The fashion-minded male consumer now has more designer eyewear options available to choose from than ever.
Legacy of Levity
Eyewear Designs, Perry Ellis, PE 359
Revolution Eyewear, Robert Graham, RG S15
ClearVision, MECS Scrambler
As the men’s market demands more styles and options, designers are seeing to it that it gets what it wants. As to what’s behind the male gender’s frenzied fashion focus of late, Freddie Leiba-Andy Warhol’s creative director who helped launch Interview magazine in 1969-has a theory. “We’re living in a period of narcissism. This is the world of selfies!” says Leiba-still a highly sought-after editorial fashion stylist for titles such as People, Essence, and Vanity Fair. “Every category of men is so fashion conscious now, and when you get fashion conscious, it’s about everything-the haircut, the beard, and the glasses.”
Leiba, whom Vogue’s Anna Wintour deemed one of the top five stylists in the country in the late ’70s before becoming creative director of Harper’s Bazaar and then contributing Fashion Director of InStyle, says designers and manufacturers are definitely rising to meet the demands of this burgeoning demographic. “There’s a lot of choices out there now. Every other person has their own collection,” he says. “It started three or four years ago, but it’s totally out of control now.”
Cator Sparks, Editor In Chief of TheManuel.com, the essential online guide for men on fashion, grooming, culture, and more, agrees. “It used to be Ray-Ban‘, Ray-Ban, Ray-Ban for about eight years,” he says of the limited choices men used to have. “But now we have a plethora of brands that are pushing each other to go big or go home.”
Sparks, who’s covered menswear and lifestyle trends for The New York Times, Details, and Vanity Fair.com, is thrilled with the spike in choices. “I get a press release nearly every week about a new brand of eyewear that’s launching or an old one that’s reinventing itself. The menswear market is now a booming business and brands are realizing men really do care about how they look.” Lines from former American Idol judge Randy Jackson (Zyloware Eyewear), Geoffrey Beene (Tura), Izod (ClearVision Optical), Haggar (i-dealoptics), Perry Ellis (Eyewear Designs), just to name a few, offer something for everyone.
The best part about that for the consumer? “There’s such a wide price range,” Sparks notes. “Because of that, men can go out and buy, buy, buy. I was always a ‘one shade’ type of guy but now I have about 10 pairs. It’s great to match them to different outfits, events, and occasions.”
Benjamin Liong Setiawan (Esquire, Details): Finlay & Co. London (finlayandco.com), Proof (619.663.4483 • iwantproof.com), Italia Independent (800-872-9583, italiaindependent.com), Schwood Eyewear (503-893-4277, shwoodshop.com/us), Salt. Optics (949-574-3800, saltoptics.com)
Dan Michel (Men’s Health): Garrett Leight California Optical (310-392-2100, garrettleight.com), Paul Smith (44-207- 836-7828, paulsmith.co.uk), Ross & Brown (rossandbrown.com), Oliver Peoples (866-865-7599, oliverpeoples.com)
Other top options: EVATIK (Westgroupe, 800-361-6220, westgroupe.com), Ã–GA (Morel, 800-526-8838, morel-france.com), Russell Simmons’ Argyleculture (The McGee Group, 800-966-2020, mcgeegroup.com), Jaguar (Eastern States Eyewear, 800-645-3710, eseyewear.com), Robert Graham (Revolution Eyewear, 800-986-0010, revolutioneyewear.com)
The affordability of the frames allows men to be more daring with their choices, too. “Guys are definitely pushing the envelope more now than ever,” notes Dan Michel, Associate Fashion and Grooming Editor at Men’s Health magazine,”and I personally think it’s better to take a risk and fail than it is to have boring eyewear.”
There are a few A-list celebrities who serve as aspirational eyewear role models, so to speak, to male consumers, which also plays a role in creating a higher demand for fashionable frames. “George Clooney is frequently seen wearing Persol (Luxottica), and he wears them well,” says Benjamin Liong Setiawan, a freelance fashion editor who’s contributed to Esquire and Details. Adds Michel, “Robert Downey Jr. has really strong frame game. He plays with colored and mirrored lenses, as well as tortoise and metal frames. The one thing that’s consistent: They’re never boring. I, like him, think your shades can be the star of your look.”
Ron Kelly is senior editor of VCPN.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
ClearVision Optical Co. 800-645-3733 • cvoptical.com
Eastern States Eyewear 800-645-3710 • eseyewear.com
Eyewear Designs 800-645-6596 • eyeweardesigns.com
i-dealoptics 800-758-6249 • i-dealoptics.com
Luxottica 800-422-2020 • luxottica.net
Tura 800-242-8872 • tura.com
Zyloware Eyewear 800-765-3700 • zyloware.com