Retro Glasses

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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).

Airlite-GlassesExample 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.

Fitz-GlassesJohnny 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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Living some 300 miles from The Spectacle Factory visiting was not an option for me, however, after checking all the reviews I decided not only to buy my J.F. Rey frames (seen on an online video by Robert) but also have my Zeiss smart life progressive lenses made by them. I had no worries. After taking advice from Robert the measurements required for the lenses were done locally at a nominal cost. I am now the proud owner of a pair of handmade 'wow' glasses and a very happy new customer. Use them with confidence. The customer service is truely outstanding.

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- Heath Christy


ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT I have been using the Spectacle Factory for a long time, but the latest visit was the best BY FAR..... I desperately needed an eye test, and was fitted in quickly. James, the optician, was excellent , as usual. 4 members of staff were outstanding in the service I received. Robert, Ben and Emma were absolutely perfect.....and Ruth, the manager was excellent, as she always is. The best visit by far...I cannot rate this place higher !!!

- K Rhys


Welcomed by and dealt with Robert during the whole process of choosing through to final fitting. Great service, great range of glasses, really helpful and informative. I would highly recommend

- Jenny T


After reading all the positive reviews I decided that a 40 minute drive would be worth it to try and get a new prescription and frames- I wear my glasses all day so need to get this right. I was so impressed with everyone’s desire to be helpful and make sure I was happy at every part of my visit. I wasn’t the quickest at choosing new frames but never felt rushed by Robert. He listened and gave helpful advice as we worked through choosing the frames and lenses I needed. They have a huge range of frames which meant I ended up with a pair I was really happy with. I actually chose a pair of prescription sunglasses as well, which I have been meaning to do for years. I loved the combination of cutting edge technology and personalised service. It’s so nice to see a team that places such a priority on customer satisfaction - they certainly deserve 5 stars.

- S McReynolds


Fantastic service! I attended the spectacle factory over a year ago for an eye test. They were amazing, and so patient with me! My Polaroid frame broke recently, so in desperate need called the spectacle factory to order a replacement frame. They were so efficient and helpful. Also my frames were covered under warranty and I didn’t have to pay a penny. AMAZING. Couldn’t recommend them anymore!

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Friendly service, thanks to Robert who took the time and care to ensure that I was happy with my new glasses. I would definitely recommend.

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Visited the Spectacle Factory a couple of weeks ago for the first time. James did my eye test and was very thorough and informative. Chose a pair of glasses afterwards with the help of another member of staff. Great customer service. I have always gone to high street opticians before and never sure what glasses suit me. I was allowed to take my time and offered helpful advice. Love my new glasses which I picked up with the week. I will be returning to the Spectacle factory in the future. Far superior in terms of quality and customer service compared to other opticians I have been too.

- J B


My wife and I both have great glasses (and sunglasses) from The Spectacle Factory. Right from our very first visit we have been very impressed with the highest level of care and attention to detail, both with eye tests and the choice of lenses and frames. They seem to have a flair for helping you to choose the right glasses. Once your order is ready, nothing is too much trouble to ensure that the fit and the suitability of your glasses is perfect for your needs and that you are completely happy. Their ongoing service is second to none. We can highly recommend The Spectacle Factory..

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The Spectacle Factory offer me the kind of customer service and ability to customise my choice of spectacles that just is simply not available on the High Street. From Initial contact, to delivery of the finished product, you are treated like a loyal friend. Nothing is too much trouble. Unbiased advise, on choosing the correct spectacles for your particular application. A vast range of frames from the very cheapest to the latest designer frames. I choose the Spectacle Factory, because they can provide me with, customised glasses, to align with my particular needs and requirements. Most high street opticians have a 'one size fits all' attitude. The Spectacle Factory does not subscribe to this theory and treats every client as an individual. Their eye sight is very comprehensive and is 50% longer than the industry standard. If you value your eyesight, and want the very best care, this is the place to visit.

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Rob and the team were excellent help with the professionalism and advise . I will become a faithful member of the spectacle factory!! Thanks again team

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- James


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