Shady behaviour: Where to buy stylish sunglasses in sunny Singapore
SINGAPORE - Beyond just being a fashion accessory, sunglasses should provide adequate protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Here are some options that offer the best of both worlds.
The German handbag brand’s reintroduced eyewear collection echoes the same aesthetic of its main line’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection – mixing minimalism and maximalism.
This collection of 12 styles ($199 each) in numerous colourways features sleek panto eye shapes – rounded but not circular – blending vintage charm and contemporary flair; as well as classic cat-eye silhouettes and wire styles.
With their elongated shapes, the edgy Lyra and Gaia are sure to be a hit with the stylish set. Those who want to channel their inner celebrity and rock an oversized frame can do so with the chunkier Theia and Melia.
Info: Available from late September at Braun Buffel boutiques including at Ion Orchard and braunbuffel.com/sg
In the mood to splurge? The South Korean luxury brand that is a favourite of fashionistas and celebrities is probably already top of mind.
Inspired by the stars in the galaxy, its Bold collection (from $453) is all about chunky acetate frames, goggle silhouettes, tinted lenses and a distinct Bold symbol on the temples.
The colourways range from futuristic purples to classic black. The Nine Part Piece RC5 ($538) sports a vivid red frame and a structured rectangular silhouette for an eye-catching yet wearable everyday accessory.
Info: Available at Gentle Monster stores and gentlemonster.com/sg
The India-based retail chain has partnered Singaporean fashion influencer Savina Chow for a slick eyewear capsule delivering high-fashion silhouettes at a fraction of the price.
Themed around “everyday luxury”, the collection in a palette of earthy tones includes eyeglasses ($148) and two styles of sunglasses ($98 each).
Choose the on-trend bubble shades in black and translucent pink, or the square acetate shades in black and white for a more classic look. Both styles have 100 per cent UV protection.
A familiar face in the local luxury fashion scene, Chow is also a beauty entrepreneur. For this collaboration, she drew inspiration from her clothing staples to create pieces that would suit every wardrobe, style and mood.
She says: “Everyday luxury is the concept of incorporating elements of beauty and refinement into one’s daily life. Eyewear is a confidence booster. This collection effortlessly blends fashion and function, because every day should be a luxury.”
Info: Available from Sept 1 at Lenskart stores.
Founded in 2019 by Singaporeans Zhang Hejia, 25, Lee Zhe Yi, 25, and Mervin Pang, 28, boutique brand Monocle (monocle.com.sg) aims to offer a mass-premium eyewear experience that will not break the bank.
Mr Zhang and Mr Lee started the brand with a direct-to-consumer approach, cutting out the middleman in the oligopolistic eyewear market. They were hence able to offer designer-quality eyewear “without the huge price markups of designer boutiques”, says Mr Lee.
Mr Pang joined later on and now works full time as the brand’s head optometrist.
The brand uses raw materials from Italy and manufactures in China. Optical frames start at $105 and sunglasses at $125.
Though Monocle began with glasses, its frames are now all available as sunglasses as well – with options for prescription, non-prescription, polarised and non-polarised lenses. Choose from a rainbow of sunglass lens colours including grey, brown, green, blue, yellow and purple.
Step into its boutique at 37 Keong Saik Road (its first, following pop-ups in Haji Lane and Joo Chiat) to peruse the selection – a portion of which is designed in-house.
While “popular eyewear shapes generally don’t deviate from squarish to round silhouettes”, Monocle has a range of colourways including trendy tortoiseshell blends to help customers find their perfect pair.
Customers get free drinks while they browse, and the occasional partnership vouchers with neighbouring brands in Keong Saik Road. Until the end of August, you can snag two pairs of frames for the price of one, as part of the brand’s birthday celebrations. The promotion is available only in-store.
Home-grown O+ (o.plus) has come a long way from its roots as a humble optical shop opened in 1985.
The snazzy eyewear brand designs and manufactures its own optical (from $249 to $299) and sunglass ($279 to $329) frames. Sister company to eyewear manufacturer Emsley, O+ boasts the same quality of the many international brands Emsley continues to manufacture for.
Its three chic boutiques – in OUE Downtown, Mandarin Gallery and Star Vista – are designed to reflect the brand’s look and ethos: minimalist, timeless and with attention to detail. At the newly opened Star Vista flagship, brick and red marble lend a homey touch.
Founder David Hwang, who dropped out of secondary school, opened his first store in 1985 after apprenticing at an optical shop for 10 years. It grew to a chain of four stores, and all but one were shuttered by the Asian Financial Crisis.
Picking up the pieces, the 63-year-old transitioned to a trader role. At a trade show in Milan, he realised he had a knack for understanding European tastes.
It kick-started a new career in designing ODM (original design manufacturing) eyewear to export to European and North American markets, which remains the company’s core business today.
Eldest son Silas, 35, joined the family business in 2013 and found there was no local, single-brand eyewear and optical store in Singapore. With his father, he established O+ to offer premium but affordable frames.
