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When did glasses become cool

It's a Thursday evening in Topshop's Oxford Circus branch, and next to the frozen yogurt stall a harem of teenagers is trying on glasses. Lured to the racks by the promise of a weekend heatwave, the girls switch from pair to pair cat's eyes, jam jars, and computer nerd squares are all getting a look in.

At first glance, there's nothing amiss teenagers are as wedded to their sunglasses as they are to their iPhones, and ToyShades, the latest concession to take a space on Topshop's ground floor, sells glasses for a very reasonable 20 per pair. But a second look is more surprising: the lenses are clear.

"By making the price accessible, we've made clear glasses a fashion accessory," says James Minor, the 34 year old founder of ToyShades. "You wouldn't walk into an optician and think, 'Today I'm going to try a pair of clear lens glasses even though I have perfect vision.' But in Topshop it's a no brainer: you put them on, you look good, and they're 20." TheBYOP (bring your own prescription) service costs 40, and they can have frames ready in just one hour.

Minor isn't reinventing the wheel glasses are medical devices that have been in use since at least the Egyptian times. In the third centuryBC, the philosopher Seneca reportedly read books using a glass globe filled with water to magnify the letters. But spectacles today are less an indication of poor eyesight, more an accessory to personal style.

When did glasses become cool? Fashion, perhaps an unlikely supporter of the optically challenged, has helped: spectacles starred on the autumn/winter 2015 catwalks at Gucci and MaxMara, while Prada and Chanel's eyewear campaigns, starring Gemma Ward and Kristen Stewart respectively, have been well publicised.

Celebrities including Emma Watson, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Aniston are spectacles wearers; Meryl Streep, Karlie Kloss and Lupita Nyong'o have even thrown caution to the wind and frequently wear glasses to red carpet events (so popular are Nyong'o's square style that they have their own Twitter handle).

Meanwhile, Jenna Lyons, the creative director of JCrew, has become a poster girl for thick black frames from Moscot; and Bobbi Brown, whose make up mogul image is bolstered by her black Superman frames, last year expanded her empire with a collection of frames with the Italian eyewear company Safilo.

"Having worn glasses for most of my adult life Sissy Spacek round wire specs, New England preppy tortoiseshells I realised that I didn't really like most glasses. They were either too fashion y or weird for my liking," Brown told me at the UK launch at the department store Liberty last month. "I wanted to make glasses that were stylish but not too over the top."

Eyewear, incidentally, is a lucrative business. The estimated worth of the global market, which includes frames, contact lenses and sunglasses, is $90billion, projected to reach $140billion by 2020. The premium fashion segment is occupied by a handful of firms: the Italian firm Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear company, owns Ray Ban outlet store locations Ray Ban, Persol, and Oliver Peoples, as well as the licences to produce eyewear for fashion brands such as Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Armani and Prada. It also owns retailers including Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. In 2014 the company registered an 18per cent increase in profit to 643 million (465 million), generating more than 7.6billion (5.51 billion) in revenue.

"There's a sense of greed in eyewear," says Minor, "because the industry is so archaic. It's a kind of global price fixing cartel and the cost is put on to the consumer."

The good news? Prescription glasses are now cheaper and more readily available than ever before. The revolution began in 2004 with budget online optical company Glasses Direct. Now brands such as Warby Parker in the United States, and Cubitts, Bailey Nelson and ToyShades in the UK, have taken up the cut price optical mantle.

Cubitts sends you four pairs of frames in the post to try on at home for free, and if you decide to order, prescription lenses Ray Ban wayfarer 90% off will set you back 125. Bailey Nelson, an Australian brand with four stores in London, requires a completed prescription, and you can order a 98 pair of frames online or in one of its stores, with a 60 day returns policy.

Bobbi Brown's range, now available exclusively at Liberty, starts at 95. Cutler and Gross also has a wonderful selection, but prices hover around the 300 mark. One friend swears by Primark, which offers reading glasses for 2. At that price, you can afford a pair for each handbag.

Our favourite frames (clockwise from top left): 130, RayBan;125, Michael Michael Kors at David Clulow; 20, ToyShades; 98, Bailey Nelson; 125, Cubitts; 205, Net a Porter

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT cheap Ray Ban outlet SHAPE Ray Ban wayfarer 90% off FOR YOUR FACE

The top of your glasses frame should follow the line of your eyebrows. Avoid having too much eyebrow above or below the frames. (But with sunglasses, make sure they cover your eyebrows, or you risk looking cartoonish.)

Eyes should sit at Ray Ban outlet store online the centre of each frame.

Don't follow guidelines solely based on the shape of your face. You may have an oblong visage, but if you have a big nose, for instance, then that will be the feature you need to focus on.

Choose a hue that is complementary to your eye colour to emphasise them.


Avoid round frames angular shapes are better to lend your face definition. Cat's eyes can look great.
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Публичная телебеседа Квасовой и Панкратова

Публичная телебеседа генерального директора НП "Антиконтрафакт" С.В. Квасовой и исполнительного директора НО "НАСИ" А.В. Панкратова, Москва, 2015 г.
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