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Retro Glasses

An insight into Retro glasses and their present day ‘mass appeal’.

It’s clear that Retro glasses are massively popular at the moment, from the classic Wayfarer shape to vintage Round style. So I caught up with Chris Fitton from Anglo-American Optical, a company that has been designing frames in England for arguably longer than anyone else, to find out some of his opinions on the retro look.


The Wayfarer shape works for both glasses and sunglasses.

(Robert Sands): Why do you think retro frames are making such a comeback?

(Chris Fitton): As we all know fashion does tend to come round in circles, for example flares, 501s, and the Mini Cooper. This gives manufacturers the opportunity to apply new technologies and materials to old icons and to reintroduce the classics to a new generation.

For this reason Anglo-American Optical have introduced Airlite; this is a 2mm pre hardened acetate that is both light and strong with 6 models and 6 colours in each model. We have used models from the core range for this such as the 406 (Johnny Depp frame).

Example of an Airlite model.

(RS): A lot of people are nervous about changing to an acetate (plastic) frame from something perhaps more subtle. What advice would you give them?

(CF): Don’t go all out for the fashion victim look… Take into account your complexion and personality as that is most important. Black frames may well be too heavy but a tortoiseshell may suit in light or dark or think outside the box; grey or crystal are getting popular.

To this effect most of our frames are done in 6-8 colours so there is plenty of choice.

(RS): What shapes and colours are you finding the most popular recently?

(CF): Easy… Round, all day long, whether it be in metal like Ghandi or John Lennon, or acetate in the style of David Hockney or Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp wearing the model Fitz

(RS): We love the Anglo-American brand – I wear one myself! – Can you tell us a little about their authenticity as the ‘original’ retro glasses?

(CF): Anglo-American Optical has a vast history (since 1863) and therefore a large back catalogue to call on. We are used in many films and shows, and stars and celebrities love us as the product doesn’t have large names emblazoned all over it, keeping the look both traditional and clean.


Example of a vintage Anglo-American Optical frame still in production

Many thanks to Chris for taking the time to speak to me. If you have any questions for either of us, please don’t hesitate to tweet me @specfactory or call me on 01772312213.



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