Steven Alan has long been known for a curated selection of designers that seem perfectly tuned to the downtown set—from Rachel Comey to Band of Outsiders—in addition to its own eponymous line of hip button-downs, dresses, and separates. Now, the label has added an eyewear collection to its roster.
Initially debuted for spring 2013, the collection features both eyeglasses and sunglasses—with non-prescription or prescription lenses—priced from $195-$245. Alan is following in a line of fashion brands like Cynthia Rowley, who have made e-commerce a particular focus of their optical launches; Alan even has a glossy stand-alone site where you can shop all the various lenses (or order a neat Home Trial Kit that lets you try six different frames for a week ). Best of all, all the lenses are cut and placed right here in New York City—in Brooklyn, of course.
Last night, we hosted a special shopping event at Steven Alan’s Tribeca location, where we got to try on the frames for ourselves and grill the label’s in-house Optical Specialist, Chris Sands, on how Alan’s new optical collection fits into the growing landscape of designer eyewear.
“[Alan] saw the market was flooded with other e-commerce brands, so it was a good time for us to do our own,” says Sands. “There’s 20 years of experience behind the optical side. That’s why the uniqueness of our frames speak volumes — the design is a bit more edgy.”
There are eight new collections coming out in 2014, but for those looking to jump on the bandwagon right now, Sands tells us that the most popular styles are the Monroe, the Mayhew, and the Willard — though fans of the Willard may need to wait a few weeks for a replenishment.
Don’t need prescription lenses, but still kind of want glasses anyway? Turns out you’re not alone. According to Sands, Alan’s eyewear clientele includes a decent-sized group of folks who just want to wear frames to look cool.
“We call them ‘sophistication’ glasses,” says Sands. “I lived in Williamsburg for eight years, and I used to see a bunch of hipsters walking around with no lenses, because they just thought glasses were cool. We get a lot of those.”
Turns out glasses can help with your hip factor and make you look smarter! Sands was quick to point out a recent study that showed you’re more likely to get hired for a job if you wear glasses to your interview. “Every little bit helps!” laughs Sands.