If you’re searching for a new look, there’s one thing you should always consider; are you looking for innovative, unique style? or are you looking for a name? Because usually the two don’t go hand-in hand.

 

The Illusion of Choice

Did you know that Ray-Ban, Prada, Oakley, Bvlgari, Chanel, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Ralph Lauren, Dolce&Gabbana and many more eyewear brands are all made by the same company? If you don’t believe me, read this. In many cases they are made in the same factory. This is a multi-billion $ company which manufactures glasses for the mass-market.

If you want the best quality and styles that are made for individuals like you, you need to look for niche eyewear brands. Here are some of the best:

1)

frederic-beausoleil

 

frederick-beausoleil

Beausoleil is an icon within the eyewear world. He’s been designing frames since the 80’s, and had an interest in sculpture before turning his eye to spectacle design. His frames are usually not too crazy, but still stylish and contemporary.

beausoleil-glasses

Our most popular Beausoleil range is the wood effect collection, which is made from high-quality acetate but finished by hand to look and feel like genuine wood. They are quirky but not too outlandish.

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-Johnny Depp wearing a Beausoleil frame

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There is a lot of variety within the Beausoleil line, but each and every frame is made with expertise in France and designed by someone who is incredibly passionate about what they do.

2)

J.F.REY

 

The 2nd of the French brands on this shortlist, JF Rey (founded by Jean-Francois Rey) is the edgier, quirkier side to Beausoleil’s more classic style. You can read a great article about the founder himself here. I adore JF Rey frames… in fact I wear one myself.

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The JF Rey collection is constantly filled with colour, outlandish shapes and beautiful touches. If you want glasses or sunglasses which make a statement, you can’t beat JF Rey. In my opinion they are currently the most creative eyewear brand in the world.

Here’s some photos we took of the up-coming styles at Silmo (the Paris eyewear show):

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3)

 

modo

 

 

One of the fastest growing eyewear brands in Europe, MODO has taken off largely down to two of its collections: ‘Paper Thin Titanium’ and ‘Eco’.

modo

‘Paper-Thin Titanium’ is an extremely on-trend collection which features, bold, vibrant colours, ultra-fine design and combinations between Titanium and other materials like TR-90 (ultra-light – looks amazing in matte finish) and acetate. They just got it spot-on with this range and you should consider MODO Paper-Thin Titanium if you’re looking for cutting-edge, refined and sophisticated style.

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‘Eco’ meanwhile takes itself a bit less seriously:

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In Eco, you’ll find tonnes of colour, lovely matte finishes and wearable but cool shapes. There’s not much more to say than that except they are made from recycled materials (hence the name) and for every one you buy, MODO plant a tree!

https://www.modo.com/about/one-frame-one-tree/

4)

face-a-face

face-a-face

 

Just look at that frame. That tells you everything you need to know about our 3rd French brand on this list, Face a’ Face Paris. From the hand-made acetate-metal combination which sees gold carving its’ way through the front, to the ‘shoe’ end tips, these are just a beautiful, elegant brand that blows away the named brands you thought were cool.

 

We recently met with the founder of the company, Pascal, at Silmo (the Paris eyewear show)… check out this video:

 

 

 

Here’s some background info on Pascal taken from the Face a’ Face website:

 

In 1995 FACE A FACE is created by Pascal Jaulent and Nadine Roth as a French eyewear design company, based on modernity and creativity without compromise. FACE A FACE is fabulous and French, high end, rich in colour and expression.

The founder Pascal Jaulent has a passion for human and social issues and for ethnology and his dream was to become an urban planner. His studies at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (Paris Management School) led him to first join the financial departments of large companies (Nestlé, Dior ) before his desire to work for a smaller company was fulfilled as General Manager of Lunettes Lafont Paris.

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For men, Pascal has created a range called ‘Alium’, made with aluminium fronts. I think this range is super cool.

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5)

coco-song

 

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You could argue I’ve saved the best until last… indeed, Coco Song describes itself as ‘The Most Beautiful Frames in the World’. Which is a lot to live up to.

But, by incorporating natural materials such as flowers, feathers, wood and silk, they have come up with glasses that could be considered masterpieces of eyewear design. Here are some examples:

Each Coco Song frame is made by hand and takes months to produce. And each comes out slightly differently, due to the nature of the natural materials. If you want something a bit more extravagant from your glasses, these could be the best choice.

 

So that’s the 5 eyewear brands you should look out for in my opinion, purely from a style perspective. Soon I’ll do a blog about the brands that are at the cutting-edge from an engineering perspective; that is to say, the most comfortable and durable glasses out there. But that’s for another day.

One thing you’ll notice is that none of the brands mentioned have names emblazoned all over the arms. That’s because they don’t, and wouldn’t want to, sell anything because of the name. And ostentation isn’t cool. People choose them because they are stylish, and because they look amazing.

So next time you’re trying on glasses, think about what you’re paying for, the style or just the name.

 

For more advice on choosing the perfect glasses, check out my book. Or tweet me @specfactory