The top french Eyewear brands you should know about for 2019

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In a previous blog, ‘Glasses from around the world’, we looked at how eyewear style is very much influenced by the country of origin. We described French eyewear as ‘probably the most creative in the world’, and so we thought in this blog we’d delve a little deeper into which brands in particular best represent French eyewear design. For us, the top french brands for 2019 would have to be:

  • Lucas de Stael
  • Face a Face
  • J F Rey

Read on to find out why…

Lucas de Stael

Lucas de Stael is one french company making frames completely differently than any other manufacturer in the world. Rather than using the same conventional materials as everyone else – metal and plastic – they use natural materials, particularly leather, including iguana and stingray leather.

These materials create a completely unique and distinctive look, and also allow the frames to age gracefully, as they gain patina over time and gradually change colour according to the amount of UV exposure.

Their stone frames, known as the ‘Stratus’ series, contain natural minerals which glisten according to the lighting conditions. This beautiful effect emphasizes the natural aspect of these amazing glasses.

Lucas de Stael’s french subsidiary brand, Undostrial, is also worth consideration. Hinge-less, screw-less eyewear constructed from Swedish surgical steel and eco-gum rubber, Undostrial is the spiritual successor to the famously high-quality but now defunct French-made Tag-Heuer eyewear. Undostrial frames are wonderfully lightweight, strong, low maintenance and feature interchangeable side colours, popular both in France and around the world.

The image above, of Lucas de Stael himself modelling one of his creations, is taken from a Hugues.com article which described his work as the “purest form of eyewear”, as well as explaining how each frame takes 30 steps to manufacture – each employee can only make 3 pairs per day. Interestingly, Lucas partly learnt his trade working at the next french company on this list…

Face a Face

The most successful of all the independent French eyewear companies, Face a Face clearly are doing something right. And what they’re doing right is simple; designing some of the most stylish, yet wearable eyewear ever conceived.

The Face a Face eyewear collection features beautiful, elegant shapes, and each style tends to be available in either neutral colours or – as is their signature – bright, vivid colours which can be incredibly striking.

This french company was created by Pascal Jaulent and Nadine Roth in 1995; in their own words “based on modernity and creativity without compromise”. They depict Face a Face as “fabulous and French, high end, rich in colour and expression”, a description which is absolutely accurate.

The Alium series contains many wonderful men’s styles crafted from Aluminium – a material as impactful as it is challenging to work with. The Paris-based Face a Face design studio was able to overcome the limitations of aluminium in order to exhibit its amazing colour rendition. Aluminium naturally has a matte finish which provides a beautiful aesthetic combined with almost any colour, The Alium collection features oranges and yellows as well as navy blues and khakis, and all these colours look more effective than on a regular metal or plastic frame.

Now, Face a Face is even venturing into 3D printed eyewear with the Alium Lab series. 3D printing allows for the production of frames which are at once bold and incredibly lightweight, as well as an even more extensive use of colour. We reviewed the Alium Lab collection in this video.

J F Rey

The most experimental french brand on this list J F Rey try creative ideas that no one had dared before to even imagine. Whilst not all of their collections may be commercially successful, their ability to push the boundaries of what can be done with a pair of glasses must always be applauded.

Their carbon/wood collection, for example, represents the first time a designer had combined carbon fibre with wood – two interesting and attractive materials joined together in one frame.

Jean-Francois Rey, pictured above, began designing eyewear in the 80’s. According to Spectre magazine: “It only took Jean-François Rey about fiffteen years to add his name to the list of the world’s leading design talent. Time and again, he translates his inspiration from art, architecture and technology into trendsetting designs, each time changing the face of eyewear. Contemporary, up-market, bold, technologically sophisticated … there is no lack of adjectives to describe J.F. Rey’s collections.”

A personal favourite, their ‘Double Jeu’ series sees the fusion of two thin metal shapes to create a three-dimensional aesthetic. This is a perfect example of how J F Rey took a trend – in this case the resurgence of metal styles in eyewear – and added their unique touch to redefine it.

More To Explore

Read Our Reviews

The Spectacle Factory is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 17 review(s).

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Five stars without any hesitation. I immediately felt at ease and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The service was prompt and efficient. I felt the examination was very thorough and any questions I had were clearly answered. When it came to choosing my frames and what my prescription involved the options available to me were fully outlined. I didn’t feel under any pressure and I felt in charge of the transaction. From entering to leaving it was a lovely experience. I was a little hesitant in the current situation, but my fears were soon allayed as every precaution was taken to minimise the risks. Superior to any high street optician. Excellent all round! EH

- Elizabeth Horsfield

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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.

- Alan Astin

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Well they you pay for what you get. It’s definitely true of The Spectacle Factory. There customer service is the best I have experienced anywhere. I was not rushed with any decision and I was made to feel like I was there most important customer. What I paid was an eye watering amount but I got smartlife ziess lenses and frames that are very comfortable. I now also have very clear vision when reading. I thought it was not clear due to lighting in modern offices and homes. Wrong it was bad lenses and persecution not being quite right. Thank you for sorting it all out at the first attempt.

- Heath Christy

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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

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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

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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

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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!

- Rebecca F

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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.

- Paul Wellman

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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

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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..

- Geoff Gosling

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Came in today for help with some frames, repaired no questions asked, there and then on the spot Brilliant service

- Alex

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All the staff are so helpful and switched on to all your requirements I would recommend them all day what a good experience

- Roy gardiner

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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.

- Paul van de Rooy

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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

- Dan Amin

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👍

- James

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Excellent advice with a fantastic product range,

- Thomas Sayer

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Highly recommend The Spectacle Factory - excellent service will definitely be using again.

- Hattie

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