Reykjavik Eye Screwless Specs…

reykyavik eyes 3 screwless notAs regular readers may know, I am in receipt of some fantastic new frames from Reykjavik Eyes and while I’m waiting for them to be glazed (my fault, I haven’t posted them to the Leicestershire specialist yet) I thought that I’d show you these Reykjavik Eyes concept frames, which as they say are the “antithesis of screwless eyewear” !

reykyavik eyes 1 screwless notI have to be honest that I don’t know quite what they mean by “concept”! Is it something that they’re working on or is it a bit of a joke to prove how silly screws are in spectacle frames, if you now have the technology, not to have them. They say there’s something a little punk about this concept frame and I sort of agree… though I think it conjours up dental braces.

The rimless lenses are actually floating in the middle of the frames and are supported by eight tiny screws – four each lens. As a concept it actually makes a lot of sense in many ways (maybe not in all ways, but certainly many!) H&S might have something to say about the protruding screws.

Meanwhile, I really must get my (gl)ass(es) into gear and get those lovely new frames off in the post so that I can get them back and enjoy truly screwless glasses. (No screws, no hinges, no joints.)

I think that these concept specs as above really must be a joke to empahsis the no-no-no status of their real ranges. I do believe that they have a sense of humour in Iceland.



Spectacles Just Won’t Stand Still!

New List of Designer Spectacles.. or Not?!

Over four years ago I published a list of over 100 designer glasses brands which I found on one Italian retailer’s website. That list didn’t include sunglasses-only brands either, if my memory serves (which it doesn’t always). Then a year ago I was going to publish an updated one but I never got around to it… partly because I kept thinking it was out of date and then I didn’t want to count them all to make sure that I quoted an accurate number of brands on the list.

designer glasses search

Designer glasses search

Anyway, I thought it might just be pointless…

Maybe the point is that there are too many of them? There are the brands that we know as “brands”, who of course are not just glasses & spectacles makers, then there are some spectacles & glasses. Then the others… motor car manufacturers, speedway gloves makers (originally), fashion houses, perfume makers (is there any difference these days), up-market retailers own brands, spectacles retailer own brands, footballers & wags, celebrities, etc etc etc…

(Maybe it should be the other way round and the list should be… OK I’m a fashion house/designer brand. What can I peddle?)

But now there are more and more new brands and many of these are actually spectacles (and sunglasses) only brands. I guess that the set up costs are not so great with a web site and a good PR company. Marks up & profits are probably perceived as high and attractive for a start up. And then if you’re already in the game why not punt a new brand – or an old one.  It looks like some of them are going to live on-line – especially as the hardest thing is probably getting stockd in real stores.  So there are hundreds and hundreds and the increase is exponential. How many will win though?

If only more than a very few had any imagination…

Good Value Replica Prescription Glasses

Replica spectacles good value

Can I have a pair of these glasses please?

I saw these replica Edwardian glasses quite a while a go and asked the company who is selling them (I need spex.co.uk) if I could have a pair to review (quality, wearability, durability, etc.) and they never replied to my email.

I really wanted to try these and would have put them (and me) onto Spectacles Blog, but without the glasses, I can’t. I’m sure that I would have said nice things as I fancy these… Anyone out there from I need spex?

Help Me Identify My Sunglasses…

Too Late Sunglasses… Sorry Camiel

Cool Shades camielSome time ago (I’m embarrased to tell you how long – it’s all the blooming spam I get… it means I miss the real stuff), I recieved an email from the Netherlands with a picture and the following message:

“Dear Tate,  about nine months ago, I bought a pair of second-hand sunglasses which I thought looked exceptionally cool. I wore them whenever the sun gave me the slightest excuse to do so. Alas, I recently broke them. I went to the second-hand shop where I bought them, but they did not have any sunglasses that looked remotely like them anymore.  Attached is the only picture I could find of myself with these sunglasses on. Do you have any idea what this model is called, and better yet, where I could buy another pair? I know that they are supposed to be “old school” and “vintage”, but they are neither Aviators, nor Wayfarers, nor “John Lennon glasses”. Any help at all would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!  Yours sincerely,  Camiel”

Well Camiel, I have no idea as they could be anything or from anywhere. They are reasonably distinctive and distinct from the styles and brand that you list. The bridge (is it a saddle bridge?) is quite wide and the lens shape is less cut away than the classic aviator.  The frame (from what I can see) looks heavy, implying age. There is a slightly old fashioned (without being re-styled) feel about them and I expect that they are/were reasonably old, like our Dads wore 40 or so years ago? They could well be Polaroids.

