Our travels sometimes take us further afield when seeking optical gold and nestled away in Mexico, Missouri we recently discovered Eye To Eye, an independent optical bristling with personality. Eclectic decor, eclectic frame collections and a good line in cheese scones make this store well worth a visit.
Another great store can be found in Regina, Canada. Spex By Ryan seeks out the best collections from around the world. Not only is the eyewear superb but Ryan also creates some of the best photo shoots and videos. One more favourite……..Buch Optikk in Stavanger, Norway, where Hans Christian Buch steadfastly sticks to collections about which he can be passionate, presented in a beautiful, artistic environment. There are hidden optical gems around the world. Increasingly, independent opticians are focusing on fewer brands, taking a more selective approach but offering a broader range of each collection. As a consumer, this allows you a much greater appreciation of the frames and the story behind them. Over the summer, we will feature some more of our favourite stores so please keep an eye on the Kirk & Kirk blog.
Sunglass competition winner announced
Congratulations Liz S, you have won a pair of Kirk & Kirk sunglasses and you should have received an email from us confirming your prize. Our colourful sunglasses are hand-made in France using our own grade of Italian acrylic, so we can achieve a range of unique colours that you will not find in any other collections. If you did not win this time around, we are sorry but we do have regular opportunities to enter our competitions and enjoy special promotions when you are on our mailing list. Thanks to everybody who entered and please check out the new shapes and colours that are hitting the shops as we speak.
Kirk & Kirk eyewear at Specta in India
As the appetite for independent eyewear brands grows across the spectacle-wearing world, we are excited to see Kirk & Kirk glasses on sale in India for the first time. Specta Designer Eyewear Boutique is not just any optician. With two beautiful stores in Hyderabad and Mumbai, and more in the pipeline, the team at Specta are shaking up the market. For so long, the Indian market has been dominated by designer names but big changes are afoot and these beautiful stores embody true luxury and style.
Owned by three people that share a passion for fashion and optics, Specta’s star is rising fast. Suniel Shetty, one of India’s most respected actors, and a producer, with 25 years in the film industry, is extremely influential in the fashion world. Alongside him, advertising guru Ram Gadela and entrepreneur and ophthalmologist, Dr Asad Saberi, bring their huge experience to complete a formidable team. You can find Kirk & Kirk Centena, Kaleidoscope and Spectrum collections in the Hyderabad and Mumbai stores. We’ll see you there.
Hugh Clark joins Kirk & Kirk
The strengthening of the Kirk & Kirk senior management team continues with the appointment of Hugh Clark as Chairman. n
Hugh joins as part of the investment programme, facilitated by Growth Deck and comes with a wealth of experience as a board member of Clarks Shoes and CEO of Rohan, the outdoor clothing company.
Win a pair of Kirk & Kirk sunglasses
Fancy winning a pair of Kirk & Kirk sunglasses? Thought so. Our sunglasses are handmade in France from our own unique grade of Italian acrylic. We use Zeiss anti-reflection lenses so that you get maximum protection for your eyes and they are presented in a beautiful case with a Kirk & Kirk lens cloth. So how do you win? Simply join our mailing list and you are in the draw…….easy. If you are already on our mailing list then post a pic on Instagram with #kirkandkirk and you will be in with a shout. The winner will be able to choose any available sunglass from the Kirk & kirk website. Good luck. Entries close midnight UK time on Sunday 5th May.
Kirk & Kirk podcast on Optical Business News
Daniel Feldman is one of those people who make things happen so we were really chuffed when he invited Jason Kirk to be on his podcast for Optical Business News. Follow this link to hear the podcast
Sunglasses – the good, the bad and the ugly
As we approach Easter weekend and prepare to welcome the sun back into our lives, now is a good time to look at a few key features of sunglasses that you should consider when investing in summer eyewear. As well as looking good, sunglasses should protect your eyes against UV rays.The tint of the lens is not the most important factor but the UV protection is and, while every lens will proudly boast that it offers maximum UV protection, you get what you pay for…..most of the time. If you want to be certain of what you are buying, enlist the help of an optician. Most independent opticians carry a wide selection of sunglasses, from the household brands that you recognise, to smaller specialist producers whose name might not be so familiar. Choosing a frame that looks good on you is the easy bit. Getting the right lenses takes an expert.
First rule is that any well made frame, optical or sunglass, can carry your prescription so think about getting prescription sunglasses that you can wear outside through the Spring/Summer season. If you can avoid contact lenses on the beach and the pain of sand getting kicked in your eye by some screaming five year old, prescription sunglasses suddenly seem like a bargain. They can be an expensive investment but anybody who has worn good quality, prescription sunglasses, knows how great they are. The type of lens and, to an extent, the frame that you need, depends on when you are going to wear them. If you need sunnies for sport, there are plenty of specialistframes to choose from like these Oakley sunnies.
