HER - Retro Eyewear

By Frenzel, Anthony | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), April 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

HER - Retro Eyewear


Frenzel, Anthony, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


E

Yewear hasn't always been the domain of fashion-forward companies like Dior or Gucci.

According to Jeff Klauer - owner of Klauer Optical and Sunglass Center, 1705 Delhi St. - the heyday of optical came about when eyeglass frames went from merely functional to fully fashionable.

Cat-eye and circular frames, gold and silver nose pads and other flourishes might epitomize the idea of retro, but they're poised to make a big splash - particularly for younger customers.

Absolutely fabulous

Klauer Optical belongs to a management group of like-minded, non-competing optical stores all around the country.

As part of the network, he sees a lot of boutique or niche eyewear before it even hits the market.

"They'll bring us something and say, 'Hey, how is this going to work?'" Klauer said. "Or, 'What would you change?' Or, 'How would you do this differently?'"

One company that came to his attention through his industry contacts was Fabulous Fanny's Eyeglasses, a company that licenses its name from a famed East Village boutique shop in New York City.

"One of my friends in Palm Beach (Fla.) who's a retired sales rep and involved in this venture, he wanted us to look at frames," Klauer said. "I really liked them because I remember these. I started in this business in the late '70s, and we were still seeing some of these frames from the '50s and '60s."

That friend was Ike Bender, who works as an independent sales representative for the company and has "many years of experience" in the eyewear industry.

"The vintage eyewear, I thought it was exciting, interesting and unique," Bender said in a phone interview. "Taking frames from the '30s up through the '60s and making replicas. In the fashion world, that's what the designers do. They look at what happened in the 1800s and say, 'Let's make it a little bit more contemporary.'"

The company, which is new and growing, shipped its first batch of frames to Klauer in early January.

The reactions, Klauer said, "always garner a lot of comments."

Boutique fashion, boutique quality

Klauer said that the first thing that struck him about the glasses - other than the retro styling - was the quality of construction. …

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