Amid the coinciding wave of imported discount eyewear stores, they overcame early trial-and-error in branding and found a niche in the mid-priced market. His brother Shamus, 32, came on-board and is now the brand’s head designer.
O+’s designs are mostly timeless, but with a fun twist to showcase individuality. “Eyewear is something you wear every day, so it becomes part of your personality. It plays a part in presenting yourself,” says Mr Silas Hwang.
While optical frames make up 70 per cent of O+’s business, the brand has been pushing itself to design more sunglasses of late. Its latest collection, Reverie, is a departure from its usual shades – with bolder colours, thicker, statement-making silhouettes that are a callback to 1990s shapes, and unexpected lens colours.
From avant-garde Ada to quirky Colton to more angular Edith ($279 each), the six new styles can be customised with your lens colour of choice.
Later in 2023, the brand will take customisation to a whole new level when it debuts its bespoke line at its Star Vista flagship.
Customers can tailor-make eyewear to fit their face shape perfectly – tweaking practical details such as size and temple-tip length alongside aesthetic ones including colour, material and engravings.
These are on top of existing sizing details, including an “Asian fit” and customisable nose pads to suit flatter nose bridges.
The new concept was inspired by how customers often came into the store and said they “wished this pair of frames was in another colour or size”, says Mr Hwang. As the company occupies 85 per cent of the production line of its manufacturing partners in China, it has the ability to innovate and introduce a bespoke service.
O+ was named after how his entire family (including his and Shamus’ wives) share the blood type.
Just as how O+ is “thought to be a universal blood type that is supposed to be for everybody, we also want that same concept where our glasses can fit everybody”, he adds.
This lesser-known Danish brand is a favourite among global celebrities and politicians – including Singapore’s presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was recently spotted in a pair of its spectacles, according to the brand.
Newly acquired by Kering Eyewear, the brand was founded in 1986 by architect Henrik Lindberg and his father, optometrist Poul-Jorn Lindberg.
Better known for its optical frames, Lindberg today is beloved for its minimalist and light designs (some weighing as little as 2g) constructed without any screws and rivets. Instead, it boasts a unique hinge mechanism that reduces weight while keeping the frame sleek and comfortable.
Prepare to shell out up to a four-figure sum for a pair. Each piece is made to order, with many using precious materials including gold, buffalo horn, fine wood and diamonds.
The luxury treatment extends to its sunglass collection. The Lindberg Sun Titanium range features screwless hinges, adjustable bridges, and customisable nose pads and temple lengths for maximum comfort.
Its sun lenses protect from glare and come with an anti-reflective coating for enhanced optical quality and UV protection. Prices start at $800.
Info: Available at authorised dealers including W Optics at 03-03 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road. See the full list at lindberg.com/en/find-a-store
Inverted lenses might sound like an odd innovation, but Ray-Ban has found a design that works.
Pushing the boundaries of eyewear with advanced engineering, its new Reverse collection (from $280) shifts the shape of the lens from traditional convex to concave (curving inwards to the eye). This disruptive new design is said to optimise the eyewear’s refractive, astigmatic, prismatic and resolving abilities.
The lenses have also been covered in an anti-glare treatment to reduce disruptive reflections and glare by up to 70 per cent.
Choose from four signature unisex styles now given the Reverse treatment. Designed to appeal to a more universal audience, the Ray-Ban Reverse Aviator, Wayfarer, Caravan and Boyfriend gently trace the curves of the cheekbone to compliment every face shape.
Some styles make it more obvious than others, such as the iconic thin-wired Aviator – originally designed for American pilots in 1937 – which showcases the concave lens best from the profile.
All are crafted with alternative materials including nylon lenses with a 41 per cent bio-based carbon content, acetate frames with a 67 per cent bio-based carbon content, and 100 per cent recycled packaging.
Info: Available at all Ray-Ban stores, authorised retailers and ray-ban.com
For the last six years, Singaporean company Rocket Eyewear (sg.rocketeyewear.com) had just one style of sunglasses: a slightly rounded, timeless shape designed to flatter Asian faces.
The brand was founded in 2017 by siblings Ong En Ming and Ong Ker-Shing, after their mum lost her sunglasses for the umpteenth time. “Mum kept going back to the same shape, so we started a company making it,” says Mr Ong.
The MTO P3 Classic (from $169) has since found a cult following of “travel-mad Singaporeans”. It is available in two fits (Raised “Asian” Fit and Standard “European” Fit), three sizes (original, tailored and small) and more than 40 colours.
It subsequently made its signature frames available in a variety of clear lens options, including non-prescription “blue-light-blockers” and 1.67 super high-index single-vision prescription lenses.
On Sept 23, to celebrate its sixth anniversary, Rocket will launch its second silhouette called the SPT Classic (from $169), a modern take on the iconic Wayfarer shape from the 1950s.
From its online store, Rocket ships to more than 30 countries each week. Take advantage of the free shipping and 30-day return policy, or try a pair in person at physical stockists including Tangs at Tang Plaza and multi-label retailer Design Orchard.
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