“It all started with a desire to share my own experience; that of someone producing the perfect pair of glasses for me,” explains Ashley Bézamat of the impetus to create an eyewear company with a focus on customisation. Bézamat, who was born in Paris but raised in Los Angeles, had his own glasses made by an artisan in the Veneto region of Italy seven years ago. Last year, he debuted Dom Vetro (House of Glass) after spending the years in between in Treviso, Italy, learning to make frames by hand under the watchful eyes of skilled local artisans. He’s translated this knowledge into LA’s first and only eyewear factory, where everything is made from scratch – from the frames to the UV- and scratch-resistant lenses.
Bézamat, who has an MBA from Stanford University, is studying to become an optician and is also the founder of Stroma Medical, a company developing the technology to modify eye colour (the procedure is currently in clinical trials; Bézamat is no longer with the company but he has retained his equity). He currently has two of his own designs in his personal rotation: the F36 (from $295), “a contemporary aviator with a minimal flat-bridge design, fitting like the bespoke frames of 1960s Italy”; and the lightweight, racing style F34 (from $295). Bézamat acknowledges that his sartorial tendencies are probably embedded in his DNA: “I grew up surrounded and inspired by very classy European men, who have influenced my designs.” His paternal grandfather is Roland Bézamat, an Olympic cyclist he describes as “an incredibly stylish man”, and his maternal great-grandfather was Frank Recupero, a tailor whose clients included Frank Sinatra.
Dom Vetro customisation comes in two forms. The first can be done online: six styles (from $325, including the F34 and F36, as well as the classic keyhole Lupetto) can be adapted by colour and finish, with acetate options for the front and “temples” (arms) ranging from black to tortoiseshell to a clear-ish quartz to a cool ivory white. There are three choices of lenses – both optical and sunglasses – while hardware and engraving can be either gold or silver. The glasses take about a week to make. The second option is the eyewear equivalent of a Savile Row suit: at the LA atelier, measurements are taken and preferences in terms of shape, colour and fit are discussed. Bézamat then comes up with a unique new design (from $450) and crafts each bespoke frame himself. The process takes up to three weeks from start to finish.