Identifting Spectacles..

The best place to start identifying them, or any spectacles/sunglasses if there’s no logo or marque shown is with any writing or mark inside the temples (arms). (See our parts of spectacles guides…). There’ll either be nothing… or there’ll be some numbers or names or marks and these might help. Obviously if it’s just the size marking that may not help unless it’s unusual or different. Then if there are any marks search the internet. It’s amazing what you can find…

Finding Sunglasses…

It sound predictable but I’d search ebay. If you want old rather than retro then put “used”. Otherwise you might have to go  for vintage aviators, of one make or another… A quick look just now showed me quite a few choices and many under $20. I cannot speak about the quality of the lens mind.

Repairing Sunglasses

Lastly, why not send this old pair off to a repairer… Specrepairs.com is good. Tell them I sent you.

Jee Vice Specs Split Personality or Clever Clogs?

Lies, Damn Lies & Spectacles PR

One Face of Jee Vice Sunglasses

One Face of Jee Vice Sunglasses

As you’d expect, masquerading as the specerati as Spectacles Blog does, we get the PR puff from all the ambitious brands – of which Jee Vice is one. They sent the picture below of Britney Spears (who, to be honest I wouldn’t have recognised).

They say in their brief and annoying puff… “Reigning pop music princess Britney Spears was spotted wearing Jee Vice’s Crybaby frames earlier this week”. See image below right.  Now there’s many things to criticise… [a] is Britney “reigning”, I don’t think so – but what do I know?!, [b] they don’t look exactly like the other picture that they sent of what look like aviator sunglasses – but more cut away and smaller overall and [c] who gives a monkey’s?!

Guess what… if you want the world-news-breaking-important-details “The singer sported the sunglasses while out shopping in Canoga Park, Ca on November 9th”. Phew, thank goodness we know that… And these glasses, with a price supported by the fame attached (supposedly) is only $260. Is that good?

The other face... Britney in Sunspecs...

And the other face… Britney in Sunspecs…

I wouldn’t have bothered to show it or mention it but my interest ran a bit deeper, so I went to the Jee Vice site and lo and behold there’s a normal person wearing their wares – as you can see above left. Now I don’t want to be nasty but this girl (is she a model) is ordinary looking and not a stunner by any means. And sh’e on the home page in several poses looking like Joanna-average.

So have they got it wrong or have they got it right? Show off in the media with expensive famous  people wearing your expensive sunglasses and then show ordinary people (like us) in the same thing being… what…? Regular? Attractive? I don’t know –  I think this girl looks like she’s wearing over-priced shades which do nothing for her. Is she cool?

If she is regular and therefore she spent such a big chunk of her weekly pay-packet on these, then I might even go as far as saying that she looks foolish.

And even worse the $260 price tag for the CryBaby’s is cheap compared to other sunglasses in the range.

I feel very cynical today (but the PR’s started it).

Oldest and Only Spectacles Frame Maker in the UK…?

Spectacles Like The Used to Make Them!

Click the picture to see the spectacles story at the BBC...

Click the picture to see the spectacles story at the BBC…

The BBC just ran a report on their news magazine about a firm – Wisemans –  at the Algha Works factory in Fish Island, in east London which still uses the same machines that they imported in 1932. They claim they are the only glasses frame manufacturer in the UK but I know a few who’d want to dispute that! That’s not their only claim to fame as they made spectacles for many of our famous four eyes – Harry Potter and John Lennon to name two.

The machinery came to east London with staff too from the German makers! That must have been interesting times… All the spectacles are still made on the same machines but with new people… who have worked there for varying lengths of time from over 30 years to a year or two.

Are there more famous spectacles for the young?

Are there more famous spectacles for the young?

The speciality of the house is the traditional “round eye” which has been the same since the inception of the Algha Works. That’s the plain bare metal verion. The pictured image of the famous Harry Potter spectacles are obviously a variation on a theme. They pride themselves on being old-fashioned and you can hear the dis-tatse at the mention of mass-production and China in the MD’s voice when dioscussing spectacles making.

They try to make a frame for you –  for opticians – within a month. You can order one frame. They’re not into mass production… no surprise.