One of the fastest-growing frame trends in the optical industry today is centered around bringing back the past. It is striking to the writer and many sociologists today how on one hand the young consumers in the Gen Z category are vehemently outraged by Baby Boomers politics and conservative bent and at the same time clamoring about to reimpose the fashion trends of the Boomers era.
Bell bottom blue jeans
Black and white tennis shoes and all-white tennis shoes
Center part hairstyle cuts
Cat-eye and brow bar eyeglass frames
These are all Baby Boomers' throwbacks and the trends seem to be increasing daily, the next thing you know we'll be seeing Gen Z walking around with Clackers.
For several years (Gen Y Uniquers), kids who fell at the end of the Millenial Gen Y threshold, who were the trendsetters for the next generation, were coming into optical stores and looking for old eyeglass frames, purchasing second-hand clothing and shoes and creating a wholly unique fashion trend known as Grunge. Grunge is purported to have started in the Seatle music scene and quickly spread across the country and world and in many respects is still popular fashion in 2019. If we look at it more closely we will see that it is more a protest of fashion than anything else, another tie in to the middle era of baby boomers or what some sociologists refer to as the Woodstock generation, those children born between 1948 and 1953. It took years for the profiters to take notice, but today the fashion industry is fully on board and Gen Z is all too eager to use their purchasing power to keep the styles of the Baby Boomer Generation alive and well in the form of Retro.
Can new eye corrective prescriptions be put into Vintage frames?
Yes, it is highly advisable to use a qualified optician with experience in these older frames.
Are there any limits as to what type of lenses, lens material, or prescription limits can be put into an original Vintage frame?
Actually there are no limits. All modern lens designs and materials can be mounted to Vintage frames if the right optician is found to perform the task. Some of the materials used in manufacturing Vintage frames are absolute today and have been for a number of years and require unique experience in glazing with prescription lenses that only an older optician may have experience with care must be taken as to not overheat or under heat frames.
Who will put new prescription lenses into an original Vintage frame I have?
Many Optical stores have posted policies that relieve themselves of all responsibilities if they should break your frames you have requested a new prescription mounted to. This is primarily because their employees like quality training, skill, or experience in recognizing potential pitfalls or materials and are a potential risk in damaging or breaking an item the company can not replace. The most reasonable answer to this question is to find an optician who is actually familiar with the frames you have and has actually glazed a set of prescription lenses into one like it int the past.
Some of the most popular vintage frame manufacturers are:
- American Optical
- Bausch and Lomb
- Sharon Continental
- Style Rite
- Martin Copeland
- Oleg Cassini
- Welling International
What is Vintage Eyewear?
These are eyeglass frames either new or previously worn that are at least 20 years old.
How old does a frame have to be to be considered Vintage?
Vintage anything by definition is an item that is between 20 and 100 years of age.
Is Vintage the same as Retro?
Although often used to describe older eyeglasses, Retro actually describes a reproduction or invitation of a vintage item, 'new but made to look old'.
Is Vintage the same as Antique?
An antique item can be vintage, but a vintage item must be at least 100 years or older to be considered antique, by definition.
Are all Vintage frames original?
No, many frame manufacturers are reproducing styles of the 1930s through the 1970s because of the popularity of these designs.
When did Antique and Vintage frames become fashionable?
It appears that the real demand for these styles did not become a trend until after 2001 and major branding and manufacturing of retro vintage frames were not marketable until around 2015.
What type of styles of Vintage frames are the most popular?
The biggest trend in retro has been with plastic frames, the material itself was considered out of style for a few decades and rimless or alloy frames were the hottest sellers and then the demand for multi-colored plastic (zylonite) frames turned the industry around. The frame manufacturers began to experiment with 1950s styles in new exciting colors and the young generation responded by making eyewear a fashion accessory. The next phase was the combination frames, metal frames with a plastic top rim attached, very common in the 1950s and 1960s. These are the most popular types of Vintage and Retro frames being worn today, with the Cat Eye design making a strong gain as of this writing.
Are both metal and plastic Vintage and Retro frames popular today?
Yes, the fashion industry has incorporated bo9th materials into the social trending fabric.
Are the original Vintage frames as durable as the new Retro frames?
No, I would have to say that the new frames will be more durable because of the plastic materials used to make an eyeglass frame get fragile over time and crack and break.
Where can the Vintage frames be purchased?
These frames can be found at Swap Meats, estate sales, Flea Market, auctions and independent optical stores, particularly ones that have been in business for years.