Five great places to buy eyewear in London

From specs fit for a former prime minister to state-of-the-art Japanese frames

Thom Browne’s eyewear collection has a highly inventive edge
Thom Browne’s eyewear collection has a highly inventive edge

Uber-modern frames Menswear designer Thom Browne’s debut eyewear collection (from £440) has a highly inventive edge, showcasing standout frames with unusual meshed side-protectors, tempered by the use of confident lines. Made in the Japanese factory of über-cool design store Dita of Los Angeles, they are available in London through stylish Soho optician The Eye Company. “The awesome thing about Japanese manufacture is the materials,” says store founder Stephen Hudson. “They only use pure titanium, and acetates that have been ‘time-cured’, producing harder finishes, and then polished to achieve a deep black piano-key lustre.” TOM STUBBS Find out more about Thom Browne’s designs here.

Three frames from CW Dixey’s Chartwell Collection
Three frames from CW Dixey’s Chartwell Collection

Classically refined frames For those seeking a more distinguished and typically English look, independent eyewear company CW Dixey’s pedigree is bound to impress: patrons have included Sir Winston Churchill, as well as seven kings and queens of England. Its bestselling Chartwell collection, named after Churchill’s country home, pays homage to the former prime minister’s legendary frames, featuring circular (£316) and half-eye spectacles in a choice of black and two shades of tortoiseshell. REBECCA ROSE Click here to read more about CW Dixey.

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Bespoke frames The pinnacle of self-expression is to have glasses tailored to your face shape, skin tone, lifestyle and taste. “The essential harmonies are with eye colour, browline and hairline,” says bespoke glasses maker Tom Davies. “Once the shape is right, we can get to work on materials – often horn, which comes in many colours – and frame size.” His bespoke spectacles (from £495 for acetate, £1,200 for buffalo horn) take four to five weeks to make, and he thinks two pairs are enough for most clients. “A bolder and plainer style covers most occasions – and in top-quality materials they all have presence.” AVRIL GROOM Read more about Tom Davies here.

Tom Davies sunglasses from the Notting Hill range and glasses (middle) from the Natural Horn range
Tom Davies sunglasses from the Notting Hill range and glasses (middle) from the Natural Horn range

Vintage designer frames Optometrist Viren Jani began collecting spectacles back in the late 1960s; his first were a pair of funky, small, green cat-eye lenses from the 1950s. He now has hundreds of frames dating from the 1930s through to the 1990s – some in their original packaging – by designers such as Gucci, Missoni, Judith Leiber, Ray-Ban, Cazal and Roberto Cavalli. He keeps a small collection (from £650) in his Mayfair shop, but the majority are under lock and key at his home, only brought in for customers who are looking for something ultra-special or whom he feels will also be passionate about the craftsmanship. GINANNE BROWNELL Read more about Viren Jani and other vintage glasses stockists here.

The Moscot boutique in Soho
The Moscot boutique in Soho

Geek-chic frames Opening its first European store in Soho last year, family-run New York eyewear business Moscot is notable for its robust retro and geek-chic designs. The Beak Street boutique (complete with signature papier-mâché heads wearing glasses in the window) carries the brand’s full range, and all frames can be made with ophthalmic and sun‑protective lenses. Standout designs include the classic Zetz in ash brown (£220), the round Lemtosh (£220), the bold Zayde, best in Dark Havana tortoiseshell (£220), and the quirky semi-horn-rimmed Aidim (£235). TOM STUBBS Find out more about Moscot here.

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