Choosing eyeglasses that suit one’s face can be a tricky process, not to mention finding ones that fit properly too. Bespoke designs are often the only option. Such eyeglasses tend to start in the mid-to-high hundreds of pounds, but Atelier Eyewear, launched last year by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as the first UK luxury company to provide custom-fitted glasses online, offers designs for under £350.
The process begins with users uploading a picture of themselves onto the site, where they can experiment with Atelier’s various styles: 15 sunglasses and 16 opticals for men, such as Delancey (£255, second picture) and Riley (£245, third picture), and 20 sunglasses and 17 opticals for women, including Bowery (£265, fourth picture). Lenses are available in six colours, alongside a host of choices for frames – the 30-strong colour palette includes tortoiseshell, salmon, pink pearl and royal blue, while finishes range from a Mazzucchelli zyl-acetate and ion-coated titanium to surgical-grade stainless steel.
Once an optimum pair has been selected, the fitting process begins. With the user’s permission, a webcam takes a facial image and measurements are made using UltraTool, a web-based measuring system for face shape, features and contours.
The handcrafting is then done in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, in a small factory run by the descendants of one of China’s original eyewear makers, whose ambition it was to revive this art. The glasses (from £245) take around four weeks to produce, undergoing 180 manual processes before delivery. Each pair is also engraved with the user’s initials, as well as a unique customer number.
The site also carries a range of limited-edition pieces in five styles – courtesy of eyewear designer Max Giorgetti. Interesting pieces include the David Hockney-esque Cassini (£285, first picture) that look fetching in an amber acetate, and Spiga (£325, fifth picture), 1970s-style sunglasses that would not look out of place at the chicer end of Ibiza. With such stylish, custom-fitted options at this price point – plus a user’s unique measurements stored on-site for future orders – there’s no reason to stop at a single pair…