Don’t skimp on lenses – if you are a cyclist for example, cutting out the glare and optimising your peripheral vision is of paramount importance. Polarised lenses will sharpen your vision and reduce glare so are great for usage on the water, snow sports or simply just for clarity when driving. For most of us, we just want to look good and protect our eyes while we are at it. If your budget won’t stretch to prescription sun lenses then make sure that you read up on the quality of lens before you buy. Many of the smaller frame-designers will use a high quality lens such as Zeiss. All Kirk & Kirk sunglasses use Zeiss anti-reflection sunglasses as standard because they offer superb clarity as well as protection. The lens world is full of unfamiliar brands and so many sun lenses are unbranded that, as a consumer, you have little choice but to simply pick them up and try them on. Nevertheless, our old friend Google should be able to tell you how to rate the shades that you are checking out, so read up before you shell out. Sadly, many of the fashion name brands are simply licensed products so no guarantee of quality……usually quite the opposite.The phrase ‘Designer sunglasses’ is one of those empty soundbites and just tells you that you are paying for the name, rather than the product. Another great option is to wear Transition lenses, prescription glasses that go darker or lighter according to the conditions. They allow you to slip from the sand to the shops, from the living room to behind the wheel without needing to change your frames. Modern technology offers a range of colours and lens treatments, as well as high speed tint changes according to light conditions. Do we have any tips for you? Of course we do………don’t get trapped into buying label sunglasses. We would always recommend checking out a cool, finger on the pulse, optical boutique where you can get proper advice on the lens that would suit you, as well as the frame. There is a good list of international stores on our stockist page. If you cannot get to a decent eyewear specialist, check out a good department store with a range of sunglass options. Test the lenses out by simply putting them on (yep!) and you will soon see the difference in clarity between the various pairs. When you think you have found something that you like, read the reviews online. There is tons of info available. Finding a shape that suits you should be the easy bit. Finding a lens that protects you is harder but should be your priority.
New York, London, Paris, Munich
Well, not quite……. but New York and Milan have just hosted two of the most important exhibitions, Vision Expo East and Mido, in the eyewear calendar and the Kirk & Kirk team were there to launch our new styles, set to hit the shops for this Spring/Summer season. The undisputed star of the show was our new cats eye, Jasmine, which comes in a rainbow of colours including Fuchsia and, hot off the press, Juniper. Thank you to @Goddessofoptix for wearing this so beautifully. n
nThis elegant, feminine style is not for the faint-hearted but despite the bold, over-sized silhouette, this colourful frame is beautifully balanced and oozes personality from every pore. In the Kaleidoscope Collection, pink dominated proceedings again, this time a slightly darker shade of Cerise. Thank you to Sophie Taylor-West of Taylor, West & Co in Hove for this great shot modelling Victor in Cerise. n
nIf your independent optician has got their finger on the pulse, you should be seeing these colourful frames in store over the coming weeks. Click here to find your nearest stockist. For more information please contact [email protected]
Optical Goddess, Autianna Wilson, hits a purple patch
Some images become iconic over-night and Autianna Wilson, AKA Optical Goddess, seems to have captured the mood with this astounding shot.n
Wearing the newly launched Jasmine in Fuchsia from the Spectrum collection, this shot has smashed all records. Based in San Francisco, Auti’s blog, opticalgoddesslife, is causing quite a stir in the eyewear world and her Instagram feed, @goddessofoptix, is captivating the world of be-spectacled beauty. This is not the first pic that Autianna has created in Kirk & Kirk. Last month she posted a series of gorgeous photos wearing Cecil in Tiger from the Centena collection and looked stunning wearing the frame at the MIdo optical show in MIlan.
n Big THANK YOU to Auti, not only for wearing Kirk & Kirk so well but for explaining our concept so well on her blog…..give it a read!
Guest blogger, David Le Breton from Jersey, reviews Sidney in Corn from the Centena Collection
Thanks to the creativity of the designers and the savoir faire of the artisan spectacle frame makers I’m often seeing gaps in my wardrobe of spectacles. n
Recently, noticing a lack of a bold and colourful frame, I set my heart on getting a model called Sidney from Kirk&Kirk. The company’s latest range Centena, launched to celebrate 100 years of the Kirk family in optics, consists of 10mm thick, beautifully transparent and vibrantly coloured acrylic which is very comfortable to wear. What I like about transparent colours is how varied it can appear depending on how much light comes through the material, it also looks different on every wearer according to one’s skin tone.
I’ve been ‘playing’ with spectacle frames for more than forty years, glazing, repairing, adjusting, manipulating and adapting them. Putting frames on people, offering opinions and making suggestions has taught me a great deal about the value of well designed and well made spectacles. The impact that a great design and a good fitting spectacle has on revealing someone’s personality, on their style, on their image, or the image they wish to project, is priceless. It gives each person the opportunity to express themselves in what I think is an undervalued endeavour, the artistic expression of presentation, to be well dressed and groomed. It feels good to wear great eyewear like it feels good to wear great clothes.
n If anyone were to agree with these sentiments and maybe even act on them, I hope that they would experience the same joy and satisfaction that I get each time that I wear this Kirk&Kirk Sidney in colour Corn, a striking yellow. I put a grey photochromic lens in this frame so that I might be able to wear it as frequently as possible, in line with other wardrobe choices. Being blessed with colour vision it would be neglectful not to play with it.