To score a sunglasses fitting with the exclusive Vintage Frames Company, it wouldn't hurt to be a hip-hop mogul or Russian princess. But now the largest distributor of its kind is offering hundreds of choice styles each month—from legendary labels like Alpina, Carrera and Silhouette—to the masses through its just-launched webshop. "The point [is] to offer a selection of frames to the public who have been dying to purchase them for the past years," says owner Corey Shapiro.
Based in Montreal, Shapiro and his team of fashion historians search the world for deadstock designer eyewear. His warehouse has more than 150,000 mint-condition frames, spanning the 1950s to the 1980s. "Old eyewear manufacturers took time and love to produce eyewear," explains Shapiro. "Any of the handcrafted details put into eyewear cannot be added to today's eyewear, as those factories have long been closed."
Nostalgia and manufacturing techniques aside, Vintage Frames has become a leader in shaping optical trends, as their reputation as a highly sought source of long-lost classic and original models has grown. "We also run a rather large division aiding today's new eyewear designers through a historical look of eyewear, renting them all kinds of frames as production samples," adds Shapiro.
Such tight relationships with brands makes for a pretty amazing commemorative reissue as the label celebrates its fifth anniversary this month and online grand opening with a collaboration. "We have made a very special Cazal 951, which is the first frame I ever owned in my collection," he says. "The status of a man in a certain crowd could be judged by how deep he went into accessorizing his 951. Diamonds, snakeskin, leather, gold—all that!"
Visit the Vintage Frames Company's webshop for this month's selection before it's gone.